Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I WANT AN ACQUIRED BRAIN INJURY


I WANT AN ACQUIRED BRAIN INJURY

By: Joe Amero

 

 There’s an old adage that says ignorance is bliss, I think it’s true.  I have a lot on my plate these days with school, work, a mortgage, bills, sick old dogs, kids and car payments.  I have zero free time in any given day and the same amount of extra money to enjoy it if I did.  I’ve spent plenty of time budgeting and planning for the future, making savings projections and misappropriating my own funds to make ends meet.  I worry a lot about the future and have fears of failure and a lack of perseverance to keep treading water long enough to finally be able to enjoy the swim one day if I, somehow, manage not to drown.   I’m always stressed out and the pressure has given me ulcers, anxiety and even a quick bout with the shingles.  Through my work in the field of front line social service work I meet many people every day, each with their own set of unique trials and tribulations.  There is one particular type of client I come across from time to time that never fails to amaze me and leaves me envious of their disposition.  These lucky souls have acquired brain injuries (ABI) and they make me jealous.

I don’t mean to be insensitive to the plight of those who have suffered severe head trauma and survived.  The road to recovery can be paved with struggle for these individuals and their resilience and determination is a true testament to the human spirit.  That being said; it’s not their strength that I’m impressed with so much as their ability to be so easily amused and the joy they take from the little things in life we all too often take for granted.   They’re always smiling and giving off a slow drawn out chuckle at the most seemingly insignificant things.  A fresh banana will do if I’m hungry and in a hurry or too lazy to make a sandwich.  Give a fresh banana to one of these folks and they’re going to smile at the sight of it, enjoy peeling it and giggle at every bite of the full ten minutes it might take them to finish it.

I’ve spoken to people with ABI and the conversations are marvelous.  These are not deep and stimulating philosophical ponderings and musings into the human condition, that is why I like them.  These conversations go nowhere; they barely start or even exist in the first place.  They never ask questions because they know it doesn’t matter.  Some of them can only nod or smile or grunt and others are with limited speech.  When they’re asked a question they sometimes won’t even answer, and they’re not expected to.  When they do have something to say it’s usually one random word or a sentence or phrase not pertaining to anything in particular.  How great would this be if the only thing on your mind was “cowboy” or “I like potatoes”?!  People take care of them and, from what I’ve seen; they don’t have a care in the world.

Would I want my wife and family to be sad?  No.  Would I care or even know?  Also, no.  This would be a devastating tragedy and I would need some pudding.  My wife could leave me at a boarding home and my only concern would be my daily trip down to the drop-in centre for a fresh banana and some quick conversation.  It doesn’t happen to everyone, most people die, so it’s kind of like winning the lottery.   No more stress and pressure, no more responsibility and interest rates, just retarded thought patterns and smooth sailing.  I’m not planning on giving up and I will always fight for my family until the day I die, don’t get me wrong.  All I’m saying is if I did fall victim to some horrific accident and survive with ABI, you wouldn’t hear me complaining. 

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