Saturday, April 20, 2013

The New Normal

I don't know if all y'all have heard about David Farland and his son, Ben.  David is a writer - mostly fantasy, as far as I know, and some good books on writing.  His son, Ben, was in a terrible accident recently.  Apparently, he was longboarding (a form of skateboarding with a longer board) without his helmet, and he fell going down a big hill.  Needless to say, Ben's in bad shape*.

And also needless to say, Ben suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Of course, his injuries are much worse than mine - both body and brain.  But still, seeing the posts his father makes every day on Facebook, remind me of what my own time was like. 

It was 19 years ago for me.  And sometimes, it's like it was yesterday.  Some days are good and I'm pretty much like most non-damaged people.  Other days, I can't remember shit.  Sometimes it has to do with how tired I am.  Sometimes it has to do with how much other shit is going on in my life.  (Believe it or not, sometimes when everything is going on, I remember better than when nothing is going on.)  I can't gauge what days will be good or bad.  They just are what they are. 

This is my new normal.

And it'll be Ben's, too.  Once he 'wakes up' into his head - or if he's already awake in there, he's dealing with his new normal now.  I hope his deficiencies are few, and that what he does wind up with, he can handle.  Having a family that cares helps.  Having a whole community of writers be supportive of the whole family can't hurt.

I've already advised David to locate a good therapy provider.  And he's already said it's high on his priority list - which is good.  So much more knowledge is available out there for TBI survivors and their families than there used to be.  Hell, a bunch of the people I was in outpatient therapy with didn't even know they needed help - until they realized it wasn't normal to be that forgetful, or have their emotions spike, or be that clumsy (depending on the effected part of the brain).

Now, I also saw someone tell him to watch that Regarding Henry movie with Harrison Ford so he'd get an idea of what they'll be facing.  Umm, no.  I hated that movie because it was unrealistic.  I had a friend in therapy who was a lawyer before she got hit by a car.  She couldn't just step back into her practice.  They made her 'pass' therapy, and then she was told she'd have to retake the BAR EXAM.  Which is hard enough for non-injured people.  I can't imagine trying to pass it after a head injury.  (And I never found out what happened there, so I can't tell you she beat the odds.)  You want a head injury movie to watch - try 50 First Dates.  Sure, it has it's unrealistic parts (it's an Adam Sandler movie for petesakes), but that scene where she finds out what happened to her.  It wrecks me every time, because it is so realistic.  Her pain is my pain.

The only other advice I have for David at this point is: Take it one day at a time.  That's all you can do because right now, that's all his injuries allow for.  And don't let anyone tell you what he can or can't do, will do or won't do - because he's the only one who knows that for sure and anything anyone else says can change his perception.  Let him try.  Let him fail.  Encourage him to try again because the only real failure here is accepting defeat.  And hey, failure ain't so bad, because at least he tried.

And I have a wish for Ben - that he never encounter any of the well-meaning types who try to stop him from failing before he's even tried.  Those people suck.  If he does encounter them, he needs to ignore them.

*If you'd like to help, there's a charity set up to donate money for his care - which could run into the millions.  If you can't donate money, buy some of David's books.  If you can't do that either, check his books out from the library and then review them on Amazon or Goodreads or B&N so that other people will be encouraged to buy David's books.  At this point, I think every little bit will help.


  1. That poor family. :-(

    Hope you're having a "good" rather than "bad" day.

  2. I will definitely look up the author and check out his books. My heart goes out to he and his family. And like JB, I hope you're having a good day!

  3. I know, JB. I didn't post pics, but that poor kid and his poor parents. I really feel for them. I know what my parents went through with me, and it ain't easy. And yeah, it's a good day so far. =o)

    Thanks, Karyn. That's all I can really ask for. If you like epic fantasy, his Runelords series is pretty cool. Right now, I'm reading the first book in his Golden Queen series - which is like fantasy mixed with SF, with a dash of Irish mythology.

  4. I will check it out. that for making me aware of both this situation and how it feels to be that person. Great writing here.

  5. Thanks for checking him out, Travis, and thanks for the kudos on my writing. =o)