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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I AM NOT A DOCTOR



... nor do I play one on television
Disclaimer to my disclaimer: As I discussed the importance of citing sources in this post, I continued to fail to properly cite all sources. I have at least provided links, but links are not a substitute for properly sourced material. I INTEND to properly cite all sources in all posts of this blog in proper APA style, as time and my capabilities permit. I also intend eventually to publish a bibliography of sources, broken down by subject areas, in the form of a series of literature reviews.

This post is a disclaimer. As I consider writing about various topics that will require some research, I intend to hold myself to the highest academic standards, to ensure that the information I provide is accurate and trustworthy, but I am writing this blog because I recently suffered a brain injury, and my judgement and actions don't always meet my own standards, so I must ask my readers to help me to maintain academic integrity, by holding me accountable to my own standards, posting comments when necessary to keep this blog, and eventually the entire resource website, trustworthy and authentic.

I never intended to get as personal as I intend to get in this post, but understanding the author's perspective can be helpful in evaluating the usefulness of information and opinions. Over the years, people have expressed the opinion that I am "brilliant" and "knowledgeable," but the fact is, my "superpower" is my imagination. I invent what I don't know or don't remember, but then I verify the information before I disseminate it to others. My constructed knowledge of how things work is generally accurate, so my invented "facts" can usually be documented with little difficulty. My backward method may be cheating, I suppose; some might call it lying (I would NEVER make up facts that weren't true!), but I justify my approach based on my obsession with continuous self-checking and documentation of sources. Sometimes I refer to this process as a "reality check," because unchecked confabulation would undermine the usefulness of this project.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Outbursts of anger may be symptomatic of TBI,

but they do NOT EXCUSE mistreating people


Disclaimer: When I started this blog, I made a decision to avoid mentioning names of medical providers until I consider myself as “recovered” as I’m going to get. That choice is because I realize my own perspective changes over time, and the stages of my recovery affect those perspectives. I don’t want to assign inappropriate blame. In keeping with this principle, I intend to obfuscate details that could allow identifying individuals or organizations. On the other hand, in the end, I hope to be able to commend some of these providers who have helped me, following the principle I used as a parent, to praise in public and correct in private. Today I have an unhappy experience to describe, and so I will be on-guard to ensure the innocent and the guilty are equally protected from identification. I also intend to be very clear that no circumstances justify mistreating other people. Even shouting at someone is a form of violence, and is unacceptable.

I have been told that outbursts of anger are a common symptom of traumatic brain injury. (Rao, Rosenberg, Bertrand, Salehinia, Spiro, Vaishnavi, Rastogi & Noll, 2009)

I have NOT been told, nor would I accept, that TBI is an EXCUSE for mistreating fellow human beings, regardless of circumstances. Shouting at another person is a form of violence and is unacceptable under any circumstances, and I am ashamed to admit, I failed to control my temper today.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Why yes, I AM brain-damaged! How astute of you to notice!

"Why yes, I AM brain-damaged! 
 How astute of you to notice!
 Were you run down by a car too?"

(I thought about saying that, but instead I said, "thank you for your help," with a smile.)

NOTE TO SELF: It is probably NOT a good strategy to voice your thoughts to stay focused while in public.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Symptoms approximately one year after the accident

I broke my glasses recently and my daughter repaired them for me. She said not to worry. She knows how I value my nerd image... I actually used a modified version of her idea with the soda straw (with black electrical tape) for a couple of days, but I had Jonathan pick up another pair of cheap reading glasses, I popped out the lenses, replaced them with my own, and now they look better than ever!

Following instructions I found online, I microwaved a small bowl of detergent-water to use to soften the plastic before exchanging the lenses (not hot enough to scald, but almost that hot). 

http://t.co/sQe5bYlH

My expression in this photo really captures how I feel most of the time when I'm "awake." It's not a bad feeling per se, but I'm clearly not fully awake. Keep in mind, this is my state after taking an unheard of 500 mg dose of Nuvigil PLUS 70 mg of Vyvance, 200 mg of caffeine, hormonal supplements, 3 grams of Niacin (NOT non-flushing, but the kind that makes you tingle all over) and listening to binaural beats designed to pace brain frequencies in the range known to be associated with attention, intelligence, and creativity!

I would think most healthy people would be so wired with what I'm doing that they would be jumping out of their skin, but most of the time, I'm just awake enough that I can read and talk with only a little difficulty, and I can accomplish tasks as long as I have someone helping me periodically to focus and move forward.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Prioritized action list for the memory impaired


This list is subject to change and improvement. The goal is to make the list useful by keeping it simple.

  1. Review schedule first each day
  2. Review tasks second each day
  3. Maintain a paper list of ideas and commitments as they come up, before doing anything else
  4. When unrecorded time commitments exist, they must be recorded before anything else is done, with alarms and at least one secondary plan to keep the commitment, such as a partner who will also get the reminder.
  5. Keep a repository (a file or a repository of scanned items) of new mail and messages that cannot be ignored. Throw away items that can be ignored. (Allen, 2002)
  6. Distinguish between remaining items that need action versus items to be archived for their information. (Allen, 2002)
  7. Schedule action for items that need action, and followup for items that need followup. 
  8. Index (tag) items in the archives
  9. Write a daily task list
  10. Keep a journal of activities. Index (tag) journal entries.



Reference:

Allen, D. (2002). Getting things done: The art of stress-free productivity. (Kindle ed.). New York:
          Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Big Bad Ideas: The best part of wakin' up...

Big Bad Ideas: The best part of wakin' up...:

'via Blog this'

This "best part of wakin' up" post is one of my all-time personal favorite posts, but it does not seem to have earned much attention.

The Kindness of Strangers

Earlier this week I fumbled while filling my prescriptions and Betty's for the day. The next day, one of Betty's prescription bottles which had just been refilled for three months was missing. I looked everywhere including the trash and behind my desk, but the bottle was missing. Our insurance would not pay for a lost bottle of meds, but some anonymous person (I "suspect" the pharmacist) paid for the refill. She would not tell me who to reimburse (eventually) or even how much it costs. She suggested we "pay it forward" someday.


Today's experience has almost become routine for me, but I hope I never lose my sense of awe. Whenever I encounter inflexible bureaucrats, or even just individuals whose response when they hear about my difficulties is to "just push through it," kind acts like the one I experienced today more than make up for the harsh realities that would otherwise beat me down.


I want to challenge my readers to be one of those kind strangers to someone else, expecting nothing but the possibility that they might someday show kindness to someone else.


Have you been a kind stranger to someone recently?






Another "kind stranger," SpellCheckPlus, gave me a free subscription to their online grammar checker. Their valuable tool enables me to write intelligibly in spite of my current limitations.
Bookmark the link above, and try the free version of this tool the next time you want an understandable spelling and grammar critique of your writing.