Life with Brain Holes

In Recovery by Emerson Jane Browne1 Comment

Life with brain holes often sucks.

I try to be positive.  I am a positive person by nature.  But sometimes enough brain injury created problems pile up that I end up sobbing – which was the case today.

It’s the little things . . . the little things that can add up and come crashing down all at once.

It is the humiliation of mistakes and from people rubbing my face in the  mistakes – as if that will help!

I am tired of having to explain that I have a brain injury. I am doing the best I can to make it to appointments on the right day and on time; pay the right bills, the right amount, and at the right time; fill out forms correctly, completely, and remember (or even understand) all the things I am supposed to send in with the forms.

I am doing the best I can and my best is not good enough.

Over a month ago I missed a PT appointment at Swedish Hospital in Seattle because I had 3:00 written down and the appointment was for 2:00. Now mind you, I enter my appointments into my phone the minute I make them while still standing in front of the scheduler so it is very possible that the scheduler said the wrong time for that day since we had made appointments for a few weeks and some of the others were at 3:00.  However, it is equally possible that I just entered it wrong; brain holes.  Then a couple of weeks ago I missed another one because I missed the bus – that one was completely my fault, I lost track of time; again brain holes.  And at some other point I think I missed another one when I was sick and simply forgot; again brain holes.  When I am sick my brain does not work right at all.

If you have three same-day cancellations Swedish punishes the patient by having every single employee with whom I have since come in contact with reprimand me relentlessly – very humiliating; then also making me contact the physical therapist to grovel and beg to be allowed to have another appointment – again very humiliating, and even after the PT gave permission and notified the front desk that it was okay to schedule me, the scheduler still felt the dire need to give me a lengthy reprimand. That one was not only humiliating but if finally cause the cork to pop and I ended up yelling at the scheduler to shut up and make the f-ing appointment.  I can usually keep my cool and so for me, blowing up also is humiliating.

The thing that they don’t get is that I feel HORRIBLE about screwing up in the first place.  Reprimands, especially multiple reprimands are excruciatingly painful!  And it really does not change anything.  It is not going to heal my brain.  It is not going to make my life be any less of an endless game of whack-a-mole.  I am doing the best I can.  But they don’t get that.   Additionally, Swedish Hospital has an idiotic policy of dinging the therapists’ record if patients are no-shows!!  How stupid!  So the scheduling staff is also trying to protect the therapists and for all I know, the schedulers may get punished too for patient no-shows.

Add to this that I just realized my business insurance got cancelled because in December I accidentally paid my homeowners policy twice and did not pay the business policy at all.  So I had to email my insurance agent to see what he can do about it.  Again, it is embarrassing and I am having to eat humble pie and beg for forgiveness in hopes of getting the policy reinstated.

I don’t want to have to beg and explain.  I just want to do things right in the first place!

I know there is nothing I can do but keep on keeping on and just do the best I can but I don’t like being this way.  I am very thankful for all I can do.  But it is still hard even me to grock the imbalance between high functioning normal parts of my brain and the brain holes.  For instance, I can project manage a large TEDx event and yet can’t even pay my insurance policies correctly.  Now how confusing is that?  Brain Holes!

Footnotes:

  1. The wonderful cartoon at the start of this entry is by Jeff Gregory of Jagged Smile and is used with permission.  Thank you again, Jeff.
Emerson Jane Browne

I am Emerson Jane Browne. I write about Brains, Apps, & Productivity, and many other aspects of Life. I speak to TBI support groups, speak and teach workshops at tech, music, and writer conferences. I consult with organizations on strategic planning and building a strong community.


  • Oh gosh – there aren’t even enough words to express how deeply I relate. I’ve often said I have Swiss cheese for brains! Those dark days I feel like !@#$, it evokes the fetal position and thundering rivers of tears.

    Whoever made the quote up about falling seven times and rising eight never had a TBI! It sure seems like there’s millions of falls and a lot of struggling to get back up each time.

    Is there any way you could get plugged into UW’s Brain Injury resources? I’ve heard wonderful things about it when I lived in WA.

    Maybe get a Payee to help with bills???

    I am so sorry the best the folks at Swedish could do was berate and humiliate you. Most places that understand TBI will call to remind the day prior as well as write it down for the patient.

    My heart goes out to you, I have had many of those days and it’s so hard to look myself in the mirror sometimes when it feels like my own brain has betrayed me – and – I can’t ‘fix’ it!

    Best to you today and always.

    Blessings, Love & Peace,
    RH