Saturday, October 17, 2015

When the Helping Professionals Fail

     There are some general facts to which I subscribe and which are responsible to a large degree for my thinking and actions in certain key areas in my life.

a). The government is not responsible for my health, welfare, or happiness.
b). No other agency is either.
c). If I want something different, then I have to do something different.
d). It takes courage to ask for help.
e). It takes guts to get out when said help is becoming a hindrance.

     Within the past decade or so, I have experienced repeated actions of a particular agency-- whose described mission is to foster vocational rehabilitation among the disabled population who it claims to serve-- which appear to be contrary to its stated mission. The last straw was the supposed procurement of part-time work that I could have performed at home during my own scheduled hours. The job was temporary and seasonal. Although I'd been led to believe erroneously that the work itself would employ my ability to doctor photos [and it actually would not], I was willing to give it a go anyway.

     It was not to be. Contract was supposed to start mid-September until the work ran out sometime in December. I would have had bits of things to do throughout the year after that until the next cycle of mid-September through December [the busy time] and so on.

     State agency had to do its paperwork. Sister agency that was going to pay me for the first one hundred hours or so had to do its paperwork. Meetings had to be held. It became mid-October. Nothing was happening. I received word yesterday that my services would not be needed after all.

     I don't blame the employer for backing out. Business is business. Employer needed someone from mid-September, not from mid-October or afterwards. Neither is this one my fault. No love to the bean counters and pencil pushers for this state of affairs.

sapphoq healing t.b.i. says: I have referred myself to my own factoid labeled e). It takes guts to get out when said help is becoming a hindrance. I'm out. I have other options today. Screw your broken system. If you aren't going to help me, then get out of my way

Monday, July 13, 2015

Stop Hurting That Tree!

     I was out walking with the dying dog today [she has terminal liver failure but so far is comfortable and still eating and holding her own three months post diagnosis] when I came upon a mixed bunch of kids-- some were teens and some younger-- gathered around two trees. The older kids were harassing one of the trees. 

     Specifically, they were grabbing onto one of the lower branches, yanking down to several feet from the ground, and then attempting to sit on the branch and bounce on it. There were no adults in sight. [The kids were at some sort of day camp I think]. The property being used was board of education, i.e. school, property.

     The tree branch was not designed for what it was being put through.

     I had several choices. I mulled them over in my brain. I decided to do something in spite of my reluctance to get involved and my uncomfortability factor.

     I stood there with my hands on my hips. Then I projected my voice as loudly as it could go without giving myself coughing spasms. [My voice is soft. What other people consider to be "conversation level" sounds frightfully loud to me].

     "Why are you hurting that tree?" I asked.
     "Stop hurting that tree!"
     and finally, "Let go of that tree!"

     The adolescents-- to their credit-- did. A younger boy who was not involved in the tree incident waved at me in a friendly fashion. I waved back at him.

     A young adult then appeared at the doorway. The adolescents and basketballs dispersed. "Well, get into your groups," he told the junior high and elementary school aged children. He could not look me in the eye. I am not a proponent of eye contact so this was fine with me. 

     Life went on.

     Here is a picture of the tree an hour after having its branch jerked around. The branch is not where it should be. The teens were really going at it and I was afraid that the branch was going to be broken off.

The picture shows a large pine tree. A bottom branch was pulled from six feet to the ground a lot of times and it is out of position an hour later.
Bottom branch of this tree was pulled from about six feet to the ground numerous times. Picture was taken an hour later with the branch still not in its proper position. I took the picture myself so go away copyright monopoly trolls. You are not welcome here.

 sapphoq healing t.b.i. and resultant brain damage says: Speaking up is part of being a responsible community citizen. When choosing to do so, pick your words carefully. Do not attack the person, only the action. Those children and teens that you do not understand will be here long after both of us are dead and gone.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Oliver Sacks is Dieing

     Oliver Sacks has long been on my list of people I would dearly love to hang out with for an hour or two. He is a renown neurologist whose books gave me hope after my own diagnosis of traumatic brain injury incurred during a motor vehicle accident. Like me, Oliver Sacks has prosopagnosia, although I suspect that my case of face-blindness is more mild than his. Also like me [and Sir Terry Pratchett who died recently], Oliver Sacks is an atheist.

     Oliver Sacks has terminal cancer. My world was made a bit more beautiful by his presence in my library.

     I am grateful to Oliver Sacks for gently teasing out the mysteries of neurological conditions and for presenting his patients as human beings first.

     I love you Oliver Sacks.   

Oliver Sacks essay:

recent articles referencing Oliver Sacks:  an old article about face blindness or prosopagnosia

other info about prosopagnosia:

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Brain News

Brad Dearth was in a car accident at the age of seven. He was not expected to survive but he did. He had a difficult time for many years but then relocated to Duluth, Minnesota from Ohio. In Duluth, he received the support that he needed. He speaks to classes of nursing students about his experiences. Dearth has a self-published book due out on Monday.

Best wishes to Brad Dearth! Don't ever give up on yourself.

Tyra Janelle Brown, a high school senior in Spoto [Florida], suffered a traumatic brain injury during a freak accident on an expressway. She is currently being treated in Atlanta. Her mother is by her side.

Students in Tyra's school have rallied together to support Tyra in her struggles. They have been planning and participating in a multitude of fund-raisers.

A shout-out to the students and others who are helping Tyra and her family during this difficult time! Best wishes, Tyra! Remember that it takes courage to dream new dreams.

Krista Krebs does not allow her brain injury to dictate how she lives her life. She was injured as a senior in high school She is currently a student at Penn State and determined to graduate in 2010. In spite of physical pain and complications from her t.b.i., she is thriving at school in her chosen field.

Best wishes, Tyra! Keep on keeping on.

Repeated clinical trials have demonstrated that progesterone has no effect on outcomes or reduced mortality when used to treat patients with traumatic brain injuries.

Although this sounds like discouraging news, we need solid medical research that demonstrates what doesn't work as well as what does work.

A shout-out to JAMA and other scientific peer-review journals!

sapphoq healing brain damage says: Life does not have to grind to a halt after a traumatic brain injury. Regardless of any personal difficulties or degree of disability, it is possible to have a productive and meaningful life.

I have self-published two e-books. They are currently only available at Barnes & Noble. You can check them out here:

The books-- one pretty cool novel and one about being in x.a. recovery as an atheist-- are e-pubs without any D.M.C.A. crap applied. Those who buy them are free to use python scripts or other conversion tools [like Calibre or Epubor Ultimate] in order to be able to read them across their devices. The books are published under a creative commons license.

I have also learned to take halfway decent photos with my cheap digital camera and a cheap cellphone. I enjoy altering them as I see fit. Here is one of them:

It's mine. I made it myself. I took the photo with my cellphone on a snowy day in the woods and then added the words using my legally obtained copy of PaintShopPro 10. Go away copyright trolls. You are not welcome here ever. Period.
The rest of you are free to download and save it to your computer and to upload it to any social media site on the web of your choosing. Or not.

Follow me on Twitter(tm) if you want to.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Brain News

Take it, use it, but don't hot-link it. Credit and link back not necessary.

From Science Daily:

From Science Daily: It turns out that Broca's area is more of speech and language synthesizer rather than a producer. When we speak out loud, the Broca's area shuts down. Results are from a very small sample-- seven patients with epilepsy-- and so I suspect that the study will have to be replicated on a larger scale. Still, this is intriguing to me.

Also from Science Daily:

There are two pathways for visual information [not just one as previously thought]. New techniques involving M.R.I. have revealed evidence that-- especially in children-- when the primary pathway is damaged, a secondary pathway can re-route around the primary.
My special [t.b.i.] eye doc told me that "the eyeballs are the outcropping of the brain." Visual acuity is indeed separate from ocular-motor function or dysfunction.

From The Hindu:

The organs from a brain-dead woman were harvested and saved three lives.

From Chronicle Live U.K.:

An English woman who sustained severely debilitating brain damage early on in life was awarded a huge amount of money. The money will enable her aged parents to move to a larger home [they are her primary caretakers] so that the woman can remain in the community rather than suffer institutionalization and will also ensure her well-being after their deaths.

From National Geographic [on-line]:

A short interview involving blast-induced traumatic brain injuries being sustained by our service people. And a cool mask.

From Yahoo News:;_ylt=AwrBEiQZDeVUiDIAQVrQtDMD

I could have told the researchers this [if they had known to ask]. I have ocular-motor dysfunction caused by my t.b.i. Yeah, I do rather horribly on eye tracking tests. My eyeballs don't play nicely with my brain or with each other.

From North Jersey [dot com]:

A man who sustained serious head trauma approximately five years ago plans to bike across the country to raise awareness of traumatic brain injury. This is a wonderful thing! You go, Daniel Mollino!

From W.B.T.V.:

R.I.P. little four year old Kalih Davenport. Her step-father rammed her head into a wall, leaving her with brain damage. She has since died. 

From York Press in the U.K.:

A young woman claims during trial that after two men beat on a fellow, she went upstairs and was on Facebook. She didn't realize until later that he was bloodied up in her cupboard.
Hearty wishes go out to Adam Blythe who sustained brain damage and other injuries from the attack.

From I09:

A curious article about changing food tastes after brain damage brought on via stroke or t.b.i.

sapphoq healing traumatic brain injury

Sunday, January 25, 2015


I took the photo myself and I can prove that. I added the caption with my legally obtained digital photography software. Copyright monopolist trolls are not welcome here. All others may save the pic to your computer if you want to and use it on social media if you want to. Credit and link back to this blog not necessary. Just please don't claim it as yours and no hot-linking. The photo is copyleft. Thanks.

     Whatever organizing skills that I had pre-traumatic brain injury have gone the way of my old multi-tasking skills. I now have the help of a friend who knows how to organize. I point to stuff and the friend organizes it.

     I no longer have a problem with throwing out or getting rid of stuff that is no longer useful to me. I can't remember why I wanted it in the first place.

     I suspect that I am not the "only" citizen in this community who has problems with household organization. And I also suspect that I am not the only t.b.i. survivor with this problem. I'm fortunate that our situation allows us to hire someone to help with this. And I also know that not everyone with a similar problem can afford to hire help.

     Offering me an hour visit with an occupational therapist who might want to offer tips on how to make housework less exhausting is something that I do not find to be of value to me in my situation. I also deem that particular suggestion as impractical. 

sapphoq healing traumatic brain injury asks: To the "helping" professionals in my life and in the lives of other folks with traumatic brain injuries and/or other disabilities: Would you put a small square of sterile cloth on a deep cut that calls for stitches?
     Your offer of quasi-assistance is hereby rejected. If you aren't going to help me, then don't hinder me. Just get out of my way. The quick fix is worthless in the complexity of our individual lives. No love.