I have a lot of descriptions for my hearing loss and aural distortions following my severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). People ask me what something is like and I can’t help but come up with a little analogy. Past analogies have been: “gum stuck to your shoe” (describing sounds that looped repeatedly, i.e. my “sound loop”); “metal on metal noise” (i.e. music), “bad guy in a movie using a voice distorter” (i.e. all voices). These should all sound familiar as I reference most of these analogies frequently. However this week I have come up with a different analogy. This one is a little different because it conjures up what sound used to sound like pre-TBI and compares it to what sound is like to me post-TBI. Brace yourself, I created a silly little graphic to go along with this analogy and it has an elephant 🐘 in it! 🥰
Also, yesterday was my Dad’s birthday. It was a big one and I have a little Dad-related pop culture extra to celebrate.
I have named my new analogy for brain injury the “layer cake vs. smashed layer cake” or “sound layer cake” for short. In this analogy I have decided my pre-TBI brain was able to process sound without distortions or complications so that each sound could co-exist at the same time like layers in a beautiful layer cake. In the layer cake illustration you see that different sounds are co-existing on different layers in a neat and orderly way. Each layer of the cake represents another type of sound that my brain was able to hear and process simultaneously without chaotic confusion. Music, voices, various sound effects all are separate. (If I am making you hungry for cake with this analogy… sorry! It was my Dad’s birthday yesterday so we have leftover birthday cake, so I’m set!)
On the other side of the analogy illustration is how my post-TBI brain “processes” sound currently (“process” is in quotations because it’s not really processing). On this other side I illustrated that the layer cake of separated sounds is destroyed by a large (but super cute) elephant sitting on it. Each layer of sound is SMASHED into the other until it is an indiscernible chaotic mess. The Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is the elephant. I can’t help but feel the crushing weight of it when I am in a situation where multiple sounds exist and layer on top of each other (which is pretty much ALL situations).
This graphic was fun to make, however I meant to write more on this subject but ended up spending my mental energy creating this graphic. In my post-Birthday taxed state (we ate out twice yesterday in public and noisy environments so my TBI brain is at capacity, never mind that it was my Dad and not me who had a big Birthday) have less energy and brain power. So in order to give my brain a break, I will cut this blog short.
But first… a mini essay and silly pop culture extra… AND THEN a break for my brain!
New Blog Feature: #TBIthursday Mini Essay: Give An Elephant a Peanut or Give Your TBI Brain a Break!
To go along with my new brain injury analogy that describes sound pre- and post-TBI, I have decided to create yet another image and analogy to describe my plight with my TBI. Since my new analogy the “layer cake vs. the smashed layer cake” portrays an elephant smashing a layer cake, I have decided that my next image/analogy shows giving that elephant a peanut to illustrate how sometimes I just have to give my TBI brain a break! In this new analogy the elephant is the Traumatic Brain Injury (as it was in the sound layer cake analogy). And we all know brains need rest. Not just TBI brains but all brains. So, if you need a break this week, just say you’re giving an elephant a peanut. It will confuse people which then cause them to use their own brains a lot and in turn by the time they figure out what it all means they will need to… give an elephant a peanut!
A Silly Pop Culture Extra
Since I associate humor with my Dad (he’s a punny guy), I thought I would include a trailer on the new animated movie “Ron’s Gone Wrong” since my Dad’s name is Ron and this movie comes out the day after his birthday (today)!
It honestly looks like a really cute movie. I just may have to take my “Ron.”