I wish I had started recording my memories of my childhood during my childhood, how much easier it would have been! As it is, my memory isn't very good so I am thankful for digital cameras, I have gotten into the habit of carrying mine everywhere with me.
I wasn't always like this, I had a photographic memory, didn't need to study for tests in school, I remembered everything that I learned. Some of my friends in school gave me the nickname "Earl Brown" because I almost never had homework and never had to study. Back when I went to school, if you got your work done in class, you didn't have homework.
One night in January 1983, I suddenly had an immense headache, bad enough to send me to the emergency after only 15 minutes. After being hospitalized for three days I was sent home, I still had a headache, but it wasn't as severe. I couldn't communicate very well, was very disoriented and had a hard time doing simple tasks. I couldn't even remember my maiden name without first thinking about what my dad's name was. I had to be accompanied to the doctor's office because I couldn't explain what was wrong with me, I couldn't form a sentence. The doctor arranged for me to have a brain scan. I got home from the scan and within ten minutes the hospital called and wanted me admitted for a CT scan as I had a tumor.
I was admitted on Friday, the day before my son's birthday, and had surgery on Monday, after CT scans and an angiogram. The surgery went well, the tumor was a mennengioma, on the outside of my brain, about the size of a walnut. I had to wait a week for the pathology report to see if it was benign. As it turns out, it was, but before the results came back I started getiing sick after a few days and they decided to re-open the incisions and give me a local radiation treatment just in case.
I went on to have a full recovery with not much damage from the tumor, but the radiation treatment affected my memory, I have a hard time learning now, I have to learn by repetition and if I stop the repetition, I forget what I've learned.
I had a back injury at work the week my grandmother died, in July of 1994, a herniated disk at the T7-T8 level, in my mid-back. I had a consult with a Neurosurgeon and she said that the risks of surgery outweigh the benefits, and would only reccommend surgery if I became paralyzed. So, I was retrained for clerical work, but the only problem was, after a couple of months of searching for employment without succcess, I couldn't remember what I had learned. I had to apply for permanent disability.
My kids used ot take advangate of my bad memory when they were grounded. They would come home from school and say they were going to their friend's house, and I'd say okay and I'd remember that they were grounded after they were already gone! After a while I had to start asking them if they were grounded before I said they could go!
To look at me, I don't look disabled, people often think that the Handicapped Parking permit is for my husband, because he walks with a slight limp. My disabilities are invisible to the eye, but they are there. I have the permit because I can't walk very far without getting back pain. But I do what I can. For instance, a month ago, I tilled my vegetable garden by hand, using a pitchfork. I took a break about every 15 minutes, I can't work for any length of time without breaks. It took me a couple of days, but I got it done. I find if I pace myself, and take breaks often, that I can do most things I used to.
One thing that I can't do that I wished I could do, is play more with my grandchildren. I would love to go biking or skating or swimming with them, but I can't. My grandson always wants me to play cars or games on the floor, which I find very difficult to do, he doesn't see why, but the older grandchildren understand about my back injury now. I do what I can, I make them playdough, watch cartoons with them, bake cookies, read to them, make crafts and take lots of pictures of them.