Beginnings
Home Up Being made Disabled Denial after Denial Yes, it's me more frustration The Never-ending Journey Beginnings Part II

 

 

 

It is in the fall of 1955, and Bruce has been allowed to return to the Third Grade. Not unto the third grade did Bruce realize that he had deficits, which he previously had not had. He soon found them out because most involved memory problems. These deficiencies became evident when he discovered that many simple tasks now proved almost impossible for him to comprehend much less do. If he had not had this burning desire to regain the status of normal then he would most probably have quit. He persevered and is still persevering 46 years later. Quitting was never in his vocabulary or he would have quit trying long ago.

From the moment that he regained consciousness, Bruce knew that he wasn't the same as he had once been. Not only was he on medication but his left hand-his writing hand- now shook uncontrollably. He also discovered that simple tasks were now hard or impossible for him to understand. Later in life he would learn the reason. Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI had short-circuited his recall memory. Without knowing what he was doing, Bruce began to rely upon long-term memory. This caused problems and still does because to use long term memory exclusively means that you have to load all information into permanent memory all at once. If any piece of information is missing then the task becomes undoable. Only when this missing information is loaded can one do the task. This all or nothing sequence may make others form the wrong perception about you. They may believe that you possess plenty of book learning but that you possess no common.

Memory problems were just the tip of showing Bruce that he was in fact different. He soon found that his once close friend were avoiding him like the plague and he discovered that these same friends were now ridiculing him and making him the brunt of malicious jokes. If this was not enough to indicate his difference, Bruce discovered that even teachers were now treating him differently than they did his peers. If any of his critically normal peers needed help, they would receive it personally. If Bruce needed help he did not receive the same type of personal attention. If questions were asked in class he was seldom given an opportunity to answer it. The times he did answer questions were usually turned into ridicule especially if he answered incorrectly. Because of this he learned to open his mouth only if he knew for sure that he was correct. This caused him to be viewed as being outspoken and boisterous for he began to argue point into the ground.

With all these barriers against him, Bruce resolved to do the best that he could. By doing so he hoped to once again be viewed as normal. This desire was only possible because of the love and support that he received from his parents. They told him that he would be a winner so long as he did his best. He began to turn negative input into positive output. If he were told that he could not do something, he would resolve to prove that person to be wrong.

This winning attitude, coupled with his desire to be normal drove him to realize that he would need more than a high school education if he was to be able to successfully compete with his non-disabled counterparts. He held this desire foremost even though he began to feel that he would be fortunate just to graduate form High School let along go to College. If his parents had not instilled in him the desire to win, then most likely he would have given up and become a drop out. He persevered and turned all negative feelings into positive output and graduated on time with his class in 1965.

Graduation brought on another set of problems, finding a school of higher education that would accept him. Each application was met with a rejection notice. He desperately wanted to attend and graduate from a school of higher learning. To him this feat would finally elevate him to the realm of normalcy. Therefore Bruce and his father solicited a state agency for help. Here a psychologist gave him a battery of tests. These were similar to those of 1955 but they revealed that he was above average in some areas and average in others. The psychologist wanted to help him enter USC but the state agency head denied this request. Apparently this agency does not believe in helping people with disabilities. Funny thing they have a mandate to do just that.

 

Home Up