While at the Brain Injury Association of Utah conference, I had the opportunity to see a lot of people in one room with the same frustrating problem: brain injury. The doctor in the hospital told us "The brain is very unforgiving." It has been so interesting for me to learn about brain injuries. For example with my Dad, he cannot read. He can write but cannot read. Doesn't make much sense, right? I always thought if you can write you can read. Nope! The area where his brain is damaged (actually where there is a hole now) is, among other things, his reading center. The writing hard drive in the brain is in one area, the reading in another. What makes brain injuries more interesting and confusing to me, is the fact that a lot of people with TBI's (traumatic brain injury) actually know the problem they have. My Dad is fully aware that he can't read. He knows the process for learning to read, he knows that he used to do it but he just can't do it! At the BIAU conference a woman said her task center had been damaged. She said that when all her clothes get dirty, she is fully aware they need to be cleaned. She knows she needs to put on clean clothes and she knows she wants to look good. But she can't tell herself to do laundry. Her solution? Buy more clothes!
I just don't understand brains. I started to read a book the hospital gave us, intended for family members of hemorrhagic stroke survivors. By page three, I had a headache. Literally. And I sincerely thank our God that He made some people able to understand them. That person is not me.
At the BIAU conference I really began to feel more like giving people the benefit of the doubt. I felt more grateful for the Savior's wise words to us to "judge not". These TBI survivors I met with appear to be fully functioning individuals. But as I have interacted with some, I realize many of their mannerisms and quirks are the exact ones that I may have been annoyed or upset about, had I had no knowledge of the TBI. With my Dad in the TBI survivor group now, I sure appreciate people who will just show more love and more patience. People who will believe that we are all just doing the best we can. Isn't that a nice thing to believe about people? I know I am grateful when people will believe that about me too! I want to do better at that myself and it is something I work on daily.