Testing the Assumption

The assumption I am talking about suggests that my mind broke so spectacularly and was injured so grievously and often that the latest tests would find a highway with big red signs and huge arrows pointing to the zones of interest. We do not test for most brain injuries yet. If you are in a car accident and awake slobbering and with the attention span of a goldfish the hospital finds it reasonable to assume you have some brain injury and treats you accordingly. Because the injury is recent there may be signs in the scans but there may not. It is a lot like back injuries. If a sportsperson has rubbery legs and their eyes are rolling in their sockets they may have a concussion. If they are unconscious they may be taken off the field. Otherwise they get a pat on the backside and become a momentary traffic hazard for both teams. I once kicked an “own goal” after being concussed and blinded by a high tackle playing for Pennant HillsĀ  Australian Rules Football Club. If a boxer’s intelligence suddenly drops to the point where he is being outsmarted by chickens nobody cares much. He has become a bit “punchy”. It is expected and certainly nobody expects the testing of his brain. We dont have a machine. We do. There is a new one that is starting to be used to test really well-paid sports people. We did not have one of those

From Nigerian Bulletin

The clarity and strength of the test results were a little disappointing. The neurologist explained that they were really set up for testing people to see if they had dementia. It is all a bit new to be worrying about years of physical damage in a culture where slurred speech and scarred visages were signs of a man’s man. Between the pollution, the work injuries and the sporting injuries men of some social levels were expected to die young.

The tests were not a total waste of time. They showed an inability to concentrate and to maintain paths of thought that indicated frontal lobe damage. The mess they found in the MRI scan indicated years of head trauma. There was not evidence of the absolute crash in intellect and comprehension that occurred when I was injured. I have rebuilt my intellect several times with very intense and disciplined efforts and I had hoped the changes to the brain when it repaired neural pathways would have been evident in some way. I had hoped to get conclusive evidence of a horror that lasted years and which I still battle. The lack of ability to concentrate is something that has resurfaced and I suspect is the result more of “sick-house-syndrome” than new brain injury. It is destroying my ability to make art

The disability worker took me to the big mall so I could try and find some trousers to buy. What I wanted was soft and slightly baggy cargo pants. What I found was that we can buy jeans or we can buy a kind of universal pant that is the same in every store except some are lined and possibly a better sewing job. I feel like a moth constantly butting my head against a light globe. I know I have been looking for this pair of pants for years. Over a decade ago I found a pair at a men’s store that no longer exists. I didn’t think they were an odd or difficult style. They are fairly basic I thought. Anyway. The carer kept telling me she only bought clothes at Kmart. When I dared look at a pair for ninety dollars she almost grabbed my arm to drag me away. She repeated again and again how expensive she felt that was and in the end I growled at her and told her to shut up. I explained that I do without things so I can buy clothes that are comfortable and last well. She kept looking at me and walking towards the door while I was running my hands over another pair. I had a dog that used to do that. I realized that she was struggling with the fact that she had been a single mum who was forced to buy cheap things for her kids. I know it sucks. I am broke too. I just prioritize differently.

It happens a lot. The carers and others seem to take offense that I buy some thing of quality. One was offended that I spent two hundred dollars on a half-price feather-down quilt. I didn’t understand her outrage. I have almost nothing. I live in a tiny shit hole without friends or recreation or family. I do not have a dog nor can I have a car. Maybe I am oversensitive

On arriving home I finally got to test the Oxygen supply and see if it helped when I was in real pain and exhausted. It lifted my Oxygen levels about 5% and my pulse which was up around a hundred beats dropped by thirty percent. I had that thing we all get when we are tired and my vision was decreasing into a point as I lost the ability to concentrate. That cleared back to a sharp visual image immediately and the normal round of bitter cramps that occur after I have bruised and wracked my feet did not happen. It is only the first time but it looks good.

I started to work on a big graphite drawing of a Bamboo Dragon but have been forced to stop because there isnt any space. This journal was meant to be a triumphant story of my path back to being a working artist but we seem to be recording the fall deeper into poverty. People are trying their absolute best to give me the health outcomes and the conditions I need to thrive but this apartment and regimentation of the tenants is a killer of everything we try while i am here. Unless I can change the grip investors have on housing legislation I am trapped here until I die. And I cannot do it alone. What a boring human I have become.

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