Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Balance Problems

     Some physician somewhere that I had to go see-- and I don't remember which one although I suspect it was the no-fault insurance company doctor. No-fault means "It ain't our fault so we ain't paying"-- gallantly informed me that since there was 'nothing wrong' with my inner ears ergo I do not have any balance problems. Dude clearly hadn't seen me in action. I can fall on level ground. 

     The needle-sticking neuro-doc directed me to tell him right away if I ever got dizzy. I wasn't dizzy. The room was dizzy and slid slowly to the left. Still does. He didn't ask me to speak up if the room got dizzy. So I never told him. Hey.

     It was the chiro-doc who first educated me about the two vertigos. The internal vertigo means I am dizzy. The external vertigo means the room is dizzy. I have the second one.  The room slides slowly to the left all of the time. During attacks of vertigo [and I've had a few of them], the room twirls to my left a bit faster than usual and also bobs up and down like ocean waves. The room and everything slides to the left. I fall to the right. 

     Yes, I fall more often these days. The latest fall involved a spill off of a step. I landed  *s p l a t*   on the hard earth. My lower legs resembled purple sleeves. There were also some lumps. After a week, I went to the primary care doc.

     "Leukemia?" I asked. 


     "The bruises. And the lumps." I pointed to my lower legs. "I'm going to have lumpy legs forever."

     The anxiety was pre-injury but let us just say that the t.b.i. did not improve that aspect of my psyche.

     I don't have leukemia. Armed with an explanation of exactly how bruising and lumps work, I left fortified with the knowledge that this may take up to two months to heal.

     I did mention that I went *s p l a t*.

     "You aren't using your cane," a buddy of mine accused me later.

     I shrugged. I've fallen with the cane too.

sapphoq healing traumatic brain injury says: Balance is one of those things that can be worked at and I do. Even so, I still go 
*s p l a t*  once in awhile. No reason to quit. I keep striving.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Concussions Can Be Serious-- Ya' Think?

     After my traumatic brain injury, I used to think frequently that "Not so many people give a crap about concussions or about t.b.i." That changed. First there was some news about our veterans returning from the battlefields with brain injuries. [I do have several relatives involved with the Wounded Warrior Project]. Then people decided to get excited about concussions in professional sports and in high school football.

     Attention can be a good thing. Awareness gets raised that way and suddenly one community passes a law about bicycle helmets. Another implements guidelines for high school athletes who get their heads banged in the field. 

     But attention can also be not so good. When the populace is not exposed to original research-- and don't know how to interpret it if the data was made available-- articles written for common folks can be mystifying and contradictory. In the references below, articles have maintained that either location of impact has little to no impact upon outcome or that top of the head impact is worse than other areas and is more likely to cause unconsciousness. Or that high school football players are most at risk for permanent cognitive effects. 

     Do you want to believe the professional athlete who has had three concussions and is not fazed by the idea that a fourth can end his career? Or do you want to believe those folks who are no longer able to work after what was initially diagnosed as a "brain bruise," "a concussion," "post-concussive syndrome," or nothing? Or the guy in the sailboat race who was hit hard by the boon in an accident, gets hospitalized for several weeks and almost dies, can return to work but is told he cannot ever sail again? Another injury to his head like the last one may well be his last one.

     The thing is, every head injury looks different. Whether it is a concussion-- a brain injury with no lasting effects-- or a brain injury that is judged to be a traumatic brain injury (which has lasting effects), or an acquired brain injury (from stroke or brain tumor removal etc.), every single head injury looks different. The t.b.i. survivor who did not lose consciousness at all may in fact be more permanently disabled than the survivor who arrived to the emergency room unconscious. Add to that, the reluctance of the adolescent to admit to having cognitive symptoms or how badly his or her head hurts and the denial of the professional athlete who figures the glory of the game is of higher priority than the integrity of the brain.

sapphoq healing traumatic brain injury says: Those of us who have had brain damage know how serious any injury to the head can be. We also know that repeated concussions can alter brain functioning permanently. 




        The article that I liked the best.










         From an attorney website, sorry.

         Guidelines from the Mayo Clinic re: sports-related concussions in schools.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Don't Have a T.B.I. in Kansas

     Even though there really is no "treat" in the word treatment, Medicaid denying access to services for a young man with a complex set of behaviors related to the after-effects of his traumatic brain injury is-- in my unasked for opinion-- inexcusable. The young man is a resident of the state of Kansas. His mother does not know what to do with him or for him. She cannot handle him due to problematic behaviors which have caused him to wind up in jail. While in jail, he had a seizure. The seizures are another, ahem, "gift" of his damaged brain.

     My own experiences with insurance companies causes me to believe pretty much that they are not interested in paying for t.b.i. services. Especially when no-fault car insurance is in effect. No-fault simply means "This ain't out fault and we ain't paying." The workers' comp company was similarly disinterested in paying my bills. Consequently, the only therapies I received were physical therapy [which did help immensely], vision therapy [which has not been medically proven], and a few sessions with a quack "cognitive art therapist" who threw me out because I refused to go to her personal internist to be prescribed medications. [I already had my own most excellent professionals in place]. The word quack is used as an adjective. People who claim to have a PhD [thirty-five bucks and a copy of a book describing her own history with brain injuries-- nine to be exact-- got her a piece of paper] from an alleged mail-order fake college may not be totally honest about their qualifications. I was told in t.b.i. chat that I had to take charge of my own rehab. This certainly has proven to be true.

     But the young man in Kansas is not able to do what I did. Some folks can't because of their level of impairment and that is a fact. Period. Meanwhile, Medicaid refused him admittance to a long-term program of six months to a year as an in-patient in a hospital as a patient with t.b.i. I feel bad for both the young man and his mother. 

     It seems that unless news items involve the word sports or the word veteran, some percentage of the population does not understand, does not wish to understand [in the case of employers and past employers], or cannot understand that head injuries can bring on complex symptoms which don't go away by wishing. A Vermont ski area certainly does not wish to understand [in my opinion via perusal of a court order] that the head and the neck are connected and that headaches certainly do originate in the head. I feel badly for the young man involved in that court case. He was a volunteer at the ski resort and was severely injured when snowboarding off the mountain. His injuries included but were not limited to a traumatic brain injury.

sapphoq healing brain damage says: Rehabbing someone with a traumatic brain injury costs money. Every brain injury is different. What happens to us in the aftermath may be very complex. We who have lived through brain injuries are people and we deserve competent treatment. What price are you insurance companies putting on our heads??? FAIL.