Tea and sympathy

Instead of my weekly kung fu lesson on Monday, I had to settle for a chat over tea and toast with my instructor, Neil, as I was not feeling well enough to risk exercising. Nothing wrong with that as we managed in a few short clear words to put the World to rights and plan my kung fu come back. Nothing wrong with a touch of tea and sympathy occasionally.

Not doing the lesson was a real bore after weeks of feeling increasingly well and normal after over a year of recuperation from my brain haemorrhage.

It was a silly thing I suspect. On Sunday, as described in yesterday’s blog I took a walk up to the top of Mount Harry, one of the hills that over-looks my home town of Lewes in Southern England. I was feeling good so I set off up the hill with unaccustomed vigour. Almost immediately this was rewarded with a bad feeling in my head. I felt as if all the veins from my neck to my brain were congested and the pressure forced me to slow down and, when I got to the top, to sit down on a bench for a bit to try and recover.

I only go on about this because it is firstly so frustrating but also it shows just how complex and slow it can be recovering from brain injuries. My neurologist had warned me that if I did make a complete recovery it would take about two years – a horrifying prediction at the time but one that has proven accurate. I had to go to bed when I got home and didn’t really feel normal again until yesterday.

I know that a lot of you will be thinking oh God when will he stop going on about that brain haemorrhage! That is why I write this. I am not the only one who suffers from impatience and I quite understand it if other people have long lost interest in what started out in my case as quite a dramatic story. I am lucky here I think as family and friends have been surprizingly patient. Us, so-called Traumatic Brain Injury Survivors, can be hard work at times I think. After the first year, the novelty value has worn off as a topic for dinner table discussion and there isn’t a lot to show, in my lucky case anyway, except the occasional drop in morale and a few stammering sentences.

It was, on Sunday, a question of more haste less speed and I hope I have learnt my lesson. Luckily I was feeling well enough to return to the gym yesterday where I am on a training regime which is designed to take me gradually back to aerobic fitness. Ricardo, my therapeutic personal trainer, like Neil, my kung fu instructor, have both concentrated on a gradual build up of strength. Both of them have spotted that gradual is not one of my favourite words but they insist and I have tried to be a good patient – honestly.

Sunday was a lesson to me though. I realize that I will not suddenly be cured, that two year prognosis was almost certainly right, and that on this long road back to fitness, I sometimes have to listen to wiser councils than my own. Those weights machines might be a touch on the boring side but they are easily controlled and your effort can be measured scientifically so, for the time being, I am going to stick to this most sensible of routines interspersed with my kung fu patterns. My patience has returned.


  1. Hello Colin

    I had insomnia the other night and was about to start wallowing in self pity over my knee injury – I thought of you and what you had been through and had a word with myself. I don't think I'm the only one who is impressed with how you have coped.

    See you soon. Liz

  2. Thanks a lot Liz – hope your knee does get sorted out soon. It has been a long time I know and that is one of the most difficult things about recovery – having the patience to keep seeing over the horizon.

  3. It would be easy if we did not get bored but your both not that way.
    I to had two and half years of bad knees that collapsed when I did not listen to my body and it was hard but as with you guys what is the other choice!! I don't think any of us are the giving up type.
    Plus it actually taught me so much about me in the end. Oh and now they are better than ever 😉

    Cheers Neil.

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