Hello! Sorry I am a day late posting this blog! For the first time in a long time, we were too busy and completely lost track of the week! Which was a nice situation to be in!
This week I wanted to talk about reading, not the place just outside of London! I have started a new eight-week activity rotation at Headway, where I am now part of a book club. The leader of the group reads us a passage of the book every week, his voice, I have to say, is absolutely amazing! I could sit there for hours, listening to him speak, without trying to sound like I am part of some teenage fan club, like One Direction! I obviously love words, they are part of my job, they are a part of who I am.
Amy always talks about me and my friend Nick, who is also a journalist, winding her up with pun after pun after pun! As journalists, we can't help it! And think we're really clever! Which does not always go down so well with my better half!
The last time I was on the book group rotation, I joined it quite late, so I only got to enjoy the last couple of weeks of it, which was a story called Flatout, by a guy called Danny Furlong, who is an ex-commando and skydiver, who had a stroke for no known reason.
I must confess, since my bleed, I have become a bit of a fan of what I would call: "brain injury fiction." Like with many aspects of my brain injury, I am constantly researching or "Googling" things; eager to learn more about something, or try and understand it. I guess it is the quizzical journalist in me; always trying to get to the bottom of something, and investigate. I was never that much of a big reader, despite the choice of my profession, plus I have never really had this much time to properly delve into books, despite my A-Level in English Literature!
I currently have two books "on the go" at the moment, both are "brain injury fiction." The first one is the book we read in the book group, which I mentioned above, and the second is a book called: "Return Ticket Please" which is another story about a guy who had a stroke.
In the book group, the same chap is nominated to read the passages each week, because he has the most wonderful reading voice, like an old school thespian, very much in the Richard Attenborough mould. Each book group session always ends up turning into some form of therapy, or support, group, because when we have read a passage, we tend to sit around for a bit of time and discuss it, relating it to our own experiences of a brain injury. It often reminds me of a GCSE English lesson; discussing connotations, interpretations and metaphors.
Like all of the activities at Headway, I am convinced they are designed to help our recoveries and rehabilitations in one way or another. I have used the example before of how washing up was like The Karate Kid; washing on and washing off to strengthen a weaker limb, for example. As the phrase goes; sharing is caring, and in the book group, it is fantastic to witness, or be a part of, being able to support another person through their brain injury journey, because it is often a life-changing situation, and therefore, requires as much support as possible, to get through it. There are a wide spectrum of injuries, and their consequences, on show in the book group. They range from the likes of me, who, on the surface may not look like I have too much wrong wIth me, to a fella in a wheelchair.
There was a time when my medication meant I had to take naps every day because of using my brain at all, thankfully those days appear to be long behind me! But whenever I had trouble sleeping, I would always read something to tire me out, so it feels fantastic to be able to follow a book, and not nod off! Like with many aspects of my brain injury, I have no idea if this impact will ever reduce, but I am constantly reminded that I have been incredibly lucky with my brain injury, something I try and now appreciate every day.