Hello and welcome back to Stories From The Heart. Last month I interviewed my good friend Victoria Griffin about her sports injury and concussion during which she outlined her plans for the anthology on brain injuries, which she calls Flooded. You can find that interview in the archives (dated October 27 2016). Today I offer the update, along with my story with brain injury.
When I was in school, I was taken to the emergency room following a grand mal seizure. They did several tests that showed abnormal brain activity, and diagnosed me with epilepsy. They could not find the reason why until the doctor sent me for a CT scan of my head. The test showed a very tiny scar in the left hemisphere, indicating brain injury in the past.
I remember that there was a night when an unusual event occurred; but I had thought it had only been a dream. I saw a creature in my room that reached out to touch me in the very spot where the doctors found the brain injury. It sounds fantastic and make- believe, and yet, there is no other explanation. The doctor suggested that I was able to perceive myself in danger, although I was asleep.
When I woke, I was paralyzed for several hours, and stared at the ceiling above my head. When I could move, I reached for my lamp hoping to pull it to the floor and wake my parents. But, I was too weak. Finally, I was able to pull myself out of my bed, falling to the floor. I pulled myself up to my feet, leaning on the bed for support. Meanwhile, I was struggling to regain my speech. When I was able to speak and walk once more, I dismissed the whole thing as a dream state. My mother insisted I go to see the doctor, who found nothing wrong, except that my right side seemed slightly weak and slower to respond to stimulus than my left. As I said, they found nothing until the CT scan was done.
This is why books like Flooded are so needed. Those who live with brain injury must have a voice; these stories must be told. That brings me to the update.
EXCERPT FROM THE KICKSTARTER PAGE
On January 26, I took a blow to the head during softball practice. I was diagnosed with a concussion the next day. Not a big deal. One to two weeks, and I would be back to normal. But I wasn’t. Two weeks rolled around, and I was useless, functioning with the capacity of a four-year-old. I couldn’t leave my dark room. Couldn’t read. Couldn’t think of words. Footsteps sent me into an absolute frenzy, and the sound of my own voice was like a railroad spike through my skull.
After four months and a desperate struggle to graduate without being able to read or perform basic, everyday functions, I finally began the road to recovering my health and my life.
In the wake of physical, mental, and emotional damage, I turned to fiction to tell the story that is now so much a part of me, and while I found literary publications that were interested in the resulting pieces, I found no publications specifically devoted to concussions and brain injuries.
By compiling an anthology of fiction and creative nonfiction, we can use multiple genres, styles, and tones to truly convey the experience of a brain injury. Because what matters is not what it looks like or how many people experience it.
Brain injuries impact the lives of human beings in a way that is real, emotional, and permanent. But we don’t talk about that. We should.
- Provide an outlet for survivors of brain injuries to express their personal realities.
- Spread awareness about concussions and brain injuries to those who have not experienced them and to those who will become victims or caregivers in the future.
- Showcase brilliant writing
- Check it out and donate to the cause.