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Words of Wednesday: Sage

January 28, 2015

Hi I'm Jenny...Sage...and Jage (Jenny + Sage).

The team you see above is me (Jenny, Sage and Jage). I am one person but I am a team of three. JENNY, the NURSE, was born 1980 and lost consciousness September 13, 2007. You see Jenny was in a car accident that night and instead of Jenny waking up from the two week coma it was SAGE who woke up. The characteristics of Jenny look like this. Goal seeker, hard worker, self-confident, self-directed, disciplined, high self-esteem, sympathetic, empathetic, trusting, critical thinker, dedicated, INDEPENDENT, friendly, good with relationships, family oriented, sensitive, ADAPTED TO CHANGE EASILY, (high endurance emotionally, physically, and mentally), determined, devoted, enthusiastic, honest, involved, interested, open-minded, REALISTIC, reliable, responsible, good communicator. Jenny was looking to travel and explore new places but then the accident happened and Sage stopped all of that. Jenny was the care taker and in a moment she was transitioned into the patient.

Sage's story is different from Jenny's, the characteristics are completely opposite from each other. Sage had to start slow and from the beginning without knowing what happened or who she really is. Sage is very weak, especially on her right side. She is on anti-seizure medication. She needs assistants with just about everything, taking a shower, brushing her teeth, walking and breathing. 4 weeks into Sage's life she realizes she has a hole in her neck, the only thing she understands about it is it helps her breathe and will help in case of an emergency. Emotionally Sage has large mood swings and cries very easily. Her memory is very poor, people will tell her things and a second later she will forget them. Sage doesn't know how old she is. She doesn't really know who she is at all she just knows that she needs a lot of help to get back to a state of living she doesn't even remember. It takes a year for Sage to come around to a point of moving on past the little but triumphant tasks in her life. Sage's characteristics look like this. DECREASED - awareness, orientation, attention/concentration, self-esteem, following directions, rate of processing/performance, task ability, initiation, memory/retrieving information, general comprehension (concrete vs abstract concepts), organizing thoughts/tasks, time-management. INCREASED fatigue, stress, inconsistencies/mistakes, irritability, mental overload with relatively small things.

It is now time to introduce the gal in the window, Jage. Jage's characteristics are still developing today but she has come a long way from September 13, 2007. Jage is who you will meet today if you are to run into her on the streets or in a grocery store. She is the combined person of Jenny, who was a nurse and had a very independent life, and Sage, who woke up with a traumatic brain injury. Jage takes life at a much slower pace and celebrates the small victories. Switching from SURVIVAL mode to THRIVING mode necessitates slow pace and 7-8 hours of sleep. Her endurance is probably about 50-60% of what Jenny used to have. She still struggles to find words to express what she means to say, and is easily distracted. It makes completing tasks a challenge. After 7 years of rehab, Jage has now been officially off disability since October 2014 and has accomplished her goal of being completely INDEPENDENT! She can plan more than 3 months in advance and has goals of getting back into nursing again or having a medical coding career. Physically, Jage can jog a couple of miles without pain, lift light weights, and has climbed five 14ers. Emotionally, Jage's self-confidence has increased since being able to work. She works through her emotional struggles either on her own, or with friends and family.

6 years post injury (2013-now)

Jage has two part time jobs and is completely independent. She has increased her ability to adjust and adapt to the life she has today. She is looking ahead into her future, much like Jenny did. She is looking at a career in nursing and a career in medical coding.

The brain injury Jenny sustained was an event that rewrote her life plans and introduced new characteristics to her personality; ones that developed because of who Jenny was and ones that developed because it was necessary for her survival. The point of the this illustration is to show you that If you are to meet Jage today she will introduce herself as Jenny, because that is who she is. As you get to know Jenny you learn about Sage, you learn that the Jenny you are meeting today had to start from a new beginning in the middle of her life and build herself back up from square one with the help of family, friends and professionals.