When I know I have something particular happening the next day I plan ahead. I make sure I get plenty of sleep that night, and have everything organised. This always used to work for me before. It meant I would be ready with my “A game” and be on top form. Naturally I still needed a good cup of tea to help me on my way. But soon I’d be on my marks, primed for the off. However my brain injury turned all that on it’s head, leaving me exhausted.
Fatigue isn’t something you can just snap out of.
I was going to the National Pet Show. If you follow me on Twitter you might have seen some pictures I was tweeting of Dexter, my Bengal. They said they were going to display visitors pet photos, so I wanted my little hero up there. But they did nothing of the sort, I was duped into advertising for them. However it demonstrated my excitement. I had been the previous year to the event in Birmingham, and had an amazing time. This year I was going to London, as it’s more local for me. And I imagined everything is always better in the capital, so this would be a show stopper.
But from the moment I woke up I was exhausted, both mentally and physically. I don’t have an explanation for why, only that my brain injury has a mind of it’s own. My partner James spotted it immediately and kept suggesting maybe we shouldn’t go. But I had been looking forward to this for ages. The brain injury wasn’t going to beat me this time.
Travelling when you’re exhausted is a nightmare.
We drove to a tube station where at the weekend there is free parking near by. Even on this leg of the journey I was struggling to keep my eyes open. I couldn’t hold a conversation as that took brain power I just didn’t have. James was chauffeur, but still noticed I was spent. But I ploughed on and we began the tube journey the to Excel centre.
As the London underground is quieter at the weekend than it is during the week I was coping. But I felt like I was existing instead of living. It went down hill when we changed at Canning Town to get the Docklands Light Railway or DLR. (The DLR is still part of the underground, except it’s overground without being “The Overground line”. Confused?)
These trains are one long beast. The carriages are joined by sections which can twist and turn with the track, whilst allowing it to be wall free between the carriages. This part of the journey was the busiest, as the Excel centre always gets good attendance when it holds events.
So as we tried to find a space, we found ourselves standing in one these connecting sections. But I didn’t notice I had one foot in the carriage, and one on the twisting floor. I stood, hanging on to a hanging strap for standing passengers. Next to me was some guy who smelt like he hadn’t had a wash for a week. As he too was hanging on a strap, but was taller than me, my nose was almost in one of the offending armpits. The odour was over powering that even when the train started moving, I still couldn’t sense my legs were moving in different directions. I was thrown all over the place. I survived, but if I hadn’t been so exhausted I don’t think I would have made this error. Thankfully, no one was hurt.
Adrenaline is like making a pact with the devil.
Once inside I loaded up on coffee. And the excitement of seeing the amazing creatures got my adrenaline going. Soon I was more like me, and was pleased I’d come. Although I would say in my opinion Birmingham did it better than London. They created a better environment and atmosphere, but the birds and animals were what I came for.
But whilst adrenaline gives a welcome boost, it comes at a price. Days after the event I’m still exhausted. All it means is you have energy up front, but like a loan shark it makes you pay with interest. You pay for it many times over.
So should I have continued, or stayed at home and rest? Life is for living, and whilst I’m feeling down and out now, you have to make to most of things. Life is too short to just live in the safe, boring zone forever. Just be prepared for a prolonged visit to the safe, boring zone after the excitement is over.
To find out more about how adrenaline can affect you, read Stress has a big impact on brain injury
If you know your brain injury will leave you exhausted do you give fun things a miss?