It’s already starting. Arizona state senator Frank Antenori is pushing Rep. Gabrielle Gillords to say if she is planning to run for reelection. (see article in Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/19/gabrielle-giffords-reelection-frank-antenori_n_931155.html) Of course she isn’t required to file until May 15 but politics can be ugly business. Huffinton Post wrote, “Speculation on Giffords‘ future has buzzed since her surprise return to Congress to cast her first vote since the Jan. 8 shooting… Her return to vote on the debt ceiling deal was celebrated as proof she could possibly return full time to politics.”
I don’t know if she’s going to be able to return full time to politics again or not. She probably doesn’t know and neither do her doctors. I remember when I was injured in 1996, I assumed I would be able to return to full-time ministry. Every day brought more improvements and I was hopeful. I remember walking around a pond with my physical therapist trying to get used to an uneven pavement. I remember speaking various words over and over again, trying to speak as clearly as possible. I remember painting ceramic objects which helped me learn to use my hands again. I remember playing hang-man and other word games as my word finding skills improved.
It was, and is, a long process. When I was first injured, I was told it takes two years for most improvements to be made. I remember hanging on to that rule. Two years stretched into three, five and then ten years. Yes, many of my huge improvements happened during those first few years, but I will always continue to improve. It wasn’t until a few years after my injury when I realized (awareness) I would never be a full time minister again. However, I still can do some pastor like activities. I must be selective and it’s a “trial and error” sort of thing to learn what those activities are.
This brings me back to Gabrielle Giffords. She’s having to go through this awareness process in the public eye – in the crazy circus of politics. I can only imagine how difficult this is. This was hard enough without having to have my every move commented about in the newspaper. I am grateful for my husband’s advocacy for I wasn’t able to do it for myself.
I have my doubts about her ability to return but that is neither here nor there. She needs to come to this awareness herself. Another important factor is, every brain injury is different and I try not judge another survivor’s choices. Traumatic Brain Injury doesn’t fit into nice categories and it really is a “trial and error” sort of thing.
If you are a survivor, what’s sort of things have you had to try? Did they work? See above right for commenting instructions but note that at this time I cannot comment myself due to a technical glitch. Know that I read every one. If you’d like to contact me directly, write firstname.lastname@example.org