The Good, The Bad, and The Tired

Tonight was my first time back to our brain aneurysm support group meeting since probably last September, possibly August. During catalog season I’m always working late and far too tired to go anywhere during the week. Ironically, fatigue and memory is a common theme at many of our meetings as it was tonight.

As always, it was good to see returning faces and I missed a few who weren’t there. We’re getting a nice “core” of survivors, care-givers, and those who have lost loved ones. The support is always there and we all try to listen to each other’s stories and offer validation for feelings and emotions that only those who have gone through the same thing can appreciate.

Unfortunately, I’ve had the brain aneurysm double-whammy; I myself, have suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm, and I have lost two loved ones to ruptures. I’ve seen both sides of the caregiving aspect, or those left behind, and I’ve also been a part of the survival and recovery part. Each part has struggles and pain.

Tonight, a father shared the story of the night his adult son’s brain aneurysm ruptured. It was a violent rupture and if he had been home alone, he would not have survived. His wife was able to revive him briefly – twice. He survived surgeries and a little bit of rehab and multiple rounds of different medications. He was at our meeting tonight while his father described the night it all happened to us. Even though his short-term memory has basically been lost, he cannot work or drive, and his family continues to endure a level of frustration and pain I cannot even begin to understand for several years now. But he IS alive, walking, talking, and able to function in some capacity.

Hearing a caregiver, and a father, talk about what happened that night, was difficult for me. My sister and Dave’s niece went through very similar experiences….or we can assume. My mind immediately raced to Dori’s rupture and how she lost consciousness on Mother’s Day and her husband was able to revive her while their 15-year old son called 911. But by that point it was too late. The damage from the rupture had already been done.

Then I thought about Kim, who was home alone when her rupture occurred. I can only hope and pray it was quick, but I also always wonder if someone had been there and found her sooner, if she’d be here today and if she were, what kind of life would she be living. The severity of her rupture and the location of it, leads me to believe Kim would not be the same person if she had survived. The same can be said for Dori.

We witnessed tonight the amazement in seeing a survivor of such a devastating rupture, but also the heart-wrenching pain in knowing their loved one will never be the same. That they can no long take care of themselves or their children. That they need major supervision. That they need to be reminded of things on an hourly basis to get through the day…yes, they DID survive, but in a sad way, they’re only a shell of the person they once were.

Is it only by the grace of God, that I am here today? Why did I survive and they did not? Why did I survive with very few deficits when others have continued issues and pain, even years after their ruptures?

I don’t like it when I come away from one of our meetings with these kind of questions. I should just be grateful and keep my mouth shut and never complain about anything, ever again. I AM one of the lucky ones…or one of the chosen ones…or just a person who was in the right place at the right time, with the right set of doctors. Fate? I don’t know.

I suppose those are all questions that will have to remain unanswered. Kind of like “Why doesn’t Fred Flinstone have horribly bloody feet when he has to stop his rock car with his heels?” Why? Why?

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