• FAIR – supporting auto accident victims through advocacy and education
  • FAIR – supporting auto accident victims through advocacy and education
  • FAIR – supporting auto accident victims through advocacy and education

Concussion – This is My Trip to Jamaica

Those of us who are concussed, know that our strongest supporters, our spouses and in most cases our families, are just as much affected by our condition as we are. Maybe more so because they are still healthy and ‘normal’.

Because of the price we will have to pay, it is hard for the concussed to ‘take a break’, a vacation. But we know that those supporting us may need one.

After two and a half years of concussion I felt I owed it to my spouse and family to take a vacation.

This is my trip

Dave Breznik, May 2017


Up early

Ride is here

Load up

Sit back for drive

It’s dark

Limo is moving

Sitting sideways

Looking straight through the side window

Feeling the motion through my eyes

Lights of cars

Lights of buildings

It’s different sitting sideways

I close my eyes


At the airport

It’s packed

Follow family

In line

Moving slowly

Everyone is moving

Some fast

Some even faster

Some slower

My eyes take this in

Always movement

Different speeds

Everyone is talking

Insist on handling large suitcase

It’s for support


Everything is OK

I never realized there was this much noise

I was never aware of this much movement

Follow winding line

Keep moving

Everyone moves

Use luggage as an anchor

Let spouse handle ticket counter

Move to security line

Move, move

Everyone moving

Through security

Find Gate


Two hours

A lot of people waiting



Put on Noise Cancelling earphones


Keep eyes closed


Line up to board

Find seat

Close eyes

Sleep fitfully for two hours

Try to read

Can’t concentrate

Keep eyes closed

N/C Earphones on

Plane lands

Move through Airport

Keep moving

Keep moving

Everyone moving

Move to baggage area

Watch cases go around


Follow each case as it moves


Almost fall onto baggage track

Mind is foggy


Move away from track

Spouse spots baggage

Head for customs


Move through line

Clear customs and head for bus


Hot sun

Waiting for people



Bright sun

New surroundings

Twenty minute ride

Arrive at hotel

Wait in line

Sit down


Let family do check in

Room Keys

Close blinds

Lay down



Walking on the beach

A pre-vacation dream

Now I am here

On the beach

Enjoying the sun

I walk

The beach is on a slope,

The water is level

Waves rolling up the shore

My mind sees the level water,

My feet are stepping on the sloping shore line

Level…. slope

What my brain is seeing through sight – level water

and feeling – sloped beach

is not making sense

I am walking with a brew

of confusion


and uncertainty

Stumbling on the beach


I leave the waters edge and sit on a beach chair to enjoy the view.

It’s a nice view.

Sandy shore

Water as far out as one can see

The water slowing rolling in

One wave

Followed by another

A small wave

A large wave

Another wave

Nothing is still

Water is moving

People are throwing beach balls

Water is noisy

People are noisy

The waves still coming

My mind can not work out

what I see

what I feel

the noise

the movement

My balance starts to fail


I put on noise cancelling headphones and lay back on the chair


The sun is warm

The palm tree gives shade

The leaves of the tree are gently swaying in the breeze

Swaying in the breeze


I can’t stand up for fear of falling

I try and converse

Words are slurred

Words are mixed

I speak out of context




Loud loud ringing in ears

I take a Tylenol

I close my eyes

After a while I am OK.


I walk back to our room

Close the blinds

Stay there for a few hours


The resort has a good size man made wading river

Three feet deep

A strong current

Rubber tubes to float in

I enjoy the water

I wade in the river

People going by

Tubes spinning

Trying to balance

with the current

with the moving water

with people

with environment

water temperature

hot sun

waving palm trees

loud talk

kids running on the bank

I stumble

Not sure I can keep walking in the river

I find a tube

I get on it

Nice ride

The tube bounces off the sides

rotates with the current

My mind is spinning

I’m losing control

I get back in the water

I hold the tube using it for balance

That helps

A lot of movement from people

from the water

the background noise of the ocean

the resort

the running water

the people

I leave the river

Can hardly walk straight

Mind is in a state of confusion



Don’t ask me any questions

Don’t walk in front of me

Let me hold the handrail

I return to our room

I close the blinds

I lay down


Family are going on a catamaran

Would I like to go?

Sure I would

I see the boat moving on the water



Bow up

Stern up

Wind in the sails

Looks like fun

I know I can’t do it

I stay on shore and watch

I see the family enjoying the boat

It dances in the water

The shore is still

Water is active

The boat is moving with the waves

A lot of motion

I turn around

I go to the back of the resort

I sit under a palm tree until they return


The Grandkids want me to spend time with them

Try the beach

Limited time

Try the wading river

Time is cut short

Grampa, come on the tube slide

Tube Slide?

We make memories

What memories do I want to give them

I hesitate

They plead

I go

The slide is great

I go again

Half way up I am struck with a dizzy spell

To continue up or go down

Equal distance

People behind me

I go up

This time the slide gets me

My mind drops to about 20% power

Confusion reigns

I’m standing

I’m moving

I’m looking

I’m seeing

I don’t really see anything

No idea how I am moving

There is a confusing haze over my brain

Can hardly get out of the water

Hang on to the tube

Close my eyes


Take a step towards the edge


Hold on to the tube



Get out of the area


Back to the room


Dinner time

All inclusive

Many choices

Many many choices

Too many choices

Where to sit

Don’t say anything

Follow family

Buffet ?


Let them choose

So many choices



So fun and so noisy

Insert earplugs

Scan menu

What am I seeing

The menu is clear

In my mind it’s a foggy blur

Mind is confused


Too many decisions

Brain needs time

Desperate for some space

Need break

Need rest

Fight urge to get up and leave


It’s their vacation too

Don’t ruin it

Order what sounds familiar

Sit back

Focus on one thing

Act like you hear

Like you are involved

Watch everyone around the table

Happy for them

Let them finish and leave

Linger at the table

Rise and hold on to chair back

Hold on

Use railings



Lean on spouse

Back to room

Lay down


Return home

Glad to be here

Mind is still uncertain

Takes a day

Maybe two


It comes on hard

Mind spinning

Words slurring

Mixed sentence structure

Bumping into things

Can’t concentrate

Sleep is in shambles

Arguing with spouse

Operating on a hair trigger

Sudden bursts of irritation

Easily provoked


Increased level of ringing in my ears

A lot of pacing

Can’t make decisions




It all goes downhill

It stays there

Slow recovery

Back on sleeping pills

Takes three weeks

Semblance of normal returns

No staying power

Easily pushed off the edge

Start again

and Again


It’s been two and a half years

Doctors don’t know what to do

I know

This is the way it will be

The rest of my life

I will appear to improve

But it’s only learning how to cope

Things may eventually get better

But they never will



Be the same

My life has changed

It was taken from me

Even though I look the same

I have changed

My life was taken from me

There is a new me

I am left to watch

the New Me

Start again


I am a spectator

Watching the new me

With new boundaries

that I am trying to understand

With new limitations

that to my detriment

I often exceed

Setting new goals

Setting the bar much lower

than I had before

I am not used to the New Me

I do not know the new me

But I do not like the new me

I hope I will

I’m sure the day will come

Acceptance is hard

It will not come easy

Or all at once

It will take time

It will come in short steps

Many short steps

Many many short steps

During which there will be many crashes

Many failures

Much backsliding


Give thanks for what we have

I am thankful for a supportive spouse

who knows the old me

and is living with the new me

For family

Who knows the old me

And makes allowances for the new me

For the care providers

Who never knew the old me

but understand what I am trying to cope with


Dave Breznik

Concussed since Oct 2014

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