What does it take to get on the road with ABI?

By Angelique; with help from Geerte and Esther

During the event we want you to experience what it is like to live with ABI (acquired brain injury). I want to take you into my routine before I can go cycling or swimming, for example.
Please read it carefully and if you have any questions, please let us know.
Have fun with the activity you are about to do!

1 – Saving energy

Before I can do an activity (work, sports, social meeting) my battery has to be charged first. That means not only getting a good night’s sleep, but the hours from breakfast to the appointment must also be as low-stimulus as possible. I also try to get through the night before as low as possible.
What is low-stimulus: no screens, as little noise as possible, no activity that costs energy. What then: on the couch with the cat and a book or knitting. Classical music quiet sometimes also works, but can also fall wrong.

2 – Live location and SOS bracelet

When I’m on the road alone, I always wear my SOS wristband with Esther’s data on it, but also via a code, my medical data. If something happens, the emergency workers will immediately know about my background.
In addition, I always wear my Garmin watch, which has a fall detection function. If I fall on the way, Esther automatically receives a message with a GPS location.
To experience this for you: before you leave, send someone your live location, for example via WhatsApp and let us know when you are back safely. Extra: Also ask the person to call you if you are standing still for too long.

3 – During the activity

  • Exercising in a large group is difficult for me. Of course it is great fun if you go out with a larger group today, but think about what it would be like if you can never go on a bike ride or walk with more than 3 other people.
  • Take a break during your activity. After all, cycling includes apple pie with coffee. Or just an ice cream on the way. Today that is only allowed with a coffee-to-go or when you go out on the terrace… I can only do that if the table is not in the middle, there is a wall behind me, so that no sound can come from it and if it is too loud music is on, I can’t do it either. Try to find a nice spot with this in mind.
  • Crossroads, crossings, busy roads… my head often has trouble with that. Are you crossing a road today? Let your companion indicate when you can cross and exchange it at the next crossing. Or don’t go unless you’re absolutely sure. How does that feel?

4 – After the activity

After the activity I need rest. Not so much the physical rest, but I like to withdraw into my low-stimulus spot in the house. Take a look at your social media, put your ride online right away? Try putting your phone down for at least 5 minutes. So what do you do? Some stretching exercises, maybe yoga or just sitting still and doing nothing. Difficult? How would you like it if you had to do this for an hour? Or maybe even longer?
And maybe you have all kinds of fun things planned for the rest of the day. Doing it, of course, but how would you like it if you can’t?

Some things to think about

  1. For how many activities do you now take the car? How would you deal with that if driving a car suddenly no longer works well? Not even as a passenger.
  2. Switch on at the same time: TV, Radio and vacuum cleaner. Turn on some more sound on your mobile and now just try to sit quietly on the couch. How does that feel to you?

Maybe you think “phew that wouldn’t be a life for me…”, then realize that you have to adapt, you don’t have a choice. But also that I can really have a happy life with this. A lot of things have just become routine for us and I don’t even think about it anymore. Yes, I sure would if I had the choice, but I’m not pathetic. I can still live a beautiful life.