post-concussion syndrome recovery update

I’m feeling especially frustrated right now. See, I love going to New York City. One of my favorite things in the world is to walk around Manhattan without a plan, go to a museum or two, and wander.

I’ve been feeling significantly better lately. I can cook dinner even when my eight year old wants to talk to me. My 14 year old can listen to music on the radio while I’m driving. These are big deal improvements.

But as I plan a trip to the city, I realize I still need to restrict my activities because of the concussion recovery. It’s so frustrating.

Scanning with my eyes is still very tiring. Multi-tasking is still not second nature like it was before. Something that before would have been simple, like taking a bus from my uncle’s place into the city, feels daunting. I could do it, but it would be difficult and very tiring. Maybe it would be worth it? Or maybe I’d be better off waiting until I’ve gotten even farther along in my recovery.

The crash happened in June. It’s been a long time. I thought I might be done by now. As I said, I’m much better. But I still don’t have my life back. It’s tempting to focus on how powerless I am here (I can’t speed up the recovery), but the occupational/physical/speech therapists all helped me (and still help me) remember that I’m much better than I was before.

I’ve started a new activity in speech therapy that is focused on building multitasking skills. I tried it on Wednesday and it felt like I was lifting weights with my brain. I have high hopes that this tool will help a lot.

I’ll keep my trip to NY really simple. I’m grateful I feel up to traveling at all.

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sexual assault or abuse if children isn’t always pedophilia, and that matters

I wish people would stop using the term “pedophile” so recklessly. See this twitter person’s explanation about why the distinction matters:

my second-to-last column for the Bangor Daily News

This is it: https://www.facebook.com/HeatherDenkmire/posts/498162717243642

If you read it and think it was worth your time, I’d be honored if you’d share it. I don’t think getting my “hit count” up on the paper’s site will really do anything — opinion columnists with too-low hit counts are not having our contracts renewed in 2018 — but if it certainly can’t hurt to see if it helps.

–Heather

why kale?

I hate how hipster I am about kale. My ego needs people to know not only did I grow up eating kale, but as an adult I’ve loved kale since my first daughter was tiny; about 10+ years. I got my (original) bumper sticker then, too.

The reason I love it is pretty simple, though the list is long, too:

  • absurdly dense nutritional value
  • can be grown year round – no kidding (sweeter when it’s cold)
  • *super* cheap
  • soooo easy to grow
  • amazing range of ways to cook and eat it
  • tastier and easier to cook, more versatile than collards and also more versatile than chard

For me, the bumper sticker means that if everyone ate more kale—especially if more people grew it for their friends, family, and neighbors—the world would be a better place. We’d be healthier; the planet would be healthier; and we’d all save money.

Eat more kale.

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lost in the possibilities, or, when my daughters went to school

My older daughter is 11; my younger is 5. For the last 11 years I have, for the most part, been at home with one or both of them. This summer, both girls went to two weeks of full day camp. It was the first time in 11 years that I had such an expansive amount of childcare. I was giddy and elated and I painted furniture and went to Goodwill a lot. It was summer. Most of my clients were quiet and there were very few pressing deadlines. I played a bit, though I never lost the sensation of being in a huge hurry — the kiddos will be back any minute! gotta get this done!

Today, they both went to full-day school. As I drove away after dropping them off, I laughed and I cried.

I laughed because I was filled with joy. The school aligns with our values in some of the most vital ways. It will challenge them. And, it’s safe. They feel at home.

I cried because, as the girls’ father said, “It’s a big deal moment. Out of the first nest.”

I also cried with relief. It’s been a difficult journey over the last several years. Their father provides substantial support, far above the legal requirements. But, it’s still been difficult and part of that is because being at home with our daughters has been a priority for us. Time is always scarce; I always feel in a hurry. With so much to do and so little time, I have to go-go-go or I might collapse.

Today, I am caught between collapsing—something I do a bit of each time the girls go to their father’s house—and getting things done. I’m in shock, truly in disbelief, at the amount of time I now have available to me. Not only will I be able to grow my business, but I will be able to… fold the laundry, cook meals, pay bills, complete paperwork, make and keep appointments, go for walks, grocery shop, sleep, and be emotionally and physically available to my daughters when they get home from school.

As my business grows, of course, I will have less personal time. Everything’s relative, though. Going from just two mornings and a day each week to five days a week is the lottery of time, and I’ve won it. For now, I need to learn how to breathe and believe it’s really true.