Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Turn For The Worse in August

    The month of August definitively marks a turn backwards for Danny as well as I. There was so much changing and going on and getting worse. Danny had periods, most often in the evening, when he talked BIZARRELY, telling me he was evil, could easily torture someone, and things of this nature. He swatted me now and then. He was obsessed with attempting to convince me that sex habits (like threesomes) would be enjoyable, even though I adamantly insisted I was not interested in that. He made sexual remarks about every girl we came in contact with, not TO them, but to me later. My tolerance was growing thin and I was becoming frightened. I knew much of this was brain injury related, but I feared for the part that perhaps was NOT.
    I felt his progress with memory had stopped and even regressed as well. He now COMPLETELY refused to do the memory exercises and compensatory stradegies that therapy was trying to instill in him. He wouldn't orient daily with his calendar, or write down appointments, days' events or when he took a shower last. He was becoming complacent.
    During the day, although his OCD continued to flare, he also was becoming much more depressed and SEVERELY unmotivated. We missed appointment upon appointment. He would not get up and get ready. There was no forcing him, and frankly I didn't want to try to anymore. I stopped calling off for him and made him do it himself.
    As his bipolar talk and behavior increased, the more distant I was becoming. I'd take his breakfast up to him in bed and hope that he went back to sleep sometimes, just so I didn't have to walk on eggshells. I felt guilty for this but I felt no other way out some days.

    As I felt him getting worse, I could feel mySELF falling as well. I was feeling depressed a lot of the time now, and if I wasn't depressed I was full of anxiety. I cried a lot.  I had absolutely no ambition and fell into a slump with getting things done. It was such a chore to clean and cook. I wanted to sleep. I self-medicated sometimes with alcohol...never A LOT, just enough to mask the pain...but I know I acted a tad strange under the influence. I was never a nasty or loud person under the influence...just an annoying talker or crier.  I was also losing things left and right, forgetting things, and my insomnia and nightmares were worsening. The worst part for me though I think was that I was losing all my patience with and hope for Danny. Things just didnt feel positive anymore. The car had yet more problems...overheating....and I was told my head gasket was going. No extra money to get one, and I resigned myself to the coming end of it.

In the third week of August an event happened that was and still is very extremely humiliating for me...but this blog is the true story...the real honesty...and we all know truth is not always comfortable...so I am posting the story from my journal that was originally only for the eyes of my friends...

ok.... Mood
Monday, August 22, 2011 | A Painful story
Well, I havn't been able to show my face here due to the embaressing and awful circumstances going on. Before I go on any further, heed these lessons...#1 when you feel things building up, like REALLY BAD and you feel you need help...GET IT if you can, SOMEwhere, and dont wait!! #2 Never be fooled into thinking that when you ARE in that awful shape, that self-medicating, even a little bit, will help...it MAY sometimes, but it might NOT and #3 always be careful with who you trust with your personal business, feelings, and so forth....
As you might be aware, I've been venting the past few days, weeks really, hinting abt bad feelings, things being said...things I should have kept private except in personal mssgs to you girls who are going thru the same or similar. I said that Danny is going thru the "hypersexuality" effects of brain injury...plus he always was a tad forward with comments...abt girls, their attractiveness, etc. due to his bipolar behavior. He never has cheated on me, nor ever done anything physical with or to any other woman but me since we've been together. I should KNOW by now this is him, plus its been made worse by the TBI. His OCD has been raging, he's been downright at times unbearable due to it, with the getting into things, annoying family and ppl around him, and we lost our wonderful psychiatrist and he needs to get one quickly who can get him stabilized. So anyway, Danny was making comments abt other girls quite often, sometimes I believe just to get to me, and one of the ppl he made some comments abt is my son's girlfriend. As you can imagine this was hurtful to me. A time or two he even said something directly to her, like abt wanting to kiss her, or that he would like to f**k her cuz she is hot. I KNOW he would never try to do those things and he is no danger to anyone in that way. With stress abt other things building and building, this too was beginning to be an issue for me. I grew close to my son's girlfriend and eventually confided in her that he was talking this way sometimes. I trusted her to keep in between her and I. I knew my son would be furious if he knew, and its NOT that I wanted to be secretive...I just felt it was something more due to his brain injury, and was something I could make her aware of.
Skip to Thursday evening...stressed abt bills, household aggrivation, Danny's behavior(which hasnt been SO bad, just annoying lately), my daughter's outrageous nonsense lately and worry abt my granddaughter, my ex outta jail and back on the bottle and waiting for his show of himself at my door and all that shit again, etc etc...ALL EXCUSES of course, and I decided to have some alcohol and play on the computer, watch TV, whatever. I had one and 3/4 of what are called 4LOCO, which is a 16oz, flavored malt liquor containing 12% alcohol. I bought 2 of them. Danny's dr.s, both his regular, and his neuro doc told him and I that alcohol, as in A drink once in a while, would not be harmful to him...but Danny has had no taste for alcohol anyway. When he first came home he talked abt it alot, but stopped in a week or so even mentioning it. He hasnt drank, nor did he Thurs night except for about 3 gulps. The rest sat getting warm. I drank mine, felt ok, alittle buzzed, relaxed. Before we went up to bed I finished his, rather quickly...idk why, except that it was pretty warm and figured drink it down. When we got up to bed everything was ok until Danny started talking abt the concept of someday bringing a third girl in to "sleep" with us. I reject this idea always, and sometimes he drops it, sometimes he keeps it up for a bit. I started getting very angry. He was laughing and I guess found it amusing that I was getting so animated with my anger. He was making comments girls etc, and I just snapped when he wouldnt stop it when I asked him to. I started reacting fiercely, jumped on him in bed and started trying to hit him on the chest and shoulders. He was like "What the hell is wrong with you?" and was telling me to knock it off and lie down, and we did calm down for a short while. He went downstairs and my son's girlfriend came in and talked to me. Then she went back in her and my son's room, Danny came back to bed, and within the space of a few minutes I was at him again. He was pushing me off him and ended up catching me on the temple with hyis hand, and pushed me backward onto the floor, and I then started kicking at his hands. When he said he had alotta pain in his hand I stopped. Abt this time I think, my son texted my phone from work(he works nights) and started threatening Danny and calling him names. Danny was angry then and pushed her door open to IDK, express his anger abt Chris' texts and she in turn yelled a buncha stuff at him. Turns out she text him at work, prolly cuz she didnt know how outta hand we were gonna get, and told him abt the comments that had been going on etc. Needless to say my son was and is furious. I AM NOT angry at her for telling my son...if it made her feel uncomfortable, thats her boyfriend and of COURSE she would tell him...I just should have kept my private concerns private. Oh how I wish I had...this was my worst fear.
It gets worse. Danny called 911 for an ambulance cuz he believed his finger was broke, and I wouldnt drive him to the hospital of course. When the 911 operater asked what happened Danny told them it was an altercation, so instead of just an ambulance, police came as well. They questioned us both. I told them i'd been drinking, he hadnt, it was my fault and I started the physical stuff, and he told them it was his fault cuz he was egging me on saying things to hurt me that he shouldnt have been saying. They left saying we would be cited under the new domestic violence ordinence, and Danny left in the ambulance. They were gone abt 2 hrs and Danny called saying he was ready to come home, and my head was clear by then and I went and got him. It gets still worse...
Next morning there are police at the door. Danny was up in bed yet. Cop told me we had to go to the station to be ARRAIGNED!!! WTF!!! We could go down on our own or they could transport us. I said we'd be down. Well I'm upstairs tryin to wake Danny and explain all this...no easy task. It was just over an hr til we got there and the cop there asked what took so long and that we were 5min from being picked up which wouldve meant real bail! There I am trying to explain how hard it is to get Danny moving. So anyway, we were arraigned on charges of simple assault and harassment, have 10 days to get fingerprinted, and are out on bail on our own ricognence or whatever! Hearing will be near end of Sept., we need lawyers etc. I am so hurt and humiliated at myself....cuz it was all due to my own stupidity and drinking to try to relieve my stress, and causing all this abt the son's gf and all to come out instead of keeping it private. And worst of all, I broke Danny's finger...we hurt eachOTHER :-(
And unfortunately it gets even still worse...the WORST part! My son is now sooo angry at Danny and I...he wants Danny outta the house, saying he never did anything but cause us all problems, lotsa name-calling, and in his anger even laid it all on me abt my failures as a mom to protect the kids from the things they went thru with their dad my ex, and I've chosen Danny over my kids and he doesnt wanna see my face etc etc. He said if I dont get Danny outta the house he will work 12hrs/day 7days/wk to get his own place and he's taking Nick AWAY FROM ME!!!! All this yelling took place over the phone once we got to my friend Barb's house. I was/am devastated. If I know my son like I think I do, he will cool down some and maybe this will blow over...I mean the WORST of it...but we've been at Barb's 3 days, and Danny is fluctuating between admitting he did something wrong and understanding my son's anger, and at times saying he is being terribly accused of some really horrible thing with which he needs lawyers and this and that for, and saying he knows my son will try to fight him when we walk into the house tomorrow etc etc.
Girls, IDK what to do. Danny's cousin is going to take him for prolly 2 nights, but no one in his family can take him permanently, and he needs to get to his appts and treatment, and IDK whats gonna happen at home. I am like ready to puke at all times, and the closer to tomorrow it gets the worse i'm afraid. Is this the end? And if we walk in tomorrow and police have to come for any reason it will be a violation of our "bail" and we go to jail til the hearing. I cant risk that. I am an utter mess. Just an utter mess.
If there's any good thing, its that I am DONE  drinking. It caused me little problems here n there thru the past 5 yrs...a DUI 5 yrs ago, nothing since, just acting stupid....and i'm no alcoholic by far, but I know now it is something I must refuse because it isnt good for me....ESPECIALLY under any kind of stress......
Please say a prayer. I am literally hanging my head right now in shame to even have to tell all of you this awful story....


  1. Blue.....Im sorry that all of this has happened.....I am praying for you all. Yes, it is a mess, no doubt about it. Learn from it, put it behind and move forward....this too my friend shall pass. As always, Im here for you!!!
  2. aef55
    The true sign of an adult is someone who can learn from their mistakes and work to make life better from it. Like snap said....We all do stupid stuff....Sorry you had to go thru it all.....Prayers for you....
  3. Kiki123
    First of all, thank you SO much for sharing all of this!!! I KNOW that it was a difficult thing for you to do and the fact that you did speaks volumes about many things. How lost you're feeling. How scared you are. How confused you are. How hurt you are. How incredibly strong you are. It isn't an easy thing to do to admit our mistakes.

    Why am I thankful? Because when we tell you that we're here for you we mean it! When you went off the radar I was soooooo worried about you! I didn't call because I wasn't sure what the situation was and I didn't want to interfere or catch you at a bad time. Also, I kind of got the impression that you just needed to be alone for a while. But I was worried about you and now that you've shared what was going on, at the very least, I know what to pray for, and at the very most, can see what I can do to support you and help you in any way I'm able.

    The first thing that comes to my mind is that you need to forgive yourself. I mean hell, it's not like you're living under normal circumstances! I'm sure that PA has a Brain Injury Alliance (or something similar to it). These places are chock full of advocacy people who help TBI survivors and their families. My guess is that they would view your situation in a more compassionate light than any average attorney or judge. So you may want to contact them and see if they have any attorney's or a good referral to an attorney who understands the impact of TBIs on families. I think your first step is to bring people into the fold who can help you given the nature of your circumstances. I think that Danny's TBI is at the center of all of this. I don't mean that any of it is his fault. I think you know what I mean. So I think that your case and situation need to be handled with that primary issue at focus.

    The Brain Injury Alliance might also have or know of family therapists that can work with all of you to help heal the wounds and bring you together in a tighter, more tolerant unit. One that pulls together in the difficult times and doesn't fall apart.

    I agree with you that staying away from the booze is probably a good idea. I made the decision to do the same because I tried drinking to numb the pain and it only served to make the pain greater and put me in a border-suicidal frame of mind. Okayyyy.... THAT wouldn't solve anything. So, let's you and I both agree to nix the booze together. :-)

    I'm proud of you for taking ownership of your contribution to everything. I think owning up to your role with Danny and your son will not only go a long way toward reaching a place of understanding, but will also never give them cause to doubt your sincerity.

    If you need me, I'm here. I'm praying for you.

  4. oneid1hrn
    Kiki is right! There must be a brain injury alliance or an association that has contacts that can help you through this situation. And YES, it is time to forgive yourself and move on. You are bright and strong. And both Danny and your son need you to be strong to work through this. I am so sorry for the drama you and your family do not need right now. But everyone it right, learn from it and move on as best as you can. Things always work out for the best. We just have to weather the storms as they come. Will be thinking of you and praying for you lots.
  5. blueguitargirl
    Thank you everyone for "accepting" little ole broken down me....
  6. angelajoy
    Sorry that you are going thur all this. I am with everyone else we have to learn from our mistakes and move forward. My thoughts & prayers are with you, Danny & your family.
  7. normaeh
    We are all broken in different ways and all of us have baggage. but when we tryto hide it or cover it up it only ends up exploding all of it covers everything withnasty stuff. now it is out it is time for clean up. a support group can only go so far it is time for those who are trained in handling tthiings dear. dont beat yourself up. they help you inventory your life and assess it, and help you recognise the toxic parts and the good ones too, and let go of what is bad. Time apart isnt so awful but healing if a;; participate. I know I headed down wrong roads different times in my life . You are created in gods image he loves you even before the world was created he knew you by name. oh my if he takes care of sparrows and cares aboout the lillies in the field how much more does he love and care about you?
    Sweet child do not be burdened by guilt talk to oour Heavenly Father and he will releive it and give you rest.
    I am praying this vvery thing for you that through this incident wonderful things will happen for allof you you, Danny your son his girlfriend all who are involved it had tocome to a head now let it be cleaned uup and bond with herbs and ointments metaphorically speaking.
    Ya know our Father is a potter and he has this thing for broken and cracked pots like you and me:) Blessings of peace upon you love norma

  8. njbontke
    Oh honey. One little pebble leads to a landslide. We are all dealing with the same emotions of fear,confusion, loss of control , ... The whole range. Stay with us. When things start building and they will again, we are all here. Use us as your confidants. Use us as your outlet. Yell at us. Curse at us. Get it all out. We can take it. I think the idea of finding a tbi advocacy person is best. And family therapy. Someone to help you all sort this out. I will be praying for stregth and for wisdom to come out of chaos.
  9. kittyk50
    not a single one of us is perfect and tbi is not reconized by"unqoote normal people,all it takes is one thing said the wrong way to really start the downhill slide.Just know that there are people who under stand that we all make mistakesand who really has the athurority to judge us when we judge ourselves the hardest. you have showed the wisdom of accepting your part and that is the beginning. breath deep and slow and take one step at a time. my prayers are with you.

    Danny's cousin Sherry took Danny overnight to get him out of the situation and I just tried to gather my bearings. As it turned out, after the embaressment of us being fingerprinted and so forth, our charges were all dropped due to the judge understanding to some degree what transpired. I learned important lessons about myself and us, but I also felt it was an almost eery beacon...a red flag or signal. Something needed to change soon somehow because our situation was starting to feel like a downward spiral...

Saturday, August 6, 2011


As I recall now all those many memories, from the time we were playfully getting ready to go out for an hour or so  together the night of the accident...to the drive bringing Danny back home from the rehab, I realize there were so many moments in between that I may never recall often or maybe even not at all...little things... loving, angry, hopeful, hurtful or fearful things. I get flashbacks of images sometimes...of the things I know are stored forever in my brain, but that are only brought to the surface by some word or sight that I hear or see. And when I think back through all the obvious memories, tiny lost fragments flash out at me and I remember sights, sounds, or someone's words.

I remember that night we were out...how handsome Danny looked. How he kept catching my eye and smiling at me when someone was talking to him, as though he weren't listening to a thing they were saying. I remember saying to an old friend I saw there, "Oh, I just LOVE this guy!" It really sucks thinking back, not knowing at that time that it would be the last I'd see the one I love in that present form. The next time I'd see him he would be battered and broken, clinging to life, and no one would be able to assure me he'd ever speak to me or be the same, again.

I remember all the seemingly endless time by Danny's bed...just sitting there for hours and hours...for days, just watching his face. Waiting for a flicker of his eyelids...holding and squeezing his hands, rubbing his arms, touching his sleeping face, falling asleep with my head on his arm...hearing those ICU unit sounds...the beeping, alarms, in and out rush of the ventilator...watching monitors so closely my eyes burned.

 I remember us dabbing at Danny's nose and ears as brown colored fluids seeped out, and his family and I being frightened it was spinal fluid...and the gushing thick red blood running out of his mouth almost faster than we could keep removing it.

 I recall counting ceiling tiles, floor squares, counting the times people passed by the door...getting my lunches and dinners in the cafeteria and eating them in the same seat every day, looking out at traffic and realizing how complex our brains are to control such tasks, and then walking back into his room hoping for something new to be awaiting me.

I remember the chaplains stopping in frequently to comfort me and pray over Danny with us, and the kind nurses who continually suggested I go home and sleep...but I just didn't want to...couldn't leave.

And the days he became so sick...the induced, involuntary and violent coughing when the nurses suctioned him by trailing the long tube down his throat and then withdrew the tube, sucking out copious amounts of awful colored mucus. And when he was coughing on his own later, wiping up his trach constantly because there was such a terrific amount of thick mucus being forced out and running down over and under the neck brace, and I feared it clogging his airway.

I recall his torturous shivering the days and nights they had him packed in ice blankets because his fevers were so dangerously high, and wanting to crawl in bed and just cover him with my body because I knew how he hated being cold.

And the days family was there with me and we somehow managed light-hearted conversation around his sleeping form.

Once he was awake and coming through the stages of coma, I remember feeling grateful for what was occurring, but feeling sadness hearing nurses in other rooms close to Danny's, yelling, "Open your eyes!" to patients in their comas who were at the beginnings of their journeys. There were people all the time, getting hurt this way...going through this terrible thing. Life felt more fragile than I had ever believed it was before.

Those moments at the rehab...watching Danny flail in bed, squirming and looking so frightened...banging, bruising and cutting open his arms, elbows, knees, shins, ankles...wondering what he was thinking...or if he was thinking at all? Would he remember being this way?

Feeling embarrassed for him when he had to be cleaned up...and the dry humor between the CNAs and I as we wrestled him in an effort to get him clean and comfortable each time... knowing he would be mortified that he was exposed and needed help in this way, but knowing I wanted to be there to help him through it while maintaining what dignity remained in his situation. I recall feeling fearful that he might never be able to see me in the same way again because I was seeing him in the way I was now.

Watching his blank face day by day, hoping for a smile or expression...and then that glorious moment when our eyes met and I first saw recognition in his face...when he took my hand and patted it, when he puckered his lips and returned my kiss.

I can still see in my mind's eye...
his at first floppy, then overly wiry body, and then those first marvelous steps...
That raised right eyebrow sometimes, "talking" to me long before he was able to speak...
I remember the lollipops and the vanilla spray...the hot and cold washcloths on his skin...the music I played for him...the one-sided conversations with him just looking at me...all to try to stimulate his senses.
The endless pushing him in the wheelchair, and later the walking with him, for hours each day...the sitting in his bed with him and letting him kick and push the hell out of me with his feet as I struggled to keep him upright enough for his feedings to run safely in without him aspirating.
The falling into bed exhausted and sore each night.

I felt alot of fear many, many times because of Danny's memory loss and it frightened me when he didn't know his mom and I apart, or just didn't know who I, or any of us were. Sometimes he still continues confusing me with old girlfriends...but thankfully I learned and know how very normal and expected that is in brain injury recovery. The confusion could continue for a long time...but it gets better.

The daily phone calls...telling and retelling of updates to everyone and the trading of thoughts, questions, ideas and occasionally complaints with his family. Collecting my thoughts to record on my Facebook, knowing there were friends, family and acquaintances keeping us in their prayers...knowing my Facebook pages would be my chronicle to reflect upon later.  And my wonderful friends on Daily Strength's brain injury forum, who guided and comforted me when I so desperately needed it. The hours spent on the internet and reading various books, trying to soak up any bit of information I could find to educate myself about what was transpiring.

The daily short twenty minute drives back and forth from Barb's to the hospital, and the hour long ones to and from  home...carried out in either a trance when things weren't well, or in nervous exhilaration when they were. The roads I followed became so like a habit that I swore I could navigate them with my eyes closed.

The occasional nights we did spend at home in Tamaqua with my fruitless attempts at catching up on work in the house...my confusing masses of forms and paperwork all kept as organized as I could manage in my big notebook. The endless phone calls for appointment planning, outpatient therapies, doctors, state and federal brain injury programs, insurance issues, and other personal issues of mine or Danny's.

The awful constant strain of worry about work, bills and money. The gratitude for my employer's understanding, easing up with my scheduling during the hospitalization, and their gifts of monetary help around the holidays...the kindnesses others in our lives showed us as well.

The attempts to balance my life and Nick's with some semblance of normalcy, when all that was going on with Danny was so dominating of my time and attention. I recall the feelings of inadequacy and guilt I had as a mother, knowing Nick was somehow put on a "back burner" through it all..knowing what Danny would say about that before his accident...but not knowing how else to handle anything at that time except for the way that I was doing.

The cold, empty feeling of our bed at night... missing Danny's touch, his comfort, the sound of his breathing. And the missing him so very much in so many different ways in the things that we did  daily...missing his voice and even his most annoying habits.

It had been a journey of shock and anger, sadness and fear...as well as hope and blind faith. I recall telling people at times as we progressed through it and things began to look up more and more, that although it was an event I wished had never happened, it was a rare and amazing journey that I wouldn't trade for the world. I had learned lessons in humility, love, faith, family and friendship.  I was forewarned that the coming parts of the journey wouldn't be easy, and recovery would be measured not in months only, but even in years. And so I was as ready as could be humanly possible...

FOR DANNY.... "Yesterday"...

Aug. 6, 2011

As I've been working on this blog over the past few days, Danny has expressed concern that people reading don't know what he looked like before his accident...before the coma and relearning of everything. He wants people to see the "real him," and what he looked like, he says. I'm not QUITE sure why this concerns him, except that he has always had some social anxiety, and I definitely do understand his feelings in that he may not want to be only "thought of" as the frail and injured guy in the hospital and recovery pictures. He is holding on to his self-image from who he was, and memories he has retained...and so... for you Danny, I am posting a big bunch of pictures of you before all this happened...photos of the handsome and yes, sexy guy you were and still are ...the great "dad" figure you've been with Nick...and a few pictures of us...

Spring 2010

Nick took this of Danny n I about 2yrs ago. I had a friend "photo shop" it, and it sat framed at Danny's bedside all through the hospital and rehab stay, and is above our bed now...

late summer 2009

summer 2010...teaching Nick to target-shoot

summer 2010

very early spring 2010

fall 2010...Danny with his mom Susie, and two sisters Tara and Kimmy

winter 2009 at the arcade

dying eggs with Nick and my granddaughter Sarah spring 2010

My most favorite shot of Danny fall 2009

late summer 2009

spring 2010...Danny's OCD would normally prevent him from tearing worms apart...but he was able to do it for Nick

spring 2010

summer 2010

fall 2009

G-dghtr Sarah and Danny winter 2009

early spring 2010

spring 2010 perfecting his colored egg

spring 2010...a big catch...of "seaweed" lol

fall 2009 Nick and Danny working on my car

fall 2010 Danny with sister Kimmy's children, Zakk and Zoee

spring 2010

winter 2009

winter 2010

These are Danny before we were together (altho I've known him for years)
He was in his early to mid-twenties. This and the last one are I believe when he was in Germany with the service for Operation Enduring Freedom. The middle two are I believe somewhere between 2006-2008...not sure...