The Forgettable Vacation — Lance’s Story

My name is Lance. While driving my 1985 Goldwing motorcycle somewhere south west of Grand Junction, Colorado, I fell asleep, cold sober in the middle of the day. I almost successfully recovered when I ran out of road. Never a good thing on two-lane black top in Colorado since you tend to run out of ground, too. Fortunately, there was an off-duty RN and her EMT husband in the car immediately following me, and the car following them contained a volunteer fireman.

They tell me I was in a coma for 4 days. The last thing I remembered when I woke up was completing the front brakes on my truck so it would be available when I returned from a three-week motorcycle touring vacation. But I could not remember the work week nor leaving on the vacation. I found myself to be extremely exhausted all the time–more exhausted then I had ever been.

Through the fog of exhaustion, I slowly realized that I had no idea of what I knew or did not know. I started working full time while still in high school–which I successfully completed at age 17–then went on to attain degrees in Physics and Electrical Engineering. All while working full time as a millwright. So, I have come to think of myself as being self-sufficient on many levels. But after the accident I found myself not learning new things, rather I was discovering that I knew them. I was also not adjusting my language to whom I was speaking. When I described this to the doctors and nurses as: “I messed up the indexing of my database.” They said I was speaking gibberish. But, a fellow engineer, told the nurses that he understood exactly what I was saying. Four years later he is still making fun of me thinking that a non-engineer would understand engineer speak.

Many changes have occurred in my life since that vacation I do not remember ever having taken. Some changes are because of the accident and others started before it happened and have since come to completion. But I am now back to work full time as an aeronautics software engineer, although in a different project and area.

I have found “We’re Moving Forward” offers a safe harbor from the duplicity of the world. This is a group of people who accepts me for me. A group that sees me as a person not the remains of a brain injury. An individual with all of the strange history and viewpoints that come from living. A group without poking and prodding, with their own investments in my state of being. A group that understand everyone is unique in their abilities and limitations and only wants what is best for all, without defining what is “best”.