Kara Swanson's Brain Injury Blog

February 16, 2009

They Didn’t Care

When I was first injured thirteen years ago, everything in my life got so flipped upside down and tossed aside and thrown against the wall.   If there was a tornado gnashing in my head, there was a hurricane raging through the rest of my version of normal.

There was no money coming in.  I couldn’t pay my bills and I needed the people who wanted to take back my house and turn off my utilities  to understand that it wasn’t my fault the insurance companies were fighting.  It wasn’t my fault that no money came for seven months.   It wasn’t my fault someone ran a red light going 50 mph.  They didn’t care.

I spent six hopeful weeks with a balance specialist who, I was told, was “the best around.”  I never even saw him except for a brief hello that first day and an exit interview I will never forget.   He told me my therapy was a complete success.  I told him it was not.  I pointed out that I had not improved at all in my ability to balance.  He told me he “simply cannot put that type of thing” in my report.   When I asked him where do I go from here, he said, “You’re crippled.  Get used to it.” (Yes, he did say that!)   He then clap-closed my file and left the room.  Left me in tears.  I was incredulous.  He didn’t care.

When I lost my balance and fell on some ice in front of a group of high school kids, they looked and laughed and kept on walking, even as it was apparent I could not get myself up from the ice.   They didn’t care.

I was starting to think, my God!  This incredible, horrific, life-changing thing has happened to me and (what the hell is wrong with you people!?!) nobody cared…

And then I found out how wonderfully, lovingly, generously and humorously nobody cared.

Because, after some of the friends left and some of the fringe people in my life fell away, those who stayed and those who arrived were glaring, fabulous reminders of the glorious fact that no, nobody cared.

When my legs go out on me, my friends and my family each grab an arm and just about drag me to wherever we are headed.   They don’t care.

And when I get stuck on a word, they jump in and start calling out possible words I’m trying to say like it’s a game show and they’re telling me,  “stop talking your nonsense” through fits of laughter and we’re amazed when “warm noodles” comes out as “woodles” and when “look at the big black dog” comes out as “blig blog blig blog blig blog!”   and we’re hysterically laughing.  They don’t care.

When I have to lay down or I have to cut short our events, when I “stop recording” as I like to call my cognitive ability that fades late in the day, when I can’t make a safe decision or get myself back to my hotel room or my house,  they gather me up and arrange our plans and make my decisions and keep me safe and deliver me wherever I can’t get to on my own.

Because they don’t care.

I have the most incredible group of people in my life.  Early in my recovery I was taunted, scarred and devastated  by people who seemingly didn’t care.  And now I am blessed, warmed and so utterly, ridiculously appreciative for those who I am absolutely certain don’t care.

I hope you all have lives full of people who don’t care.  I hope you all find people to pull close and celebrate.  Those people to laugh and cry and share and struggle with.  Giggle with till there are tears in your eyes. 

To be real with.  To be the flawed, failing, sometimes flailing people we all are.  Grab on and hold tight and share this crazy ride of life.   Once you find yourself surrounded and loved by people who don’t care how you walk or talk or remember or forget or stumble or mumble or bumble through life’s folly, you are the rich of the rich.   It’s like eating chocolate pudding in a field of four leaf clovers.   With bunnies.  🙂



  1. Thanks for this. It made me smile and truly appreciate all of the people who have “stuck around”. I am newly dealing with a head injury, the memory lapses, difficulty in remembering at all, loss of balance, double vision, etc. So I have started looking for other blogs and experiences from those who have had similiar experience, who I can learn from, and I found your blog. It was interesting and encouraging.

    Comment by Stephanie — February 17, 2009 @ 4:11 pm | Reply

    • Hey Stephanie:
      Sorry you are newly injured. Hope your recovery is continuing to move in the direction you hope. I know this is no easy gig and I sure wish you well in your struggles and challenges. Keep at it. Start healing your heart and the head will follow. 🙂

      Comment by karaswanson — February 17, 2009 @ 4:44 pm | Reply

    • I’m glad you have a group that has stayed. Obviously you must be well-loved and your people don’t count against you the challenges you now face. They sound like good eggs and so do you. Continued best wishes on this new journey.

      Comment by karaswanson — March 18, 2009 @ 6:51 pm | Reply

  2. You have a fabulous voice: I find your blog insightful, your humor and honesty generous, and your determination admirable. Kudos to you. Thanks for being a writer.

    Comment by lindy rymill — February 26, 2009 @ 8:18 pm | Reply

    • Thank you, Lindy. Made my day! I appreciate the kind words. 🙂

      Comment by karaswanson — March 18, 2009 @ 6:48 pm | Reply

  3. Kara,
    I don’t care. I am friends with someone who is “riding the bus” with you. She loaned me the book “I’ll Carry the Fork” after she read it. All I can say is THANK YOU! Suddenly it seemed okay to ask her the questions that had lurked in my mind concerning her injury. Your book gave me great insite into her everday life and helped me understand so much better. We both deal with hard situations/subjects with humor so the style in which you write is perfect! I can’t thank you enough for shedding such positive light on a subject that is not talked about.

    Comment by Melissa — April 20, 2009 @ 10:59 am | Reply

    • Hey Melissa! You are a good egg. 🙂 Your friend is so fortunate to have such a good friend who doesn’t care. Thanks for writing. I’m so glad Fork could help. Best to you. K

      Comment by karaswanson — April 20, 2009 @ 8:31 pm | Reply

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