Positive and Contented

Diary Transcripts - September 2017

The transcripts you can read below are taken from a rambling set of diary entries I made after returning to professional work after a two-year break following my RTC.  There was no structure to the transcripts and I've decided not to attempt to explain some of the seemingly random words that I put down on paper as I want it to remain a true reflection of my thought processing at that time.

I feel like I'm in a different universe to anybody else, one where I feel like I can simply enjoy the luxury of being alive - it makes all other life challenges seem crudely simplistic.  I feel zen-lite, though I wonder if I'd have such a positive life outlook if I wasn't such a skilled person with a very strong working future ahead.  I do know my bright employment prospects aren't by chance, they're because I'm a very (luckily) gifted person.  After just a couple of months back at work I recognise how extremely good I was / am with my particular skill set.  I was used to being told I was an 'expert', which I had felt was flattery and unjustified.  However, having pieced through some of the IT security work I did for various engagements, I think they were probably right!

I have a strong work ethic as I've always felt that without money all of the normal things I want to experience are so much more challenging.  I know the importance I place upon work is unbalanced, and I have discussed this with my life partner, Ruth.  I believe my work ethic is a value I derived from observing my mother and father and I'm not sure I should try to change it.  

I don't suffer fools as gladly as I could before, I know this is likely to cause me problems in the short term on my current engagement, there are plenty of fools around.  In this context I consider fools to be those who are ignorant or overly protective of their position resulting in them not sharing information as I expect them to, or simply liars.  I certainly don't consider mistake making or some general deficiency (technical or otherwise) to make them fools, I feel it's more to do with their personality and unprofessional attitude than any straightforward inadequacies.  I have thought about how to deal with 'fools' tactically, but have decided to simply be direct, with measured professional conduct, and live with the consequences.  I don't feel I've the mental strength / capacity to dilly dally.  I get inevitable doubts about my being able to pick skills up again at work, as I realise some technical matters I dealt with were very challenging.  I comfort myself with the knowledge that in my discipline, a 50% strength myself is of more value to a customer than 100% of almost anyone else.

Several years earlier whenever I used to visit my mum after a London working week I'd tell her what a fantastic life I led - a wonderful life partner, a happy and healthy daughter, a fabulous job and no financial concerns whatsoever.  I knew, maybe one year after my discharge, I would simply be content because I had Ruth and Olivia, though I'd also have to be working, even if it was McDonalds.  I felt Subway was certainly out of reach because I'd never be able to rely on my memory for what the different subs were and I wouldn't have been able to utilise my (phone / tablet note taking) coping strategy.  I imagined that at McDs it's mainly about following guidance on screens, which I was comfortable I could do.

I was absolutely determined for everyone else's (Ruth, Olivia, mum) sake rather than my own, to never allow myself to get miserable, never mind depressed.  I'm proud of myself - I've achieved my goal.

I bumped into Keith Williams (someone I didn't rate professionally in the past) in the office, the first thing he asked me was not "How are you?", but "What are you working on?"  I simply gave a polite response along the lines of "Oh, I’m busy, you know" which he took a little offense to.  I thought of how nearly everyone I’ve dealt with who knew me (and those who didn’t, but knew of my circumstances) have been nothing short of extremely helpful to me and explained matters very carefully and extensively.  Keith could have told me about some of the new work he’d been doing in the two years of my absence which would have been very useful to me, but he was more interested in what I was doing myself and learning how it might impact him.

I think of how grateful I am to be massively recovered, not simply surviving, I imagine this is a contrast to those people closest to me.  For them, I imagine the biggest anguish was for me to be awake again, I never had any of that anguish.  I initially thought the biggest deal for me would be the discharge point from the hospital recovery unit on 4th November 2015.  Ruth drove us home and I looked at Haywood hospital thinking “phew, that’s all behind me now", little did I know it really was just the start.  Many Haywood staff informed me that discharge would just be the beginning, but it never really sunk in, I don't know how it ever could, and I honestly don't know how it would be possible to explain this to a patient.  I wish there was some insight, given I have been through it, that I could give, but I don't think I can.  Recovery success for me was not about changing how I think, it's been about how I deal with the FEELINGS (not symptoms), this is what is so irrational and I think hard to 'methodologize', that's not to say we shouldn't try.  I want to shout it a hundred times, it's not about the immediate medical challenges, it's all about the recovery!  I contemplate how during WWI a soldier with a severe head injury (maybe with unknown brain trauma) might get fixed up by a doctor and when tested they could count backwards from twenty to ten, or some other seemingly indicative test, were passed and sent out of the door to get on with life.  I feel most of the tests I've been through are along similar lines and am sometimes frustrated when I am unable to leverage my coping strategies, perhaps that's the point, but it doesn't reflect real life where I can use coping strategies.  If I'd been around and had my RTC in the period before trauma was recognised in its own right, I know I would never have had the chance to make the recovery I have.  I spend a lot more time thinking, it gives me a lot of pleasure.  I can be walking for fifteen minutes from A to B in London and then I find I have arrived, the walk had just disappeared.  I'm still concentrating at some level, otherwise I'd be under a bus!

I went on holiday to Ibiza with my twelve year old daughter Olivia in July 2017 (see this
link), this could have been a potential banana skin.  Olivia was going through a period when she was often difficult, furthermore I was concerned I wouldn't be able to do enough activities with her to keep her occupied.  In our previous holidays a big theme had being doing activities like rock jumping into the sea.  It turned out completely the opposite, she was fantastic company and really very interesting.  It was fascinating to get her insight and thoughts - even the opinions or ideals which I fundamentally disagreed with.  I'd imagined she'd get most value out of being on holiday by doing exciting new 'things', I'd totally misunderstood how she really wanted someone with which she could mentally challenge herself through conversation.  Olivia had reached the stage in her life (twelve) where she needed to explore her mind to get stimulation, it was fabulous to witness.  I'm sure that when Olivia looks back on this holiday it won't be the nice beaches or great weather she'll recall, it'll be bits of conversations she had with her dad.  I take the view it is not my purpose as her father to attempt to force a change to her values.  I listen to her and explain my viewpoints and hopefully she'll change some of her values herself, but I don't think it will happen by dictating to her.  I also took immense pleasure from Olivia just swimming out a little and spending twenty minutes doing front rolls in the sea, the activities I thought children should do, but in the social media influenced world she could never do, or admit to doing.  On holiday I made many offers to buy Olivia clothes or gifts, and each time she politely declined.  A similar thing happened when Olivia and I went to Hanley nominally for her to buy me some fashion clobber; time and again I'd say to her "treat yourself to a new top", but she would simply say she had everything she wanted.  I view this as her values being in the right place, and the fact she watches vulgar TV and swears a lot when chatting to her mates I see as teething pains she'll grow out of.  Despite all the outward cool girl bravado, I'm convinced there's a heart of gold in that girl.  Olivia spends a lot of time on her iPad and I'd initially thought a lot of it was YouTube and social media frivolity.  One afternoon at home she was excited to tell me about some "believe it or not" material she'd watched.  She began every sentence with a deferential "you won't believe this but..." I enjoyed it so much I couldn't begin to articulate it, it's far more important to me that Olivia grows up with fascination and curiosity than being perfectly socially behaved right now.  I believe social behaviour can be gained by observing the behaviour of loved ones, but I believe curiosity will lead her down a fulfilling life path... like the one her cousins Laura, Emma and Amy have taken.  I feel like I've gone through a barrier of perhaps fearing the teen years and now really look forward to seeing changes in my daughter, some will be vile and I'll hate them, but I want to be on that ride.  I believe Olivia would have missed out immensely on being with me, and my hopefully useful parental influence, if I hadn't made this level of recovery.

When I was fifteen or so I stole from my mum's purse, I did vandalism and I did shoplifting.  I did all this with no evil intent and self-justified my actions along the lines that I may have been naughty, but I never personally hurt anyone.  I think my mum and dad dealt with these events in an outrageously brilliant way, which helped to shape me, I'm determined to give Olivia guidance in a similar way.  When my dad was informed by police of my shoplifting he came to collect me from Hanley police station where I was being cautioned.  He didn't shout at me, he merely conveyed he'd left a crying, heartbroken mother behind to come to fetch me.  Job done!

Ronnie (our new Labrador dog) was a big change in my life, I now had a reason to get up in the morning as I'd started to resent myself for being in bed while Ruth prepared to go to work. Having Ronnie gave me a real purpose to get up and out while Ruth was getting ready, this certainly helped me.

Ruth's son Charlie (15 at the time of the RTC) has become an adult in front of my very eyes.  He was fantastic with me during my recovery, and I took immense pleasure in seeing his relationship with his mother blossom.  I know my own father was jealous of the relationship which my mum and I had, I can only say the opposite, I am proud and ecstatic they have the fabulous relationship they do have.  I'm sure it's not by chance, or neither solely being down to Ruth being a great mum - it takes two to tango, credit must also go to Charlie for being a very special young man.

Sue has enormous drive, she left a comfortable job at the Inland Revenue Division in Stoke-on-Trent to go to the other side of the world, err Redhill.  I knew this was related somehow to the deteriorating relationship Sue had with our dad.  The bottom line though is that Sue took charge of matters and fixed it, and what a wonderful life it led to.  Sue initially continued in the good Inland Revenue job in Redhill, but left, if I recall rightly (chronology is certainly waning), when she had Laura.  Sue never went back to the Inland Revenue, she went through a string of jobs doing work at a hotel / restaurant, working lates in a hospital ward, and even selling books on doorsteps.  Sue found her way into teaching via an OU path, certainly not an easy option either academically or considering the incredible work / life balance Sue had to juggle.  Sue has had enough of school teaching and has skilled herself up in TOEFL, she simply cannot rest on her laurels and it's not in her make-up.  I'm sure many of Sue's values and her determination has worn off on all three of her daughters, none of them are work-shy, and they all keep tweaking their lives for betterment.  It seems a shame to leave the 'Mackem bloke' out of this story, what was Sue thinking of by settling for a North East bloke?  What a truly wonderful man he is, a great husband and a fantastic father.  I view the Stevos as a phenomenally tight-knit family unit, awesome, I love them all dearly and am so proud of them.

When I came around in my hospital bed in Haywood, Ruth had left a simple message on my whiteboard informing me I'd had a bicycle RTC and what year it was.  I probably read the note twenty times or more every day, I found immense comfort that there was someone looking out for me.  I wish I didn't have the RTC, but I'm convinced it's made me a nicer, indeed better, person.  If my ongoing recovery (I know I’ll be recovering for the rest of my life) doesn't go wrong, I could possibly feel the RTC was a good thing.  However, I will not ignore the fact my loved ones went through hell (which I never did) and it is for that reason alone I truly wish it never happened.  I thought a lot of "what had Ruth done to deserve this?", she's such a perfect person in every way, and now she was 'lumbered' by me.  I used to recognise we were a fantastic couple who complemented each other in so many ways, I felt I could no longer keep my side of the deal.  I knew if the roles were reversed I'd do the same for her, nevertheless, that didn't make it any less difficult to deal with.  I'd like to think I could be of some use as a 'case study', but feel recovery is such a personal / individual experience that any insight I bring is not universally applicable.  But, if it was thought I'd be of any use, I'd be massively up for it.  I think my loved ones would love to put this all behind us, but I feel like I must have so much to offer, and WANT to do something.

Frasier Crane (my psych consultant) made a big impact on me when I first saw him.  He was clearly very knowledgeable, but also very direct in a no-nonsense but still respectful way.  He cottoned on to my self-testing myself on short-term memory matters and told me I must stop it.  I immediately did this and it helped enormously, I still don't do it and I never will as it is counterproductive.  I don't apologise to Ruth anymore for forgetting simple things, it's such a relief.  I've had to learn to defer these feelings, my mum's dementia symptoms have helped me understand the psychology, she was always apologising to me for her forgetfulness and I saw how frustrating it was for me as the recipient of needless apologies.  I still enjoy long-term memory testing and do it a lot, I find this very satisfying.  I did a lot of jigsaws during recovery, I started at 250 pieces then quickly went to 1000 pieces.  To give me confidence I was making progress on a particular jigsaw, I kept a record of how many pieces I'd put in as I used to think I've only done 'two pieces in the last ten minutes', when the truth was I'd actually done fifteen or so.  I then developed this into having a 'stop time' after I'd done fifty (say) pieces, rather than just some arbitrary time, or when dinner was ready!

I've thought about how I seemed to take risks with leaving jobs in the past.  I left a very good apprenticeship at age nineteen to go to university and my father was, despite all his protestations otherwise, clearly anxious I could be jeopardising a healthy income with no guarantees of betterment.  I'm sure my dad was influenced by the unimaginable hardships of his upbringing after Russia invaded Poland in 1939 - see this
link.  Nevertheless I did it, I didn't ignore him, I just knew I had to do it.  Many people thought I was a little headstrong, including me, I knew it might not work out, but I had to do it, in many ways there was no decision to be made, it just had to be.  With hindsight, I think it was the assurance that if all went wrong I still had mum and dad to fall back upon.  This was entirely subconscious, as I in no way thought about the possibility of mum and dad helping me out.  I then had this same confidence throughout my career when I was reasonably well established, but without mum and dad to necessarily support me.  I still took numerous career risks with hardly a look over my shoulder.  I am convinced this unjustified confidence is something which is baked into me and helped me throughout my life.  The risk conundrum came about again during my new life (post RTC), when I had the opportunity to go back to work at Met Police.  Ruth had seen how I had made many false starts during my recovery and very rightly urged enormous caution before I committed to getting back into professional work again.  I understood and appreciated her caution, it would be Ruth having to pick up the pieces again if it all went wrong, but I still went ahead.  I think I was utterly resolute because she gave me the confidence I had a strong base underneath me.  I certainly didn't consciously think "if it all goes wrong, I'm alright because I have Ruth behind me", far from it.  I'd also received a lot of informed opinion from support people, especially Gill, who was nominally a physio, but I had fantastic faith and respect for from a psych perspective.  I still went ahead and ignored their judgement.  I'd reached the stage where I struggled to deal with the enormous pressure I put Ruth through since the RTC, nevertheless I still went ahead.  I'm convinced it was the subconscious confidence impaired to me from knowing  Ruth was there for me which enabled me to take what I considered to be a justified risk, but others didn't.  My decision was made with conviction for the future of Ruth, Olivia, Charlie and myself (absolutely finally, certainly not foremost).  I see how overtly headstrong Laura appears to be, i.e. doing things seemingly without a care in the world.  She does care, she just has it baked into her mind-set she will succeed - not through arrogance, she just knows.  I am determined Ruth and I give Charlie and Olivia this type of platform to build their futures.  I am convinced Ruth and I would be neglecting our parental obligations if we didn't take advantage of this great opportunity we have to nurture Olivia and Charlie in the positive way I know we can.  I feel I understand more about love of family, including Ruth's mother and step-father Jean and Horst.  I feel it's not really about the literal description of the word family, for me it's about people you fundamentally care for and likewise fundamentally care for you.

I choked very badly on my roast beef dinner in Chester during a meal at The Architect pub.  It was rather bad, but Ruth and I dealt with it brilliantly, there was no drama, and we joked about it very shortly afterwards.  Ruth did the wrong thing by patting at my back, but this didn't matter, I'm sure it's because I knew she was there for me which helped me enormously.  The day was superb, to see where Charlie is gonna spend the first proper three years of his adult life was fantastically satisfying.  We finished back at home with a game of Scrabble which was really lovely, it felt like real family experience.  Ruth obviously won, but Charlie also beat me comfortably.  I would have beaten him two years ago, not because of any decline I may have had from my RTC, but simply because Charlie was younger and not as intellectually developed.  If there'd had been no RTC, Charlie would still have beaten me.  I take immense satisfaction from the way he has developed, I'm very proud of him.  I think it's Charlie's stimulation with Scrabble which has me so enthused, not that he's good.  I had a similar buzz after Olivia had been watching some believe it or not videos on YouTube, she was fascinated and run tons of ideas by me, she was so stimulated. Our generation generally believes children spend too much time on social media and we think it's all tripe, we think they should get their stimulation from reading or at the very least watching films. However, we thought watching Grange Hill was hugely enjoyable (it'd be easy to dismiss it as tripe), so what's the difference with the social media frivolity?  I can't allow myself to forget how Ruth tried hopelessly to spell affidavit, hee.  When I met Satan (my friend Stan who I once mistyped his name on a text with Sstan and the spell check corrected it to Satan) in London the other week he reminded me how I often used to search every document or email which I wrote for the word "that", which I used ridiculously often, I'd then either delete it or find a more suitable word.  I still find I need to do the same, I also use "stuff" too often, and realise it was a coping mechanism used when I couldn't think of the right word.  I now always go back and search for "stuff" and almost every time I find a suitable word.

I believe my often pondered work ethic is a comfort blanket, it is something I am really good at and feel safe doing it.  It doesn't matter how serious or challenging the problem I have to deal with may appear to others (and I've faced down some big ones), it doesn't stress me at all.  It doesn't mean I can do / fix anything, but I know that if I can't, then as a generalisation no-one else could either.  I don't know why that should matter, but it does.  I don't know if work would be so important if I didn't have a senior role or wasn't an expert in my field, I'd like to think I would feel the same, but I’ll never know.  The bottom line is that I get comfort from work and comfort is something I think we all subconsciously strive for.  I'd done five weeks in London and not felt inclined to stay anywhere new, before the RTC I'd never stop in the same place for two consecutive days!

At the Met Police, Andy Gammons and myself dealt with a very hard to understand time related PKI problem.  We worked together and got to the bottom of it and it was fantastically satisfying. We went down so many blind alleys it was unbelievable.  It was, with hindsight, an outrageously complex approach we undertook.  There was no planned troubleshooting methodology, as nothing organised could have helped, in fact it would have hindered.  We were two smart people where neither of us would individually have gotten the positive outcome, but as a team we were bloody brilliant.  It brought to mind a Dave Hoyle quote from MoD DIIF days along the lines of "fifty really smart people can do the job of one thousand make weights".  During the problem investigation, I jokingly said "things appear even worse than when I was last here two years ago". Andy concurred, but then added "perhaps you've forgotten how bad it really was".  I loved this gallows humour and the fact colleagues don't feel like they are treading on eggshells around me.  It reminds me of when I was explaining my skull nuts and bolts to Tracy Binmore, and she jokingly said she was anxious about seeing me in case I looked like Frankenstein's monster.  Normal and accepted is great!

I have a real problem with liars, more than I should.  I know my biggest problem with Maggot is that he is a liar, even more so than his nastiness.  I've been thinking more about why I have this issue with Keith Williams and I now consider that it's because in my eyes he is a liar.  We are all tempted to tell lies at times in our lives, and sometimes we do tell lies, but I feel it catches up at some time.  I know I am not a liar, which has helped me enormously.  The case in point being my desire to give Ruth access to my password locker.  Despite everything which I love and respect about Ruth, if I wasn't so sure I'm not a liar I couldn't have done this.  There might have been an odd financial matter which I might not have wanted to disclose to Ruth, not out of deceit, just simple privacy.  I knew there may be potentially embarrassing material in there, but fundamentally I have always been truthful about everything.  With my memory deficiency I'm not sure what I may gloss over or not in life, but because I know that I'm not a liar I know there is absolutely nothing for me to fear, if I mislead someone it's simply because I've forgotten something and not part of a manipulative approach.  I compound my liars theory by saying a liar is also someone who doesn't acknowledge when they are wrong.  This brings a total lack of confidence in someone.  I'm perfectly content with people who get things wrong, I do myself frequently, but I admit to it and it gives people confidence (trust) in me.  There's a saying "liars need to have a good memory", I don't have one, so the confidence of not being a liar is enormous.

I'm sure I didn't smile for months, not through misery, I just couldn't force myself to smile for the sake of it, Ruth didn't mention this, but I'm sure she observed it.  It's hard to stop me smiling now!  I feel I may understand feelings and emotions better than most people, perhaps because there was a period when I had none.  When I went for a meal with Andy Bryars in Islington and we'd chatted for an hour he said the commonplace "you really don't seem any different".  I'd previously thought "yes, but..." - I learned to never say anything negative as it would diminish what was intended as a compliment.  However, this time I never for one moment felt "yeah, but", I simply felt he was right.  Massive progress.  I think of the note Ruth posted at the side of my Haywood bed telling me the current year, what had happened to me and that I was loved.  It was my 'first' communication of the word love, it took a moment to recollect what that meant.  Then it was who could have posted it, when I reasoned it must have been Ruth (who I hadn't thought of at all since the RTC) I was so happy.  This was so important, probably my first feelings since the RTC, I must have read the note twenty times a day.  Life felt so methodical until then, I just didn't understand what life was about, life was just a conveyor belt which people were on until I read and absorbed the note.

I see the positive in everything.  I'm extremely conscious of not being late for work, that's a built-in value and has not changed.  Other matters such as train delays to home / missing trains back home or whatever, I just shrug and think, so it's cost me fifteen minutes, what would I have done with the saved time, i.e. so what.  I used to always plan to optimise every journey I took, no more, I'd much rather get up early, I think I now have the right balance.  I was advised this week there is no certainty my Met Police contract will be extended ,this is normal for a contractor. Normally, uncertainty would be one of my biggest challenges, however, I’m resigned to the fact I'll just have to get something, somewhere else. i.e. that's the contractor life.  I want to repeat what I said earlier regarding dialogue I used to have with mum: "I know when I used to visit my mum after a London working week I'd tell her what a fantastic life I led - a wonderful partner, happy and healthy Olivia, fabulous job, no financial concerns whatsoever."  Ditto, but with contented added.

Ruth, Olivia and I went to London for the weekend of 16th and 17th September 2017.  We went down on a Virgin train at 0912 and stopped overnight in Hampstead.  We took in the London Dungeons, Camden Market, Hampstead, Ripley's Believe it or Not, Planet Hollywood.  There'd been a serious terrorist bomb scare on the tube only the previous day and Deb and Olivia were understandably concerned, the terrorist threat level was SEVERE.  Nevertheless, we all traipsed down.  We first walked down from Oxford Circus to Piccadilly via Regent Street and Carnaby Street, I bought a SuperDry T-shirt I'd been hankering after since Olivia and I had been to Ibiza. We did the London Dungeons near to the London Eye and it was very well done.  Unfortunately, I tired out rather early and was satisfied when we left the dungeons to go up to Hampstead and get checked in, I went to sleep for an hour or so. Olivia had her own single room and loved the independence.  I introduced Ruth and Olivia to Lorenzo at La Gaffe, he was as lovely as always.  The evening was mainly about looking around Camden which was really authentic, and we had a nice pizza dinner.  Ruth bought a rug for future installation into a mount on our living room wall.  I was nonplussed with the rug, but Olivia thought it was scary.  Ruth and I had an early get-up for breakfast at La Gaffe, we then spent a couple of hours in Hampstead, first wandering around the heath and ponds, followed by admiring the fantastic authentic architecture and streets.  We went into a charity bric-a-brac sales event in Hampstead which was lovely.  I began chatting to a lady who was selling pottery ware, she was Canadian and so enthusiastic about the Potteries, her favourite place in the world!  She asked if there was any pottery in my family, so I recounted Nan Nixon, Ruth's father and one of the Wozny's best friends, Mr Woch.  She was fascinated and it was just one of those unexpected lovely moments.  If money was no object, I could see Ruth and I living in Hampstead, certainly my favourite part of London.  Ruth bought some perfume bottles.

We went to Oxford Street so that Olivia could go to the biggest JD Sports shop in England.  I tried really hard to get Olivia to buy something but she simply kept saying "I have everything I want dad".  She was saying this subconsciously and it made a huge impact on myself and my thoughts about her values.  The Ripley's "Believe it or Not?" was simply fantastic, we all thoroughly enjoyed it.  Ruth wimped out on the mirror maze, absolutely fair enough, if it is uncomfortable you shouldn't do it.  I did it though! And Olivia about three times.  Planet Hollywood was OK, and then we had a bit of a rush to get back to Euston for a preferred train time, we just made it.  It was for me a perfect weekend, the first of many such planned weekends in the future.

Ruth told me how she read me stories while I was in a coma, mum told me how she did pretend touch typing with me, this knowledge will remain in my heart, forever!  Ruth appears to everyone to be strong on the surface, and indeed she is.  However, it doesn't mean she is a robot and doesn't feel hurt like anyone else.  She is tough as boots, but only in the metaphorical sense.  I have seen sides to Ruth which other people wouldn't see, she is indeed a feeling, caring and sometimes upset human.  Just because she's tough doesn't mean she should be treated any less thoughtfully or respectfully.

Ruth and I know more than anyone could imagine that my recovery was not inevitable, she could have spent her life wiping my bottom, never even going to a shop together, nevermind going on holiday together.

I'm a bit paranoid about repeating myself regarding a conversation I may already have had with someone, so I often qualify the start of a conversation with "I don't know if I've already said this". This was a legacy from hearing at a critical care MDT of how I was easily distracted and often repeated myself, things I wasn’t aware of.  It felt really strange to learn of such a vast change to my personality from a bullet review item typed on a meeting agenda and the ensuing discussion. In a nutshell, I wasn’t who I thought I was.

I've written an awful lot on this blog, however, the single most powerful statement I've read regarding recovery was taken from an article on another TBI survivor's blog.  I have reproduced the statement here:  "I want to share what I consider the thing that makes every pain-staking minute of recovery worthwhile.  The “silver lining” if you will, is ALL OF THE MOMENTS OF LIFE I didn’t miss out on thanks to my exceptional good fortune of surviving against the odds."

Takeaway Note
I had a bicycle helmet sat in the shed doing nothing for about three years prior to my RTC.  It was only Ruth's nagging at me on bike rides to wear my damned helmet which finally triggered me to do the sensible thing.  After riding bicycles for perhaps a thousand times over my forty-five year lifetime, I started wearing my helmet a month or so before I had my RTC.  There's a lesson everyone should take heed of: put your bicycle helmet on.  There's more to wearing a helmet than it simply saving your life, for lesser accidents it might lessen the severity of any damage inflicted and make a satisfactory recovery possible.