Inferior senses corrupted by brain injury

As some insight to myself after my brain injury returned, I started to notice that some of my senses seemed different. Once you have got over the elation of being alive, and returning home, many start to feel the changes.

With a brain injury it takes time to see your senses are different.

First I had to accept my sense of balance was off kilter. I was clumsy, and would fall over easily. Muscle weakness on my left side did nothing to help this. Through specific exercises I have been able to improve my strength, but my balance still isn’t good. So I have to be careful. When going up and down the stairs I make sure I hold on to the hand rail to steady myself. Sounds obvious, but I used to just run up the stairs. I didn’t give  a second thought to grabbing the rail for safety.How your senses can be affected after brain injury

Next I realised  my sense of touch was affected. I couldn’t identify things that touched my left side. Instead my leg had altered sensation, and would report pain. My left leg would be in  agony as cold or unexpected items touched it. A sharp, painful, stabbing sensation would hit me. But this may have been nerve damage rather than my brain injury as such. But even if I stoked the cat with my left hand I could only sense pressure, not the texture of his fur. That was so disappointing for me.

Smells started to affect me, and I would suddenly be hit by really offensive odours.  But as I didn’t as ways shout “something stinks“, I didn’t know I was the only one smelling them. So it did take time to realise that: at best I was over sensitive, at worst I was imagining it.

My sense of taste was affected for while too. I had always had a pretty plain palate, but suddenly I wanted spicy food. Otherwise things didn’t seem to have any flavour. The idea of forcing myself to eat tasteless food was uninviting, particularly as my appetite was already diminished. My partner James would buy lots of different things to try to encourage me to eat more. (Now though, as my taste has returned I eat far too much. I’m such a little piggy!)

Senses that have changed after brain injury

Realising my sight was affected by my brain injury was the most difficult and upsetting. I would see double, which when you can’t balance well spells disaster. Effectively I couldn’t do anything. My coordination was rubbish, but when you can’t be sure where the thing you are looking at is, it’s virtually impossible.

People are the real challenge when you are struggling with your senses.

When I could walk well enough to ditch my crutch I was proud of myself. But I still limped badly, and was very slow. However losing the crutch symbolised progress for me, so I was pleased to be rid of it. What I hadn’t appreciated is, a crutch is something visual, and told strangers not to expect too much of me. So when I started going out without it, the fast paced, impatient modern world virtually knocked me over.

The world is always being told to be assertive. That seems to have evolved into a mildly aggressive population, who just walk at you, not round you. I feel like I’m a pin trying to cheat a bowling ball. The conundrum is people need to stop rushing me, but I don’t want to be labelled as disabled.

Poor senses after brain injury

So perhaps that means I still have some way to go to accept my current position. Or perhaps that is fighting spirit. It depends on your perspective, but  prefer the latter. I still like to believe I will continue to better myself. My brain injury makes me hampered, but I am still able.

How has your brain injury affected your senses? Do you feel the difference in your senses holds you back?

 
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One Reply to “Inferior senses corrupted by brain injury”

  1. Senses overload! I seemed to have gained new super powers in my senses. Everything is brighter, noisier, smelly, taster, in fact everything seems over stimulating.
    Food, well everything placed in front of me to eat seems to be the most delicious thing I have ever eaten, so I always clear my plate, this hasn’t been good for my waistline. I seem to have a better nose than any dog and constantly are asking ‘ have you washed today?’ I smell sweat, ‘ you need to go and clean your teeth’, ‘ is something burning’? I suppose I could be a bit insulting, strong odours like deodorant or perfumes feel like I am being suffocated and can’t get my breath, wow that’s strong ! Phew.
    The brightness I combat with sunglasses, on they come, in the supermarket, in shops, sun or rain. Everything looks brighter, newly decorated, colours more rich and vibrant. Christmas lights and shiny things are becoming very uncomfortable at the moment.
    Noise is one of the worst stimulants for me, super hearing, I can hear the buzz from the fridge, the tv on standby, every creak in the house, my husbands breathing!!!! And tapping, it seems most men like to tap and tap or have a jiggling leg. It’s taken a while to try to get past all those niggles, my poorly brain can’t seem to concentrate on any conversation while a jiggling, tapping or cracking is going on.
    You see I look ok on the outside, people’s perspective of me is that I am over it, I made it through surgery. I survived. My reality is so different, chaos and over stimulation is my daily battle, some days I conquer it, other days I have to switch off everything and hide away. Having these new super powers can be a massive hindrance but also you notice so much more, the details of this amazing world we live in and how before my brain injury it was overlooked. Perspective versus reality !

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