Monday, July 26, 2010

Army Wives- Part 2

Continuing from yesterday's post on Army Wives' depiction of a Traumatic Brain Injury.
Episode 13

Joan is working on her memory by using flash cards. She says she feels like she's back in elementary school. Roland tells her she has to "walk before she can run"

Later on, Joan is going stir crazy and has a need to exercise.  She says that for other injuries she could work it out, but regarding her brain "she can't just get on a treadmill and push past the pain". She says' that "I've been stuck in this house all afternoon, I'm going out"
 Her husband objects "Exercise can interfere with your healing".  This is very hard to stomach if you've led an active life.

 Joan heads out to jog. And this is where the story was too familiar for me.... she got lost. I can't tell you the panic I had when I first got lost. I was in tears. I never got lost, what was going on?  She ends up calling the Sergeant (who recently regained his ability to drive) to help her out. He picks her up.  Joan-"sorry to bother you, you're the only person I know who understands. I got lost a mile from my own house... I expect more from myself".   note- I got lost in an airport. I was getting a juice two gates away, and had no idea where I was. Talk about re-assessing.

A lot of the her story is focused on taking it easy to recover from her injury. In the military, the commonly accepted form of rehabilitation is to push through it, and if you aren't pushing hard enough, you aren't going to get better... which leads me to another storyline that's telling in it's juxtaposition. There is a daughter of an officer who went through knee surgery. She is sad because she's not getting better, and that doesn't bode well for her ice hockey.  Her father takes her out, tells her to push through it, and has her run up and down stairs. A lot. His quote "She's not gonna improve if she doesn't push herself".  She does end up getting better.

And now back to Joan
On why she doesn't want to go to a military gathering-
 she's on convalescent leave, and feels like she is failing/ being weak. When her troops look at her, there aren't any outward signs of her injury, leaving the viewer to question what's wrong with her (invisible disability, common problem).  She notes that when there were stitches on her face, it was easy to see and understand (sometimes, I wish I still had my black eye and stitches for this very reason).
Honestly, I would not have gone to the event simply because there would be too many things going on, too many people talking- conversations are sometimes hard to follow.  And if there's an inkling that I will be stressed out in any way, it's best to avoid the situation and meltdown that most often follows. This event would be like running a marathon on a sprained ankle. Stresses the brain too much.

There will be more to the story, and I am interested in watching how it pans out.  I guess I'm happy that someone is taking a thoughtful look at brain injury.
There is a page with a bit of information about brain injury on the Army Wives site.

photo by izqrdo on flickr.   
photo by jillyspoon on flickr

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