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Friday, September 28, 2012

Continuing Symptoms 14 Months After The Accident

Starting on a positive note, I have experienced Improved Focus (at least two hours a day while I'm fully awake) in the last week. I believe the improvement has remained long enough that I can count it as a real improvement. I believe this improvement was made possible with the help of a new prescription I recently started taking, Abilify, 2 mg. I have found improved ability to focus, to the point that while I am awake, I sometimes feel as competent as before the accident. Unfortunately, my psychiatrist also decreased the level of stimulants I take, resulting in frequent mandatory naps resulting in fewer productive hours.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Everybody hurts sometimes

Sometimes bad things happen.  Currently, I am in the somewhat painful process of reconciling myself with the fact that not all unfair situations have a clear antagonist who can be properly blamed for any particular situation. There is not always someone to blame, and worse, looking for someone to blame only spreads the pain to others, and could actually make ME the one who is to blame for another person's pain.

For this reason, I have been careful to not identify caregivers when I complain about unpleasant events in my blog, and I intend to continue this policy. I do feel a level of compassion for those who have to endure people like me who have had bad experiences and are naturally looking to blame others when things go wrong for them. While I'm struggling to find a proper expression for my own anger at the moment, I recognize there are others who endure the anger of others like me for no good reason, other than that they had the courage and will to help, even when those they help are not appreciative and understanding as we ought to be.

When difficult times come, it always helps me to imagine myself in the other person's shoes and to experience their viewpoint as well as my own. Each person has more than enough trouble of their own, so be thankful when things go well, and try to be understanding when things don't go as well.

This is my advice to myself. I hope it helps others also. What do YOU think?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Symptoms: Lost two hours today

In anticipation of a doctor's appointment this morning, I was focused on making sure I had a list of Betty's meds handy, and the paperwork related to the at-home doctor visit for my wife. I was concerned about whether I would be able to remember whatever the doctor said during his visit, but he mostly took notes and interviewed Betty. After he left, I "crashed" mentally. As soon as I had completed writing notes to myself about the appointment, I recall my last thought was about what to fix for lunch. Then I "suddenly" woke up, having lost two hours. Still sitting at the computer, I posted the note above before I got up and took a proper nap which lasted until about 4:30 today. I never did remember to eat lunch. I have had a number of long "gaps" in my days recently. I assume I'm generally asleep during those periods, but on at least one recent occasion, I lost 5 hours, and had vague disconnected images in my mind of hunting for my Kindle reader. It had been lost, but when I regained consciousness, it was on my bedside table where I seemed to recall having purposely set it so I would find it when I was awake. That incident was a bit unsettling. I'm not sure what to think about it, but since it has been the only incident in which I know I was active while unconscious, I'm not too worried.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Imagining the dynamics of a closed-wound brain injury

I created this image this morning as I attempted to better understand the areas of my brain that would have been directly affected by my accident. My lack of knowledge of anatomy may be showing in this picture which superimposes a photo of me after the bicycle accident over an image of the brain. Initial impact does not necessarily predict where lesions in the brain may exist, since the brain floats inside the skull in a thick fluid. Rapid deceleration caused by the impact of an auto accident can cause the brain to rotate and bounce around inside the skull, injuring various areas. My affected areas appear to be the center left side, with secondary areas (due to rotation and "bounce" to the rear right side of the brain.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Big Bad Ideas: The Value of Arguement

Initially I thought of this post as extolling the value of social interaction to healing of the brain. I still suspect there is a connection, but when I reviewed what I had written, the post seemed to lack continuity, and it seemed to be more about relating essay writing (blogging) and aesthetic principles. So I decided to move the post to a more appropriate venue and simplify it at the same time. 

Big Bad Ideas: The Value of Arguement:

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Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Value of Arguement

I love arguing with my 18-year-old daughter. Since she is “officially” an adult, she feels free to express her disagreements with me, but she does it respectfully, and I make sure the respect goes both directions. When we argue I can feel something waking in the back of my brain that I think needs to be awakened more often. I’m not sure what that spark is, but I have no doubt this gentle father-daughter sparring is exactly the kind of therapy my healing brain needs.

Today we argued our views about the on-going dilemma of how to feed a cat that is never satisfied. It became obvious we both understood each other’s positions, and we didn’t agree. I think we should measure the cat’s food once each day, and use what was measured to feed him a little as he requests it, knowing that many of his requests are actually requests for attention. I think at the end of the day, when we head to bed, we should set the bowl on the floor and restart the cycle in the morning, and I think she would agree with me to that point. Where we disagree is on what to do when the remaining amount was not given to him the night before. I just start his new measured amount once the bowl is empty, knowing that if we measure his food once each day, that his average intake will be appropriate. My daughter prefers to add just enough food to the bowl to meet the new day’s amount. To my daughter, yesterday is history, and today is all that matters. She believes her method will enable our cat to loose weight faster. I’m sure she is correct, but I am equally focused on the cat’s enjoyment as I am on his health, and I think it is nice to give him the entire amount due, with less focus on when we measure his food each day.

Yesterday’s sparring was about my daughter’s English class. She finally had enough, and said she needed to leave the room to avoid getting upset. It was a minor clash. I would not call it a disagreement. Her tone was respectful. I think an eighteen-year-old adult needs to establish her own boundaries, and the parent of an eighteen year old adult needs to gracefully accept healthy expressions of independence as a GOOD thing; although, sometimes it is hard to let go of the former parent-child relationship and to embrace the new adult-adult relationship that must replace it.

I asked my daughter about how school has been going for her. As we discussed various classes she is taking, She mentioned that her English class is writing daily essays. That struck my interest, because as a home-schooling parent, I had taken pride in the writing guidance I provided to my students. We used the textbook “The Lively Art of Writing” (Payne, 1965which teaches that a well-written essay explores its topic by comparing and contrasting two sides of a “controversy” expressed in the thesis sentence. I won't try to represent my daughter’s view because it is likely I did not fully understand  her view well. and I don’t want to misrepresent her perspective. I’ll stick with what I know, which is my OWN view. 

First, there are multiple valid ways to write an essay, just there are multiple styles of music. The chromatic structure of Wagner or Debussy is as valid as Bach’s strict adherence to forms and scales. These structures each work to form the backdrop of their respective compositions, and while Bach might call Debussy “wrong” for his anarchical tendencies, I believe he would have been as enchanted by Debussy’s art as Debussy was, no doubt, envious and respectful of Bach’s mathematical precision. Today it would be wrong to judge either composer’s work on the basis of the other's perspective.

Essays are as much an art as music. They are aesthetic expressions, and as such, their value is found in how successfully they draw the reader into the writer's contextual backdrop to identify with the thesis or to reject it. A great writer makes the reader see new perspectives. A balanced presentation of facts creates the aesthetic backdrop of the  essay, and the opinions that are expressed, compared, and contrasted create the tension and release that makes the writing interesting and worthwhile.

(For more about my aesthetic ideas, see my previous essay on aesthetic meaning and value at


Payne, L. V. (1965). The lively art of writing. Chicago: Follett Pub. Co.

5 iPhone Apps You Should Be Using | John Fick Tech

One of the most useful resources I have found in my struggle with short-term memory loss has been smart-phone applications. I don't use an iPhone. My phone is an Android, and I will highlight a few "essential" Android apps in future posts, with Evernote a central part of my evolving plan, because it ties the output of my other applications together into my own personal searchable repository of knowledge.

5 iPhone Apps You Should Be Using | John Fick Tech

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