Photo of a beach from above

Since I was asked to talk about when my “Moment of Power” was, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. Because there isn’t one big one, there isn’t one that goes POW! And wow! Things are amazingly different.

I’m living with a brain injury. My memory isn’t

great, my symptoms are many.

Basically, my brain is broken, I live in constant pain, I’m told, ‘Ang, when you’re good, you’re great, but when you’re bad… go back to bed!’

My “Moments of Power” are lots of small wins, small wins that are as important and influential as one huge one.

Going to the supermarket for bread, milk and dog food, and actually remembering, bread, milk, and dog food. Cooking a traditional Greek meal, from scratch, and I didn’t burn or ruin it!

Vacuuming and mopping the house in one go! Being “present” for my kids.

These are all steps in recovery, they are all “Moments of Power”.

After my accident, for nearly 12months, I had been battling on my own, I was constantly being told that there was nothing wrong, and it’s all in your head. ‘You’re being a hypochondriac, you’re just imagining it. If there was something wrong, why’d the hospital send you home? Get out of bed, just get back to work, and take a Panadol….’

I functioned, but I just wasn’t “right”. I finally listened when my friends told me, “Ang, you need to go back to the hospital, there is something wrong…”

I listened to them and I heard what they said to me. Nearly 12 months after my accident occurred, I represented myself to the Emergency Department and asked for help.

I sat in that waiting room for almost a whole day, nurses, and doctors, all asking “what painkillers do you want? … We can’t give you blah blah blah…”

Finally, one doctor listened to me. He heard me. He actually asked me questions and took note of my answers, he took me seriously. He brought in his superior, it was decided that yes, there seems to be something “not quite right”.

They told me that I would be referred to the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Unit and to expect to be contacted within the next 7 days.

I closed my eyes and actually breathed a sigh of relief. Somebody actually believed me. I started crying with relief, I can’t even explain the emotions that were running through me.

Finally, for the first time since my accident, after nearly 12 months, someone who could actually help me, believed me. There was actually something wrong.

I very quietly celebrated my first “Moment of Power”.

The beach. The beach is “my happy place”. I know it may sound weird, it settles me, makes me feel calm, happy. It gives me strength.

Eventually one doctor did just that. He asked me questions, he answered my questions, he listened to my answers, and he said to me: no, things aren’t right.

And he said to me at the end of our visit, that he would be referring me to the brain injury rehabilitation unit and I was to expect a referral letter within seven days.

He believed me. A doctor, somebody who could actually help me, actually believed me that there was something wrong with me, that there was something not quite right. That what I was feeling was real. He believed me.

And I sat in that cubicle and I cried. And I celebrated my very first moment of power.

Thank you.


 

You can get in touch with Angela Kalantzis

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And visit ‘Facebook Support for Survivors - Brain Injury the New Me? Australia’