ABI

All posts tagged ABI

Who Am I?

Published September 13, 2021 by helentastic67

Who am I?

My name is Helen, I started blogging in 2015. Since then, I’ve written over 600+ blog posts and acquired over 280 followers all around the world.

I’ve really let my blog speak for itself and not really marketed myself in any commercial way to gain a larger following.

Pre-Covid I was sharing three posts a week. Hellonwheels, is me doing brain injury differently. I’ve had my brain injury for over 48 years, only learning I even had my Arterial Venous Malformation (AVM) at aged 34 when I was really stressed, as a result of workplace bullying. After diagnosis and treatment, I have been left with stroke like symptoms.

It’s not easy being a high-functioning Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) and it’s even harder to explain. I have a good memory, a love for music and food – things some people with brain injuries can’t enjoy.

I’m a single-barren spinster, often including further descriptions, straight and fucking fussy!

I have strong opinions, which may or may not appeal to everyone. This is why I include stories of my past, little moments of life, foodie posts and beautiful things from nature. 

Life is short and often few moments or opportunities go past, so I try to share the ones that I have.

I hope you will take a moment to look up Like, Share and Follow. 

Victim Blaming

Published February 15, 2019 by helentastic67

Victim Blaming

Victim Blaming

There is a weird form of victim blaming, I believe I suffer from, just because I have an ABI. Now, I’m not talking about the version I get all the time of the looks that tell me I’ve somehow bought this predicament upon myself, but the one where something goes missing from my home and I suspect a carer to have helped herself.

Not my fault

My mum will grill me in a form of interrogation, that perhaps I didn’t have it where I thought I had left something.

Interrogation

Do I know when I used it last? Yes, I have an example: –

Earlier this year my Japanese designed letter opener which, while plastic was in the design of a fish. While not expensive, it took a lifetime to find and as it was really ‘neat’ I kept it on my bookcase, o I didn’t have to go looking for it. I could go to the bookcase, hold the letters I wanted to open between my hip and the desk, one-handed, I could use the letter opener with great efficiency then put it back on the bookcase.

bookcase

Job Done.

Job Done

Question Time

Published January 4, 2019 by helentastic67

question time

Question Time

If you are not at all familiar with ABI/TBI or even disability, let me give you a very simple piece of advice. Never, ever, ever bombard someone with questions without time to answer. Actually, that’s relevant to decent human behaviour, however it’s even more important to people with an ABI or simply a disability.

one question at a time

Now, I’m very lucky I think and process quickly, however it’s not normal for anybody with a brain injury.

My mum has been known to ask a question when helping me move house and by the second question, I answer with a further “Yes, No, No, Yes, No” and she will ask “what are they for?” to which I inform her “Your next three questions. We laugh and all is well.

answer mums question

However, it’s common someone else I’m related to who doesn’t spend much time with me will throw a question at me. (Note; How I’ve kept writing this topic? Because what the hell, my family don’t read my blog anyway.) I suspect that’s common for a lot of bloggers.

stupid question

Moving into an apartment has meant over the winter I will need to rely on a clothes dryer to get things dry and I don’t have one.  I’ve already upgraded my washing machine to a brand-new front loader, so I use less water and it spins better. I now need a dryer which will sit directly on top.

washer dryer

‘Someone’ stated to me. “You probably don’t need one.” Then proceeded to attempt to convince me I could visit a laundromat and rather than wait for me to explain how that just couldn’t work, I am assaulted with reasoning and assaulted with reason’s why going to the laundromat with a pile of clothes, towels, sheets, heavy blankets (they wouldn’t go in the dryer).

laurndromat

Eventually, when this person paused to take a breath, I pointed out I would injure my back carrying a plastic tub of heavy damp items. In reality, I would have trouble getting it out of my apartment as the door is heavy and awkward.

apartment door 1

I would need to put it down to dig out my swipe card to use in the lift. Again, putting down my laundry basket (these days a square plastic cube) and picking it up again. Once on the ground floor, I have to press a button to close the entrance door, then get the door open, pick up the cube and get outside.

laundry basket

Did I mention, I use a walking stick when out? Do I need to finish describing the ludicrous mess (is that a word) of that suggestion?

walking stick 1

Sometimes, family will do their very best to convince you of another way so you don’t need to spend that money. They don’t need to help you do ‘that’ thing and then they don’t feel inadequate or pressed to fit you in their lives.

family assistance

It’s great to be loved.

to be loved

Favourite Things

Published December 14, 2018 by helentastic67

Favourite things

Favourite Things

I would think this would be common for all people with an ABI, but people don’t realise the emphasis and importance on ‘sleep’.

Importance of sleep

So, I seriously think my top five favourite things would be;

  1. Sleep
  2. Sleep
  3. Sleep
  4. Sleep
  5. Sleep

Sleep

Ok, but seriously, in no particular order.

  1. Sleep
  2. Food
  3. Cooking
  4. Coffee/cup of tea
  5. TV

No Particular order

Oh, I know I cheated, putting two together, but I had to keep room for having a cat, which still didn’t fit.

Having a cat

Looking back over my life, the way I often dealt with stressful times, I would sleep.

Life

Damn it and internet.

Internet

When Disability Becomes Embarrassing – Part 2

Published September 21, 2018 by helentastic67

When Disability Becomes Embarrassing Part 2

When Disability Becomes Embarrassing – Part 2

WTF!

And he thrust a microphone into my face and had sweet Jesus! What just happened?

I looked at Stacey and pointed a finger at her saying “I’ll kill you later!”

I'm gonna kill you

I think she already realised her error. Fred would learn later the following day. Sometimes I’m very grateful I think quickly on my feet, quite literally and despite my ABI I have not been slowed down too much.

Quick Wit

Oh, Fred had or myself, I can’t recall, had suggested all those single guys looking for love to stand up.

Looking for love

Are you feeling my pain right now?

I started to speak and address the room. I asked for all the guys with an ABI or anyone not with-in a stones throw of Melbourne to have a seat. I explained I have an ABI and I couldn’t for see two people with brain injuries residing under the same roof successfully as I have proven on more than one occasion and as I would eventually like to see a relationship, I am in the future to be.

Dating

I confess to say; many seats were taken and the room got rather still and quiet again. I finished my ‘forced’ situation by saying “being single and dating with an ABI/disability is not easy.”

Dating isn't easu

I think I thanked everyone for participating in the brief experiment. I handed back the microphone to Fred who looked a little deflated.

Deflated

He announced again, that there were single ladies at our table if anyone wanted to come and introduce themselves. Some did.

Introduce yourselves

And that someone was someone I knew from the ABI GROUP I WENT TO IN Melbourne. Now, he doesn’t live in Melbourne, he walked around the table and delivered all the hot chicks (OK that’s exaggerating) a business card.

Business cards

I looked up at him and growled ‘What are you doing?’ and while a bit older than I, I would not want him dating my mother.

Worst date

So, you might wonder about Stacey? Yeah, she wasn’t single, but the next day.

Stacey

Email Madness

Published August 27, 2018 by helentastic67

Email madness

Email Madness

There are many problems with being part of ABI groups for your social/advocacy/empowering blah de blah, or any disability group maybe.

ABI Groups

I’m really loathe to do the “Reply-all” option on emails. I avoid it at all costs. Because sooner or later one complete fuckwit does “Replay-all” and I get an email saying this – “That’s such a cool font. What is it?”

reply-all-fart

And I have to take a deep breath when I’m thinking “Why do I need to know that? C’mon!”

Sometimes, these are the problems that seem first world problems, but for me with my high functioning ABI, I can’t help it.

First world problem

Delete, move on.

Delete and Move on

Work for the Dole – Part 2

Published July 20, 2018 by helentastic67

Work for the Dole Part 2

Work for the Dole – Part 2

When I worked in Work for the Dole, also nicknamed by many as Work for the Coffee Scroll (amongst others) and when I would deal with clients, I often had to talk fast to deliver information, ask questions, head off their “Oh poor me” “reactionary responses.”

Oh Poor Me

The method to which I would do HR (Human Resources) for example went like this;

“What kind of work have you done previously? Study, training?”

“What kind of work do you want to do in the future?”

Now, I hit them quickly with these questions because in my area, the north of Melbourne at the time (2003-2005) many of my clients were lucky to have finished Year 12, which is the end of High School.

Finish school

I don’t know about everywhere else in the world or the history in the world but completing Year 12 alone doesn’t set anybody up for much in life.

The answers I would often be given was that they had experience as a gardener (lawn mowing, etc) but they didn’t want to do anymore gardening as they complained of a bad back and they had no preference what kind of work they wanted to do.

Gardening

Now, I was good at my job (yes, I’m bragging) but I couldn’t pluck a job or career out of nothing. They needed to give me something and I can guarantee “those clients” were still doing gardening and getting paid cash. Which they were not paying tax or declaring to Centrelink, which would have in time meant they wouldn’t be required to do Woke for the Dole.

Working for cash

So, on this particular day, this client was very slow in answering and no matter the questions I asked, he couldn’t seem to get his head around what I want of him. I worked it out that he needed me to speak slower and ask one question at a time. It was a very slow and painful process, probably more for him than me, as it turns out. He spoke very slowly and haltering.

Speak slower

I later debriefed Frank that the client might have had a car accident or fried his brain on drugs. I knew neither at the time nor did I know much of anything to do with ABI/TBI/etc.

ABI TBI

What I was able to work out from his answers, was he had experience in gardening, but wanted to be a mechanic. He lived miles from anywhere but would ride his bike to any work I found for him. (He also didn’t want to do gardening) but I had to be creative as there were little if any Not for Profit’s in the area so much was his isolation to anything really. Any wonder he couldn’t find work.

Mechanic

So, I got on the phone and asked questions of people, made some new friends and found my young client a placement. Winning! Again, keep in mind, limited options.

I found him a little placement doing some gardening around a monument on the edge of the road. An older gentleman was to keep an eye on him. He wasn’t to baby sit him but monitor him several times over the two days (15 hours) per week and make sure he knocked off each day at an appropriate time.

Gardening Monument

It was probably an easy task for him and rather quiet and lonely, but I also think it was what he needed at the time, knowing what I know now.

Frank told me later, not having done the interview with the client but being told by the person who did that, he had huge scars on his skull and I imagine he probably shouldn’t have been required to do anymore than take time out and “recover”. But anyway, that did not happen.

Recovery time

One day, some time later, I was in the outer office with the two other ladies that worked there, this particular day, Frank was working from his office. He called out

“Hey Helen?”

“Yes Frank?”

“I love you”

I love you

Thinking What? “Sexual harassment in the work place? What is this?”

Now, to say all those things, would be an injustice. Frank is a nice, married man, Italian Catholic man with two young children (at the time) and I knew he wasn’t creepy. So, I call back,

“I love you too Frank”

I looked around at the two other women and they gave nothing away and I got up and stuck my head around the door into his office. It would seem that client I had worked really hard to get him a placement, they had helped the guy out and helped him get an apprenticeship as a mechanic.

Apprentice mechanic

Now, clients would come and go.

Work for the Dole – Part 1

Published July 16, 2018 by helentastic67

Work for the Dole

Work for the Dole – Part 1

My biggest lesson on how to best communicate with people with an ABI and how people best communicate with me, I learned before I was diagnosed.

Communicate with ABI 1

I was doing some casual work, I guess as a Consultant. This is when I went to work for my friend Frank at his NFP (Not for Profit). He would organise a day for himself out on the road, so I could work in his office.

Share office

Normally, he would give me some forms that were somewhat filled in and I would make some calls and solve the problems. The problems I solved were to match clients all over Victoria with hosts for them to perform their voluntary obligation, also referred to as ‘Work for the Dole.’

Problem solverPr

I had to take into account Frank liked a challenge because the clients he provided his service for might live in the country side and live miles from anywhere. Which is often why Jobnetwork (JNM’S) would funnel their difficult clients into these projects. That’s where I come in.

Country Victoria 1

Frank on this particular day pointed to a white board on the office wall. Now, I don’t mean to brag, but I was good at the talky, talky, walkie, walkie thing, so I confess I tuned out. But I recall him saying as he pointed to the board “This one’s important” and Frank left. I swear, I just recall how he waved at a name on the whiteboard and he was gone. I know here were words, but I figured “whatever I’ll look at his file and five him a call.” No drama!

No Drama

There was drama.

Drama

To be continued.

Professionalism

Published July 13, 2018 by helentastic67

Professionalism

Professionalism

I confess to say, I don’t always come across like a complete num-nut, which is the assumption that all people with brain injuries can’t think for themselves, can’t process or understand and definitely can’t communicate or participate in social or business or “whatever” family?

Num nut

A few weeks ago, I rang an organisation that deals only with people with brain injuries. I’ve had some dealings with them in the past, however as their primary business/funding, is people with drug or alcohol ABI’s, my dealings have been limited.

ABI

As they also do some ‘housing,’ I’ve recently put in an application. I then attempted to follow it up. I rang, left a message, more than a week ago and when I rang, I came across so professionally on the phone, they thought I was a Case Manager. Ironic, much!

Case Manager

I was a little surprised and startled, I took my time answering her first question, “was I the client?” To which I did answer ‘Yes’, but because she didn’t hear me. She hit me with a barrage of questions. So, I went silent and she thought I’d hung up on her. Now I know I have a brain injury, but she works at an ABI company and all the people she would deal with on the phone could be in some way affected by an ABI.

Too many questions

So, at times, please one question at a friggin time.

Questions

To be continued.

Blame

Published January 29, 2018 by helentastic67

Blame

Blame

I’m not sure if it’s just Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) or the whole disability, but I find I get blamed for all kids in my family or even just my home. I’ve had some new carers of late and one is my new Saturday/Sunday lady. She wouldn’t come for less than 90 minutes, so I figured I could make it work by giving her some odd cleaning jobs.

Clean fridge

Nothing major, but on a Saturday, I’ve asked her to clean a shelf in the fridge (it will be all clean eventually) and other things that rarely get done (cleaning the cutlery drawer or cleaning the front of the kitchen cupboards). The second Saturday, after washing went on the line, I know she didn’t do any of the other tasks as she had found the new foodie magazine on the dining room table.

Magazine on table

She commented to me I really liked cooking and Donna Hay’s recipes were easy. When I remarked to my mum, she said it was my fault, I left the magazine out on the table.

Donna Hay

The message was rather scathing, I didn’t know where else I was to have put it, in my own home…

It’s my home, I don’t leave out bills, cash, bank statements. I’m wondering if anyone else experiences this?

I can’t wait until I get my next Neuro psych, I’ve had countless, but my mum is insisting on being there next time. (pointless/counterproductive) and she wants to be there for the debrief.

Psych

She says it’s so she can better understand my ABI, but I know it’s going to lead to me better understanding my behaviour and then changing it to suit the family.

Behaviour

Nearly fell over on the tram today, Yes! It was the day I was carrying that darn cool-bag, but still number 1.

Why do people who don’t fit the criteria to take up those seats with signage stating they are for people who are elderly, disabled or pregnant. While I’m here, can pregnant ladies not sit in my seat in their first trimester. Please! You just look a little fat, sorry. Save it until you’re nine months pregnant.

Disability seating

Today, I wriggled up by asking a young woman to hold my walking stick, being weighed down by both my bags. It took an effort to push myself up.

I put my hand on the wall behind the driver’s cabin and had to balance so as not to fall backwards when the tram lurched forward. I stumbled and a woman behind me to the right, screamed out that I had trodden on her foot.

Stepping on toes

She dropped the F* Bomb to describe how much it hurt. I muttered an apology, but I had struggled to remain upright and had thrown my right hand up and grabbled the headrail. The woman holding my stick looked at me concerned, I think she wondered when to give me the stick and I had to wait for the tram to stop. I will often lean my shoulder or hip against that wall of the driver’s cabin to get my balance.

Falling over

I had to ignore the woman who complained I’d hurt her foot. I had apologised and I think her feet weren’t anywhere near her seat and she hadn’t realised how precarious my situation had been nor did she care.

I did notice she didn’t look like she had any of the pre-requisites of taking up those seats.

I don’t know how I’m supposed to fix this situation…

fixing it

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