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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tales from THE VOID: Definition of "THE VOID."

To put a lighter spin on an otherwise darker time in my life, I have labeled it "the void." 

(mindmaster123, ©2010, All rights reserved.)
This post was written October 15, 2012, to introduce a set of back-dated posts from between December 2011 and March 2012, possibly with a few posts outside that range.

THE VOID, as I use the term, can be any period of time during which I was obviously awake and active, but for which I have no recollections. It also refers to a very specific period of about three months from the end of December 2011 until the middle of the first week of March. I have evidence of some activity in the form of Facebook posts, some of which make me feel paranoid when I read them. I have actually asked myself whether it is possible someone else hijacked my account and posted entries, but I know that is not what happened. Some of the posts from that period are nonsense, while others sound very reasonable. As I continue working on "filling out" this record of my recovery, I will be finding appropriate excerpts from "THE VOID," but rather than explaining the term each time I use it, I will be linking to this post to explain the term.

Reference:

mindmaster123. (Artist). (2010). Flashes in the void. [Web Drawing]. Retrieved from
          http://www.newgrounds.com/art/view/mindmaster123/flashes-in-the-void

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Hit by a car while bicycling


July 10, 2012, I copied this entry from an old Facebook entry dated Sunday, December 18, 2011 at 7:06pm: I decreased the color intensity in these pictures so they would not look quite so shocking. I understand the police also took photos at the scene of the accident, but I have not seen them. Laura took these photos with her cell phone so that I could see what the injury looked like to others.

June 23, 2011 in Plymouth, Indiana
Hopefully temporary, I am currently disabled due to a brain injury that has put many aspects of my life on hold for a while. Every day it seems something changes. My neurologist expects me to be as recovered as I'm going to be by spring of 2012*, but he also recommended I begin the long process of applying for disability "just in case" the disability proves to be permanent. For a while vertigo seemed to be my worst symptom. There was permanent damage to the inner ear on the left side, and it appears the left side no longer holds the fluid that is used for balancing. Physical therapy to eliminate the sensation of the world spinning when I look up, combined with daily eye exercises designed to help my eyes make up for the loss of balance have together eliminated most of the vertigo. I still get a "blank" somewhat "confused" feeling if I look up and slightly to the right, but the feeling goes away quickly. I also get a similar "confused" feeling if visibility is low and my surroundings are complex with lots of things to see, such as driving in heavy traffic in the rain. I lost the ability to work with numbers in my head, doing simple arithmetic of the kind used every day for price comparisons. With Audra's help keeping me on track, I have been re-learning my multiplication tables, and drilling on simple multidigit addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems. The most disabling aspect of my injury has been a general feeling of mental "fog" and difficulty concentrating, combined with extreme mental fatigue after a short session of concentrating. Until last week, I was averaging 18 hours of sleep each day. To help me get past these problems, my doctors have prescribed stimulants and hormone supplements to help me focus. I have been told my EEG showed alpha waves indicating sleep while I was being interviewed, listening and responding to questions. Since the accident, I have felt as if I am partly asleep most of the time, although that has gotten better in the last few days. Three brain scans have indicated significant inflammation around the sinuses. I suspect (without a doctors opinion) that my previous chronic sinus inflammation has been antagonized by this head injury, possibly affecting the pineal gland, which regulates production of a variety of hormones, and also directly affecting the thyroid through drainage inflammation in the throat. I have also lost some short-term memory, and I think the loss of short-term memory is actually the cause of my difficulty with simple math. I have discovered that only "audible" memory seems affected, and I am learning to substitute visual memory. Regardless of my opinions, blood tests showed my hormone levels were low, and supplementing them has helped significantly. A positive effect of my injury seems to be that my reading ability has improved since the accident. I think it is because of having to abandon audible processing as I read. I am actually reading several times faster with better retention now that I am using visual processing exclusively, and not mentally hearing what I read. As I relearn various tasks using visual memory exclusively, I think similar benefits may show themselves in other areas also. I am encouraged by the possibility that I may be more competent than before after I have completely healed. Police report: http://bit.ly/MYDh2O

* original text said "...by spring of 2011."

Friday, June 24, 2011

Facebook comments after my bicycle accident

Posted July 11, 2012, these individual Facebook comments were dated as they happened. At the time, I had no idea how severe the injury would eventually prove to be.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bicycle crash location and description

4-way intersection Harrison and Plum

(This entry was written May 27th, almost a year after the accident it describes)

This is an image of the intersection where I was hit by a car June 23, 2011. Based on the number of accidents here, apparently this is a dangerous intersection, yet the view is wide open from all directions. North-South traffic is required to stop. East-West traffic does not stop.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/confabulation
I hesitate to comment about my accident because I don't remember the accident, and my disconnected recollected images don't match the reports of witnesses. A version of the police report with names redacted can be viewed at http://bit.ly/LsPab7. Since I don't remember the accident, this report provides the only objective information I have about it. Whenever I have been asked what happened in the accident, I repeat what is in this report, but truthfully, I don't trust the report because it contradicts my recollections.

On the other hand, I don't trust my recollections either. My "recollections" are not in the form of a clear memory. They take the form of a series of disconnected images that may have been dreams. My only reliable memories are that I was in a hurry to ride across town, pick up the car my daughter had driven to work, use the car to drive my son home from work, and then return the car. I also clearly recall a moment in which an ambulance technician informed me that I had been in an accident, and that I was about to be loaded onto an ambulance. I think he may have asked some questions also, but I don't recall.

Witnesses say the car that hit me was coming from the North. I know (from the purpose and urgency of the trip) that I was headed East on Harrison.

I seem to recall a policeman interviewing me 
at the hospital. The policeman seemed to believe I had been riding South on Plum street. He kept asking whether I was riding on Plum street rather than Harrison as I had reported. It seemed he was attempting to resolve a conflict. I did not recall getting hit, but I clearly recalled my point of origin, and the purpose of my trip. No other direction of travel would have made sense. I was definitely headed East on Harrison, although I may have turned South suddenly to avoid the accident.

One of my broken, disconnected recollections of the accident was of seeing a North-bound person sitting at the intersection of Harrison and Plum with a horrified look on her face, and  looking my direction. I remember wondering why she was concerned.... 

Bicyclist's view of the intersection of Harrison and Plum. Notice how open the view is for a South-bound traveler. Notice there are no stop signs facing East-West travelers.

Plum street South-bound perspective of the intersection of Harrison and Plum. Notice the open view of Harrison to the right. Notice the stop sign. The witness mentioned in the police report would have had this perspective also.
Plum street North-bound perspective of the intersection of Harrison and Plum. The expression on the face of a woman stopped at this stop sign may have been my first warning that the driver who hit me had not stopped. 
References:
Google Maps. (2012). West Harrison Street / North Plum Street [Street map]. Plymouth, Indiana. http://bit.ly/KGGCRN