Posts Tagged ‘memory’

So it would appear that my physical symptoms of the concussion have subsided. I no longer suffer the headaches that I described earlier. I still get waves of nausea every now and again, but overall things have taken a turn for the better. However, I am still not 100% symptom free. If you saw me on the street and spoke to me, you probably would not know that I had anything wrong.

However, there are clearly still issues in the head that I need to work through. My handwriting, short term memory and general writing ability being the top ones that are my concern at the moment. As you might’ve seen from the twitpics earlier this week, my handwriting has taken a bit of a nose dive, to the point that I get frustrated with myself when I’m trying to write by hand. I have since resorted to taking all my notes on a laptop to make sure that I am able to decipher my notes and actually remember what I was doing, rather than having to hire an Egyptologist to tell me what I’ve written.

As for the writing ability, I can write at my normal pace, but I have to pay extra care into what I write. Sometimes what I write is not what I was supposed to. I forget words from sentences and sometimes the structure of sentences is a little bit wrong. I’m not using the excuse that English is my second language and that would be the reason why, but these are mistakes that I wasn’t making prior to the head trauma.

My memory is still a bit all over the place. For example, I dunked my hand into a coffee cup full of hot coffee the other day as I thought that it was full of sweets. Who puts sweets in a coffee cup? I don’t know but I guess it made sense in my mind before burning my fingers and thinking “Hang on just one darn minute, these are not jelly beans.”

The other issues I still have relate mainly to self image, but this is not an emo diary so I’m not going to start writing about what pants I want to wear and how I want my hair to look and so on.

Suffice to say, I’ve taken significant steps in recovery, but there are still a lot of things that just don’t make sense and a lot of things I find I’m questioning. Whether it’s a personality change caused by the latest concussion and one that has accumulated from the four others I’ve had remains to be seen.

The awesome thing is that I was able to last a whole work out a few days ago. OK I wasn’t pressing nearly the same weights as before, but it felt good to give the body some abuse after laying in a dark room for a week and a bit.

Today has been good. I was in a pretty bad place last night and my mood was up and down like a yo yo. If I didn’t know any better I’d say I was going through midlife crisis or menopause or something. The biggest improvement has been in my coordination. I don’t feel as big of a bumbling fool as I did yesterday.

I’m getting my appetite back as well which is pretty good. I’m still suffering from a headache and i’ve got a constant ringing in my ears, kinda like having been in a concert or nightclub and you’ve spent the night right under the speakers. Which reminds me.. loud voices and sounds are not good either. Sort of sucks, because music I like is loud. I had a little walk around the block. I started to feel a bit dozy afterwards and my eyes had trouble re-focussing when I checked the crossing.

The biggest problem I still have is with my short term memory. It’s getting better, but I find I’m asking the same things or remember I have to do things that I’ve already done. That and I’m still sleeping a lot and still getting easily irate.

I guess this is the ‘dangerous’ phase in recovery as I’m feeling better, I’m getting the itch to get back on the ice and I’ve partially forgotten my own frailty. But I’ll carry on taking baby steps to make sure that I’ll be able to get on top of this quickly.

As ever, I remain appreciative and humbled by the messages of support I’ve received.

There are somethings that people rarely forget about. There’s your first kiss, the first time you got laid, your wedding day or the day your kids were born (to those who have kids).  However, for hockey players there are few other things on the list, like the day you get drafted, sign your pro contract, score your first goal or when you first laced up the skates and put on your first ever jersey.

Jerseys are important to players and as I gaze on the wall on our stairs I can see a collection of jerseys. Jerseys that have a lot of meaning and memories regardless of the league or level. They tell me I was once part of something great and bring back memories of the guys I played with and the parents and other voulenteers who helped. Gazing on them, I remember me and my dad sitting in traffic on the A4 from Amsterdam to Utrecht trying to get me to training, or playing in my first ever team, OP Chicago Parola -82, in an out door league.

Despite the team being for guys who were born in 1982, I was allowed to play for them as there were only 6 days between my birth and the calendar year turning into -82. It’s funny, because it has been so long since that season, but I still remember it vividly. The first ever team meeting where the team was put together was held at the county hall and the team was gathered purely of guys who I went to school with. I still remember being nervous about it as I had only played on our front yard or at the local rinks, so going into something like that was a pretty big deal for me. Plus I had no kit (apart from a helmet, shinpads, gloves and skates) so it was nerve wrecking to see if I was actually allowed to play. By the way, the helmet is the old vintage Jofa that Gretzky wore and its still in immaculate condition. Despite the helmets going at around $120 on eBay, there’s no way I’m selling it.

My parents were really supportive and promised to get me the kit. Some was second hand some was new. The final piece of kit that I got was shoulder pads for Christmas, just before the season started. I even got a new stick for the season, a black Koho Revolution with the Kurri blade pattern. I used Koho sticks or blades to the day they became CCM. Old habits die hard and I still use the same blade pattern.

As I said, this league was an out door league, but our trainings were held on Thursday nights at the indoor practice arena in Hameenlinna. We also had regular weekend training slot on Saturday mornings on an out door rink at Parola, the village where we lived.

It was on one of these Saturday sessions when my mom took me to training and patiently waited rink side in the cold when we trained. After the training, the coach took the team into the changing room by the rink and got out a large cardboard box out from his car. Inside the box was something that I will remember for the rest of my life. It was our jerseys. Looking back on it, the green jersey with the white print of a makeshift Chicago Blackhawks logo looks tacky now, but to me it was the best thing ever. I got jersey number 8. A number I wear today in homage to that jersey and year as its some 20 years since that season.

I still remember my first game. I didn’t even know what the hell the off-side rule was and I must’ve spent more time off-side than anything else.

Our season was a triumph. We didn’t lose a single game from the 12 game calendar and we only drew one game and the rest we won. Me and my buddy Hannu travelled to trainings and games together, well it was either of our parents that drove and kept the car warm so we could warm up between periods.

The highlight of the season was the end of season ‘in-door’ tournament between all the teams at the Hameenlinna or Ritari arena as it’s now called. We carried on our trend and won every-game in the tournament and won the championship, which sent the whole team ecstatic. I had my only point of the season in the final game when I assisted our winning goal. In the post game celebrations I had my first ever taste of champagne.

Funny what memories a jersey carries, but the jersey and the trophy are there to remind me of, probably the most cherished memories from my childhood. Similarly a jersey for a fan can bring back similar memories of seeing your favourite player score a highlight reel goal or celebrating the most treasured of sports trophies in the world. It can remind you of the nights at the game with friends, stuck in traffic jams, bad hot dogs and stale beer. Or for a younger fan, the magic of being there and being in awe of the game.

I could relay stories of all of them IJCU Utrecht, Southampton Spitfires, Basingstoke Cougars, Farnborough Arrows and Bristol Pitbulls. Hopefully there are many more memories and triumphs to come that I can re-live just by glancing up at the wall.