Monday, October 17, 2011

Guest Post: An Update From My Brother

My brother discovered a love of writing about five years ago and has written more than 200 essays. However, Marty's "voice" has been silent since June when a series of seizures left him with substantial memory loss (click here to read more about this). Since then, many of you have asked how he's doing, and I'm thrilled to let him tell you himself. The following is Marty's first essay since his brain injury. I couldn't be more proud of the progress he's made.

“I have no yesterdays – only today”
By Marty Haraldson

A person reading the title of this short essay might say that I have written that incorrectly. It should read, “I have no ‘tomorrow’ – only today.” We are never guaranteed tomorrow. But on the morning of June 23, a Thursday morning, things for me went from normal and everyday to extraordinary and life changing. It was on that morning that I lost my yesterdays and started struggling to recall the events of each “today.” Now, if I do not record the events of each day, those events fail to become memories.

It was a Thursday morning. It was trash day in our neighborhood. That meant taking the garbage can and the recycling container down to the curb early in the morning before going to work. I did just that. That’s the last thing I remember doing for the next three weeks. After walking back into the house, I apparently suffered a “rapid succession of un-witnessed seizures,” according to the medical report. These seizures caused a neurological memory loss and a psychological memory loss. I spent the next two weeks in the hospital and a third week in a care center.

This event makes it difficult for me to learn new things and remember new things, even simple things. As far as remembering what I did yesterday or the days preceding, I cannot remember unless I have a written record of what happened. If I fail to write down what I did yesterday, where I went yesterday, or whom I saw yesterday, I’ll most likely not be able to remember it. I’m embarrassed when I walk into the offices where I once worked for 30 years and not remember everyone’s name. It bothers me, too, that I cannot remember all of my neighbor’s names. Even more embarrassing is when I cannot remember my own phone number or my home address that I’ve had for 20 years. It’s then that I realize and accept that something is really wrong with me.

When the doctors and therapists say my “possible” recovery may take a very long time or that my recovery may not be “full” or “complete,” I must prepare myself for that possibility both physically and mentally. I cannot live with blinders on. I’ve always taken on life and responsibilities with both eyes wide open and given it my all. There’s no reason for me not to do the same in my present situation.

I realize that this is not what I asked for. I’ll now be living on disability income. My life now moves at a considerably slower pace. I’ve been accepted as a volunteer at the S.T.E.P. program in my city where I’ll be helping with their food shelf program. My truck and I will be put to good use to help those in need. I hope to get back to my former self, but much has to happen before that is possible. Until then, I’ll make the best of what God has allowed to happen in my life. I hope you, too, allow Him to make the best of your life!

10 comments:

Shelley said...

Marty,

It's great to "hear" your voice - Lynn has written so much about you both here and in emails that I feel like I know you a bit. What a twist your life has taken. I commend you for making the best of it with your volunteer work, and I sure hope that your DO have a full recovery.

bbubblyb said...

Thanks for posting this Lynn. Your brother is an amazing man. It's true that sometimes we have to adjust to a new "normal" and it sounds like your brother is doing his best to do that. My hat goes off to him that he's again helping others, something he seems to never forget how to do. I too hope he will have a full recovery with time.

Lori said...

Thank you for sharing Marty. Your attitude is really amazing - I hope you know that.

Normal always shifts, so we really can never depend on normal or even really know what normal is. Best of luck in your healing journey!

spunkysuzi said...

An amazing update!! Marty you have come so far. You have been and will continue to be be an inspiration to many. We all have our own thoughts on what normal is and we are all right!!

Sondra J said...

Thank you Marty for sharing your thoughts. I pray that you find comfort in what God has put in your path. I had a pastor that often taught us that God does not present challenges to us that he hasn't already given us the tools to deal with. We just have to figure out what those tools are.

Cammy@TippyToeDiet said...

Thank you, Marty, for sharing your story. All the best for you as you continue to heal.

Laurie said...

That was beautiful. I went back and read the previous posted essay about Leila. What a great talent you and your sister have. I hope you continue to progress, I am sorry about your yesterdays, but your "today" writing is simply lovely.

grace said...

Thank you for sharing, its really inspiring.

debby said...

Wow, Lynn. What a remarkable brother. How great that you both have such great writing skills.

And Marty, thank you for sharing. The human brain is a wonderful (and puzzling) thing. The fact that you can use the parts that weren't damaged to help others--well, that's just amazing. You have inspired me to make the very best use of today that I can.

Ramblin' On said...

Thank you for for sharing with us what your brother is going through. A lot of times we say "I can't imagine" but your brother prooves not only did the unimaginable happened, but he is facing this bravely. Thank you.