Another area of my brain affected by my bleed are planning functions; the ability to look and plan ahead. Now, I am not talking about being able to predict the future, as nice as that would be, but simple tasks such as planning a journey, suddenly seem difficult.
For example, when I have been into work on Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday, as part of my graded return, Amy and I try to test these functions by letting me find my own way home, or to different destinations. She gives me a different point to get to like a coffee shop or Boots, I think it's just an excuse for her to go shopping. Now, this may not sound like the hardest task in the world, but the best way I can describe what happens is, it's as though there is a blockage in my brain, and the information just will not get through, like a congested tunnel, or traffic jam. I have walked these steps a hundred times, so I know it like the back of my hand, but when I try and visualise it in my head, there is no other word for it, other than; there is just a 'blockage'. I am sure this will get better in time, but for now, Amy and I are trying everything we can to reconnect the 'memory pathways' as much as possible.
The good news is, I did it! Amy gave me somewhere to meet her, and I found her! I wasn't picked up by the police wandering the streets! As well as healing the damage caused to my brain, it has also given me a chance to get familiar with Cheltenham's streets again, also, as Amy and I have moved in together, I have had to get used to new journeys and directions, seeing as we moved in somewhere different to where I lived before, which has made things complicated. I have had to get used to new routes anyway, but it is made twice as hard with my directional difficulties.
Another way we put it to the test was last weekend, we went to watch Amy's friend Siobhan complete the Hackney half marathon, as she was raising money for Headway in Gloucestershire, the national brain injury charity, who have helped Amy and I so much, unfortunately with parking, and making our way to the finish line, we missed Siobhan complete this amazing gesture, but we were there in spirit.
We cannot thank her enough for the incredible efforts she has made. Like many of you, I'm sure, I had never heard of Headway, and the incredible work they do. They have, quite literally, been a godsend. One of the feelings I have felt since my brain injury, is one of like being broken down into many pieces, well along with the incredible support we have received from family, friends and loved ones, everyone has helped put me back together again, brick by brick. As Amy said in her blog previously, Headway have helped with the pitfalls and problems we have experienced from an administrative side, and have always been a helpful and comforting shoulder to lean on.
Throughout this experience, Amy and I have felt incredibly supported, loved and appreciated by family, friends and work colleagues. Headway are high up that list. So it was amazing someone so close to us, like Siobhan, did this incredible gesture. It sums her up. She has been an amazing support to Amy. I must also mention her boyfriend Stu, who completed the race alongside her, following months of painstaking training. How many of us can say we have completed a half marathon? Or raised money for an incredible organisation such as Headway? Who have helped the pair of us piece our lives back together.
So last Sunday, we set off for London, with little old me in charge of directions, don't worry, I wasn't driving! Think of it like this, Amy was the pilot of our vessel, like Han Solo in Star Wars, and I was the eight-foot tall Wookie, Chewbacca, blurting out instructions, or guidance, alongside her.
When the two of us first got together, over two years ago, we spent the majority of our relationship driving between Cheltenham, and Amy's university home in Twickenham, so we were used to being on the road, just not at the same time, so it made a nice change.
As I have mentioned before, I have felt incredibly guilty unleashing this burden on Amy, or leaving her on her own during it, so even though it was only pointing at street signs from the passenger seat of her little Micra. It felt amazing to be useful, for once, and do something actually helpful. It also meant our phones were free to play music instead of using Google maps. Our album of choice... Frozen!
Thanks for reading
Also you can still sponsor Siobhan here.