After my brain injury I went to see a doctor, alone. I was dumb, I should have taken someone with me, but I was sure I could handle a regular appointment. I was wrong. The doctor made me feel so stupid. I was having difficulty finding words, counting, and performing simple tasks that I was asked to do. When he gave me a map and told me to get myself to a certain medical facility for an MRI, I was confident that I could drive myself there. I was always able to read maps well and didn't think I would have any issues with getting myself there. That was my second mistake.
I became horribly lost on my way there. Remember, this is in 2002, not everyone had cell phones or gps. In fact, Ryan and I shared 1 cell phone between the 2 of us, and fortunately I happened to have it that day. I called him crying, telling him I had no idea where I was. Ryan looked up the roads on mapquest and tried to guide me back to where I was supposed to go. Little did he know that I couldn't even follow his directions. I called my dad- who was in Florida with my mom for my cousin's wedding. He couldn't help me either, but he had my mom calm me down. Fortunately I was in the car by myself, so no one except for me heard all the swear words that I was saying. I ended up stopping at a police station and a police officer got me to the right hospital- where Ryan was waiting for me (he left work to try to find me). I think that was around the time we realized that I wasn't going to be the same again. Now, I have to look at my hands to see which one makes the "L" when someone tells me to go left or right (and yes, I'm embarrassed to admit that).
The second time I got lost happened this past fall. I honestly didn't think it could happen to me again. We live in the age of technology. We were leaving the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago after Juli's appointment with her amazing doctor that we have seen since she was 1. I have made the drive to and from the RIC countless times, and it's an easy one. You take I-55 to Lake Shore Drive, take a left on E Chicago Ave, a left on N Fairbanks St, and a left on Superior St and it is right there. I honestly don't know what happened when I pulled out of the parking lot to head home. All of a sudden, I realized that nothing about the direction we were driving looked familiar to me, and I knew I had screwed up. In my head I started saying all sorts of swear words (I couldn't say them out loud because I had both kids in the car), and I had to have Noah dig my cell phone out of my back pack, unlock it, open up Google maps- wait for it to find a signal because of all the skyscrapers, and hit the home button that I have programmed into it. Then we went for a "tour of Chicago" as we drove home, which is not something I wanted to do just before rush hour started. Eventually we found our way back to I-55 and made it home. It was a reminder that I still can't rely on my brain memory to get me to and from locations. It also confirmed to me, why I want to live in a wide open area when I retire- I can not stand the city!