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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."

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