Kara Swanson's Brain Injury Blog

December 24, 2018

Sometimes Just a Slice is Perfect…

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 10:37 am

Picture your favorite cake or pie.  Warm out of the oven.  Fresh and delicious…Yum.

Having a slice of your favorite cake or dessert is a great thing to enjoy for most of us.  One of life’s simple joys…

But not many of us would sit down and eat the entire cake or pie in one sitting.  It would be too much.  It would make us feel terrible.  It would lose what was perfect about it in the first place.

Christmas celebrations can be like that.

Most of us condense and entire year’s worth of shopping and visiting and eating and gathering, all into one month.  We are shoving down that whole cake like there is no choice.

We can make a choice.

With brain injuries, particularly, it’s hard as heck for most of us to navigate the holiday season.  Most of us are just hanging on, just trying to get through it.  Kind of takes the joy out of something when you feel like you are just trying to survive it.

While most kids have been making their Christmas lists, I’ve been getting through my holiday prep with new lists each day, too.  I feel sane today.  Relaxed and peaceful.

When you get ready to tackle these next days of holiday rush and fun, remember that family traditions were made, likely, before you had a brain injury.  They were made by people, likely, who didn’t suffer from brain injury.

The traditions and plans may need a little tweaking in order for you to fully participate and enjoy them.

When you picture your family and holiday plans, try to picture you in them and see how that’s all going to work out.  How can you plan so that you can be a favorite part of your favorite parts?

There are no rules that say you have to stay X amount of hours anywhere.  That is probably key for most of us.  When we know how hard it is to hang for long long party or gathering hours, focus on how you can create a scenario that works for you so that you can be safe and enjoy a measure of time that works for you.

I’ve already typed up my list for today.  I start at the bottom with when I have to leave for my traditional Christmas Eve party and I work back.  I put in every hour backwards:  shower, pack the car, clean the car out, wrap the presents, wash the outfit, make the list, have the morning coffee…..

If we plan our day and make our schedule when we are rested and quiet and at our best, we can rely on that schedule all day to assure us that we are OK.

For me, I used to visit several parties or gatherings, here and there.  That was long ago.  Run here, stop there….It was all too much.  Now my plans are very modest and I enjoy them so much more!

Don’t forget to schedule in some down time, alone time, rest time…whatever helps you stay on top of your game.  It’s as important as a diabetic remembering to eat small meals throughout the day or someone with high blood pressure planning to pack meds for the long day.

It’s what all of us do in our particular situations.

As lives change, as injuries come, as loved ones go….our holidays change and it’s OK that they don’t look like what we were taught to duplicate from holiday commercials and Christmas shows.  Some people cannot tolerate noise or gatherings or they don’t have family around or their gatherings are toxic and unhealthy for them….

Christmas success is up to you.  Plan for it and make it yours.  Whatever it looks like to others, it only matters that you carve out your version of safe, happy, and peaceful.

It is your Christmas and sometimes just a slice is the perfect amount.

I wish all of you the best holiday time, right up and through a New Year that I hope will delight and surprise you with all your wildest dreams coming true.  Warmest wishes to all of you in however you celebrate and whatever you call it.   Let it be a season of peace and happiness and good light.

Love, Kara

December 6, 2018

Just a Few Words About Doctors

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 3:12 pm

I have been well-blessed for having been the beneficiary of wonderful, caring and invested doctors after my brain injury and, really, throughout my life.  But I came across an article today in our local news because, for many of us after brain injury, we are throwing all of our hope and faith into our doctors’ ability to fix our brains:

Six doctors were charged in an unsealed indictment Thursday with cheating Medicare and Medicaid out of almost $500 million and fueling the nation’s opioid epidemic by illegally prescribing more than 13 million doses of prescription pain medication.

While this is one case of gone-wrong doctors amidst a sea of mostly honorable and wonderful ones, it is a reminder that we have to take charge of our care and that of the parents and children we are responsible for.  Whether it is our case after brain injury, our parents needing to find competent and compassionate assistive care or our kids being trusted to pediatricians, it is up to us to take control of all that we can in order to avoid the dangers of darker care-providers.

It was mainly the blind trust in doctors which kept any one of dozens of people from unmasking and stopping Dr. Larry Nassar from molesting hundreds of gymnasts and other athletes under his care.  We have all read horror stories of this doctor or that.

Doctors are people.  And, as much as most are wonderful and caring, there are the darker ones who are distracted, uncaring, in it just for the paycheck or just plain dangerous.

Invest in your care and that of your loved ones.   Get second opinions.   Ask questions.  Do research, even when you annoy them with what you found on the Internet.  Ha.

Please take Kara yourselves.

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