Follow by Email

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.

Lost Moments (lost minutes, lost hours...)
With the continued problem of lost periods of time, and still having only two productive work hours per day before my day becomes unpredictable with sudden periods of unconsciousness, I am nearly as incapable of doing meaningful work as I was when I could not focus.

Increased Severity of Old Difficulties
It is my opinion that my lost gaps of time are my perception of a combination of simpler symptoms like falling asleep a few moments at a time, or amnesia. Just today, I was working at my computer and was suddenly startled to realize my son had asked me for a ride to a meeting, and over a half hour had passed since he asked. Fearing I had ignored him until he walked, or worse, that he might be waiting in the car, I hurried outside to see if he was in the car. He was not in the car, and he was obviously not home. I felt disappointed with myself that I had not come through for my son when he asked me to give him a ride. I spent several minutes trying to retrace my steps to recall what had happened between the time Jonathan asked for a ride, and the time I "woke up" to realize I had let him down. I instinctively glanced at my watch, thinking it was almost time to pick him up, when I remembered that when I dropped Jonathan off, he had asked me to make sure my phone's ringer was working as soon as I arrived home, so he could reach me when he called for a ride home. That was how I recalled driving my son to the meeting.

A recent post on Facebook
Even before my accident I had been diagnosed with narcolepsy, however the combination of a CPAP machine to combat sleep apnea, with a prescription of Provigil had the sleep apnea under control until the accident. Prior to my accident I had only recorded one incident of suddenly loosing consciousness while involved in some activity. That one incident involved a private meeting with my boss. When I awakened with drool dripping onto the table, there was not much to say, except to apologize. I believe I said something like, "I'll be setting an appointment with my doctor to correct this problem immediately after this meeting." (Prior to that impromptu lunch-hour meeting, I had been planning to forego lunch in preference of a nap, which would have prevented the incident.)

Now, I loose consciousness quickly with little warning. From the time I begin feeling fatigued until I loose consciousness is frequently just a few moments from my perspective. When I feel sleep coming on, I MUST stop any potentially dangerous activity such as driving a car, and immediately take a nap. Sometimes I will try to force myself to "push through" work at my desk, but the results are usually not positive. I either do work that must be carefully reviewed later, or worse, I fail to review work that needed review.

Anger Management
It would "almost" be better if I was still having difficulty focusing, because the frustration of increased awareness of my difficulty is not pleasant, and I have recently had increased difficulty controlling anger when the innocent actions of others conflict with my attempts to make my life flow more smoothly.

Other Miscellaneous Symptoms
I continue having numbness to varying degrees across the right side of my body. At this moment, my big toe is completely numb, as is an area of my outer thigh on the right side. To a lessor extent, I currently have partial numbness in my right wrist, my right foot, and right upper thigh, including those areas I normally don't discuss, especially with doctors, who I really don't want to have poking and prodding that area.... I used to have occasional numbness on my left side, which I attributed to poor circulation, but this numbness on the right side is different. It comes with a sense of "virtual" shaking, sort of like shivering with cold that feels on the verge of happening, but is not yet happening. (I also have similar "shaking" feelings at those times when I am suddenly overcome with sleep.) My EEG's have not shown any evidence of seizures, although they have shown evidence that I'm actually asleep when I appear to be awake.

New Symptoms
I have had a couple of new symptoms that I have not yet discussed with the neurologist. The first symptom has been building gradually so that I did not notice it until it had almost become debilitating: I no longer swallow correctly when mucus from my sinuses naturally builds up in my throat. Instead, a sensation of choking slowly builds up until I have to stop everything and deal with the problem, but by that time, I'm gagging and at the edge of throwing up. I don't know why I can't make myself swallow to take care of the problem, but I can deal with the problem by drinking a lot of water. I have no difficulty swallowing water, and I can deal with my difficulty quietly while I drink from a gator-aide bottle.

Another new issue that has crept up on me is difficulty walking correctly. I don't tend to notice the problem until my knees and other joints in my legs become painful, but what I have noticed is that I am locking my knees whenever I walk. I don't think I had this problem right after the accident.

Finally, one "symptom" I have read regarding brain injuries is that the set of symptoms changes continuously, making communication with medical professionals even more difficult.

In posting these details, I feel a bit uncomfortable: not that I mind discussing these things, but that I wonder about how useful the information is to others. I don't want to be posting material that will not benefit my audience. I would appreciate feedback from readers. Please let me know which posts are helpful, and which posts are really a waste of time to read.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I am developing a prototype resources website at Please review my plans and make suggestions.

I welcome comments that can help make this site more helpful to those experiencing similar difficulties, or for those friends, family, and professionals who take care of bicycle injury / brain trauma.victims.

Since I want this site to be helpful to victims, I reserve the right to edit comments if they seem to conflict with that goal.

Helpful comments would include corrections of false information, references to local services that relate to my posts, or comments that help me to keep spelling, grammar, and word-choices appropriate and correct. As a brain injury victim, I depend on others to insure accuracy and to spot the kinds of errors that I may not recognize. Please feel welcome to contribute your expertise to make this site effective!