Monday, June 25, 2018

One fingernail painted red

Support Group Welcome sign
My local brain injury support group had their annual barbecue at a local park this week. To show unity in our group, we each painted one nail red. Everyone including myself brought snacks and other foods for everyone to enjoy along with the prepared food.  Besides going to the annual walk events, it was great to see some people from the support group attend this barbecue. While we were there, I there was a camera crew filming a commercial. There was also another group flying drones into the sky. One drone had a blue balloon with the earth painted on it. 
One of two drones at the park.

This was quite random for me to see in a park during the day. 

My red painted fingernail.
I saw another brain injury group member in their wheelchair taking photos of the park.  I walked over to him and we had a conversation about the drones and the weather.  He had explained to me how drones are more dangerous for helicopters because helicopters fly lower at the same height as drones. Airplanes fly at a higher altitude and are unreachable by drones. Drones cannot travel as far.  After our conversation, he returned to take photos around the park. Moments later, I was approached by the group flying the drones. They explained to me they were filming random acts of kindness and saw my interaction with the man in the wheelchair. 

They said thank you for showing an act of kindness and they gave me a thank you card.  I was having medical device issues since 2am this morning which continued until almost 12pm even after taking pain reliever pills.  Some pain issues continued this evening on the way home. Overall, I'm glad I was able to locate this support group meeting and enjoyed conversation and company of other group members. I look forward to attending more gatherings when I'm able to.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Traveling with Shunt

Butterfly at Butterfly Atrium 
Entrance to  Gardens
The pain free medical device sort of vacation is over for now. Since the end of last week, the shunt and eye pain has returned.  Depending on how intense the pain is, I stay home. The week of June 12, I went with a friend to Hersey Gardens. The heat wasn't too bad that day. I did have a bit of a brain breakthrough on the way home. I was getting hungry during the evening ride. As the hunger progressed, so did my head and shunt pain. To make things even better, there was some pain from the distal catheter in my abdomen. I tend to get a little hangry when I need food.

Once I had eaten my shunt and head pain disappeared. So not only is my shunt affected by the weather, other magnetic fields....I can include hungry pains too. Butterflies make me happy, which was one of the motivating factors in going to Hersey Gardens was to see them.

Nick Fury wax sculpture
As the weather has been getting more humid and into 90 degrees, it's made the shunt go crazy again. Yesterday, the pain in my right eye returned as did more pain from the valve. Because it's been so humid outside, I get the same issues I was having when the barometric pressure drops in the winter.  Last summer, I don't remember things being so intense during the summer.  This week, I've had dizzy spells, shunt pain issues, nausea and of course, pain in my right eye.

With eye patch after injuries in 2014.
Earlier this week, I went with a friend to Madame Tussands Wax Museum. I can relate to the Marvel character, Nick Fury as he has a patch on one of his eyes. As a result of my brain injuries in 2014, my right eye had been moved which caused double vision. For about one year and thirteen days, I had my eye covered. In the beginning I wore a patch on my eye. Then upon seeing a neuro-ophthalmologist, he had insisted I just cover one lens of my glasses.

The love hate relationship with my shunt often drains me at times emotionally and physically.  There are times when I question my purpose especially when I'm in pain. I have developed healthy coping mechanisms to deal with the 'the shunt is driving me insane' moments.  I cry, scream, go exercise, then put head down, repeat.

Not working for medical reasons doesn't help and I'm often times I'm home....I tend to isolate myself sometimes when I'm not feeling well.  I do get out on some occasions for volunteering, support groups.

Misadventures with a cerebral shunt continues....