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Thursday, April 30, 2009

How did I survive my life B.A?

And no I'm not talking about my Bachelor's of Arts degree. Life B.A. stands for life BEFORE AMBIEN.

Tonight I went to dinner with Alisa (my neighbor and friend), and I described a specific night several months ago when my already exhausted self had to stay up far too late. I was tired. Irritated. Ornery. Unhappy. But, "that was before Ambien," I explained. She laughed and suggested I start describing events as B.A. or A.A. (before Ambien and after Ambien).

I'm sleeping so beautifully -now A.A- that I'm totally wondering how I actually survived B.A. Seriously. Imagine living your life with relentless cognitive exhaustion. That was me. Now I rarely reach cognitive exhaustion, and I feel incredible. I'm a new woman and willing to write commercials for Ambien.

The drug is my new best friend. I'm like a cheerleader.

Gimme an A. Gimme an M. Gimme a B. Gimme an I. Gimme an E. Gimme an N. What does it spell? AMBIEN. GOOOOO AMBIEN.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Something WICKED is not that way at all ...

Last night, my friend Wendy and I went to see WICKED at The Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake. It was absolutely spectacular! For some reason, I assumed I had purchased bad seats, but oh so not the case. Our seats were great and right on the main level, about row 15 (we sat way far stage left, but nothing to complain about). The performance was so wonderful, that Wendy and I cheered and screamed all the way home.

I felt alert the entire evening! This is one of four cultural experiences I'll have this month. Truth-be-told, the old Jennifer lived for cultural experiences. My friends and I were "kind of artsy." After all, I was a humanities major in college. I loved art museums and I assumed my future career would somehow include the arts (museum curator, art litigation attorney, writer for a community arts magazine, buyer for a theatre or museum gift shop - it's true, I considered everything) FYI, my career today does not any of these things.

But everything changed for me after my accident. My car crashed. My body crashed. My head crashed. Everything was broken and mangled. Thus, I honestly thought that parts of my personality were mangled too.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about: Approximately six years post-accident, I got third row seats to Mamma-Mia in Minneapolis at a very discounted price. I'm pretty sure it was Mamma-Mia, but I just had to call my mom and have her confirm because I can't remember. I was so cognitively overloaded and so tired during the performance, that I can't recall any of it. I literally remember sitting in my great seats, thinking, "I'm supposed be enjoying myself. Jennifer Mosher loves this kind of stuff, but I don't like being here right now." I feel like this during every cultural performance I've attended post-injury. In fact, a few years ago some friends and I went to New York City and I can't remember which Broadway performance we saw (surprisingly, I know that I saw CATS in NYC back in 1990 because that was pre-accident, and I remember nearly every cultural experience that I had pre-accident).

My point is this: I DID NOT FEEL THIS WAY LAST NIGHT AT WICKED! I'm 99.999% certain that this is due to my reformed Ambien self. Sleeping pills have changed me! This is no exaggeration. I'm sleeping longer and deeper, which makes me more alert and more like my old self during the day. It's wonderful. This month I've already attended The Utah Symphony, a Ririe-Woodbury modern dance performance, WICKED, and this weekend I'll see the Utah Chamber Artists. I've enjoyed every moment of every performance - just like I used to. I'm so happy because I really feel like finally my pre-injury self and my post-injury self are blurring into the same person!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My book + editing = nightmare

I don't think I understood entirely what I was getting into when I started this whole memoir writing project.

I write my story. I edit my story. I write. I edit. I write. I edit. It. Never. Ends.

I keep saying that this book is going to be the death of me, because it's never done, never good enough. Finally, I submitted it to the publisher thinking it was complete and good. Needless to say, I found multiple errors in the document (my errors) such as missing commas or inappropriately capitalized words. So I fixed what I could and resubmitted. But you can only fix ten errors at no charge, so I selected the most blatant mistakes (such as misspelled words) and I've embarrassingly left the others. Did I have a professional editor read the manuscript? No, (that costs a ridiculous amount of money and remember this is my personal project - self published on my own meager budget). Yes, I did have multiple friends read it and college writing professors. So it could have been much worse.

The most important aspect of my writing is that I SHOW NOT TELL, so I worried more about style than I did about grammar. Now I wish I would have worried more. As I said before, this book felt like it was going to be the death of me because I've put so much energy and heart into it. I reached a point where I just said, "Enough!!" and "It's done!"

Anyway, writing about my injury has been both daunting and helpful. It's helped me to understand exactly what happened to me, as I have little to no memory of several months after my car accident. It's overwhelming for the very same reason. I sometimes can't believe that I was injured so badly because most of the time I feel so good.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Passion is the force behind the momentum of our lives.

Chapter 9 of the book "Magnificent Mind at Any Age," talks about passion. Passionate living, it says, is the soul of success. We must ignite our passions to light up the brain circuits that drive success. This whole chapter got me thinking about my own passions.
I'm a woman of purpose. I love having a purpose or responsibility. Once my dad told me, "Jen you're into whatever you're into." At the time that he said this I was young and changed my mind all the time about what I wanted (to do, to be, to have). I am driven by my dreams and goals. But I feel like my dreams and goals were changed after my injury (14 years and 8 months ago). At the time of my accident, I was driven by school and academic achievement and my yearning to have it all (good grades, good job, be physically fit, be social, and have tons of friends). In retrospect, I think I was becoming a little unbalanced, but I think balance should just come with age and experience--you learn over time what is really important and what makes you really happy.
I can feel this blog topic leaning in another direction and I'm about to start writing about how my brain injury has changed my life. So I need to stay on topic: my passion.
What is my passion?
Well, what I was trying to say with that whole off-topic, car accident thing, is that I feel like I lost a lot of my passion after my injury. I could no longer do things I did in the same way, at the same speed as I did them before. School was too hard, I had to sleep a lot, and I forgot everything all the time. Oh geez, there I go again. I can't help but define my life by my brain injury. So that being said, HERE ARE MY PASSIONS: (I'm a list person. I love lists. If only I could express everything about my life with a list):

1. People. I'm motivated by people. I love to make people happy (pretty much exclusively my family and close friends--I say that almost in jest because I consider most of my friends to be also close friends, and I have a lot of friends).
2. Health. SIX IMPORTANT WORDS: I. Love. To. Eat. Healthy. Food. And I love to exercise. I love the physical energy that results from combing healthy eating with physical fitness.
3. Food. This one only really counts if it is combined with one of the first two. I love to make food for people. I love to eat food with people (especially at restaurants). The best thing is to eat healthy food with friends.
4. Kids. I like kids. Especially if they are related to me. Everyone thinks their own kids are the cutest. I don't have my own kids (yet) so I'm going to say my brother's kids are the cutest and leave it at that.

: Watching my brother's kids eat healthy food. That combines all four of my passions!

Monday, April 13, 2009

41 days and counting. . .

Until I visit Lake Tahoe for the very first time in my life!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

I’m kind of a pretentious chef

I was asked to bring a dessert to Easter dinner tomorrow, and decided to make a fruit tart. Why didn't I think of just picking up an apple pie at Marie Callendar's? It's only a couple blocks from my home! Probably because I'm really not a pie fan. Second of all, I like to make really good food. Make. Good. Food. Those three words are synonymous when they're in the same sentence. I can't have one without the other. This is where the pretentious part comes in. It's not that I'm that picky of an eater. I'm a picky baker. There is a difference.
So I'm making a white chocolate fruit tart. I found the recipe on and everyone raves about it. Hopefully it will turn out.
Someone else could make a bad fruit tart and I wouldn't even bat an eyelash. But if I make and bring a bad fruit tart, I feel disappointed. I'm only pretentious about food that I make myself.
Tonight I made only the crust and white chocolate, cream cheese, whipping cream filling. Tomorrow I'll put on the fruit and glaze (the only reason I know to do this is because it told me so on It prevents the crust from becoming soggy and sucking all the juice from the fruit).
On another note, I've been jamming to my iPod this whole time, while writing and baking and the song Beat It by Fall Out Boy (featuring John Mayer) is currently playing. I'll take that as a sign and BEAT IT (stop writing). Ironically, the Fall Out Boy concert in Salt Lake City is this coming Monday!

Friday, April 10, 2009


In my last post, I complained of blog boredom. So in order to dazzle things up a bit, I chose a new design.

Does it work? Is the black screen too much? I'd love to know your thoughts. . .

Blogging Brain Lapse 2

Like I've said, my intention with this blog is to write about my daily Traumatic Brain Injury Struggles. Yet I find myself having little interest in writing about this topic anymore. Here is why:

1. My book is done (it should be available for purchase as soon as the publisher has completed the formatting), therefore I'm not thinking about TBI topics for my memoir (which can translate into a blog post).

2. It's been over 14 years since my injury and I feel like I've put a lot of my struggles behind me. I don't even recognize them as much anymore, because they are nothing new. In other words, I'M USED TO IT (I realized that I just referred to my struggles as "them" and "they," which sounds weird but I don't know how else to call "them").

3. I'm bored (of blogging and thinking about my Traumatic Brain Injury). I'm sure this feeling will pass, as not a day goes by when I'm not reminded, in some degree, of my TBI. But lately, I just want to write about something else.

4. Lastly, I feel sooooo much better now that I'm taking Ambien just before I go to sleep. The other day I had my one month follow-up with the sleep specialist and I told her I was "dreaming more" at night with the Ambien (some people have been known to have bizarre, intense dreams with Ambien, including sleep walking, eating, driving etc). My dreams aren't bizarre they are just more intense and longer now. The specialist said this was a very good sign because it meant I was sleeping much deeper because dreaming happens only at a certain stage during the night. I DIDN'T REALLY NIGHT DREAM AFTER MY INJURY, AND BEFORE THE AMBIEN. How sad is that? In a way, the car accident erased my dreams.

Anyway, maybe I should try blogging about "Life" rather than just "Life with TBI?"

Friday, April 3, 2009

from the Brainline Newletter:

Put Your Brain to Work and It Will Work for You

We've all seen the news: we can affect how our brains work. Neuroscience tells us that we can increase our chances of maintaining our mental edge and functional independence throughout our lives. How? By working to keep our brains fit the way we work to keep our bodies healthy.

What you do everyday matters to your brain. The choices you make, your level of physical and mental activity, your social life, diet, and sleep habits-all these things can affect cognitive fitness: a state in which we are performing well mentally, emotionally, and functionally.
What Does it Mean to be "Brain Fit"

Notes from the Lab: Research studies in many countries have found four factors that may predict maintenance of cognitive function.

1. Increased mental activity
2. Increased physical activity
3. Increased levels of social engagement
4. Control of vascular risk by:
a. Controlling weight
b. Monitoring cholesterol
c. Monitoring blood pressure
d. Not smoking

Everyone knows what a fit body looks like, but fit brains, which don't boast rippled muscles or six-packs, are tougher to distinguish. Brain fitness is a state of mind in which we are performing well cognitively and emotionally. When we're cognitively fit, we're maintaining our mental edge, staying sharp, aging successfully. Brain fitness is not only the absence of disease either Alzheimer's or other types of dementia; it is also the preservation of emotional and cognitive well-being throughout our working years and beyond.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Blogging Brain Lapse

I'm at a loss for blogging topics? Any ideas? HELP ME!!! I'm trying to make this blog Traumatic Brain Injury specific. But I've been feeling so great lately that I haven't been even considering such topics. So why am I feeling so good? I guess I've talked about this subject before in previous posts, but I really think it mostly has to do with one thing (I guess I found my blog topic):


I feel remarkably better on days when I have enough quality sleep. This is probably true for everyone to some degree, but for me it's like I'm not the same person when I'm cognitively tired (this kind of tired is different than the usual, un-brain-injured tired). Usually I smile a lot and I am pretty engaging, social, talkative. But when I'm cognitively tired I am not smiling, not engaging, not talkative. I don't want to be social and I just want to be alone in the dark.

Bottom-line (to the point because it's passed my bedtime and I must be quick. I know better than to deviate from my sleep schedule), this is what helps:
1. Healthy eating (no sugar or salt before bed)
2. Deep-breathing in bed, to calm myself
3. Exercise in morning or early afternoon
4. Ambien

YES, I said Ambien. Drugs, sleeping pills have been the real savior for me. This doesn't work for everyone and without the sleep-hygiene that I listed above, Ambien doesn't work as well for me. But finally, after almost 15 years of not-satisfying sleep every night (YES EVERY NIGHT FOR 15 YEARS), I'm finally sleeping like a normal person. PRAISE GOD FOR MODERN MEDICINE!