Monday, December 22, 2014

Why Should I Do Range of Motion?

Use your good hand to make you arm that doesn't move touch each shoulder.

The picture above is a person doing a range of motion (ROM) exercise. Range of motion exercises "help keep a person's joints flexible, even if he cannot move by himself." You want to keep the joints working, because you may need them again.

The following pictures are mainly for caregivers. It is called "passive" Range of Motion when someone else does the exercise. It doesn't matter to the joint who does the moving, but that it is done.

Shoulder Range of Motion, Passive

Knee Range of Motion
(The caregiver may have trouble moving the knee. In this case, put your hand under the knee and pull up. The knee unlocks.)

You would want to do Range of Motion exercises every day if you plan on someday using the limb(s) you are currently not using. Also if you have splints or braces use them as you are told to. They help keep proper position.
When I was in the hospital, there was a middle-aged Hispanic woman. She probably had a stroke. She would wrap her foot around the bottom of her wheel chair. It was probably out of comfort the first times. The many times after were habit.
One day the Physical Therapist came by looking for candidates for a program that leads to walking. That woman was passed by. Her joints weren't working in the right way. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Brain Gets Better

This particular diagram also has the four lobes of the brain which may give you a clue to your own or loved one's injury.

Supposedly, I only have that area hanging down, the brainstem. I don't have any of those lobes.

I disagree with that (me not having lobes) immensely. My behavior suggests this, also. If I didn't have those lobes, I wouldn't be writing this.

In the beginning of my brain injury I didn't have use of those lobes. Here's the evidence:

I had no speech. I couldn't breath on my own all the time. (I was temporarily off the ventilator for this picture.) I couldn't type. I definitely could not write. This picture was 11 years ago from the time I am writing this.

I have speech now and breathe on my own. I also move body parts. I obviously move my left finger. That's what I am typing with. I don't have total use of those four lobes, but there's some. It's enough to get by and not be in a hospital. The brain does get better.


UPDATE 2/17/2017
That  picture of me above is 8 months after my brain injury, but I spent my first 2 months with my eyes closed. I was deep asleep in a coma. Wounds eventually heal. The brain isn't as least mine wasn't. I wasn't looking at the camera for that picture. I wasn't looking at anything. I was staring off into space. I cropped that out of a group photo.

Here is an updated picture 14 years after the injury:  

I remain in a wheelchair, but I push to a stand now. This area is very slow. All of this was typed with my left index finger. This makes sense when you figure I pointed at everything with that finger. Speaking- that took a long time. I did years of a single word, then two, and so on. It still improves, but most understand me now. For example, I can speak to customer service now on the phone for orders that I have placed. I have hopes that other areas will improve the longer I am around.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Short-term To Long-term

Does short-term memory transfer to long-term or do the memories never come back?

Repetition over and over is good for this. What is therapy? The therapist has you do the same exercise repeatedly. Whether it is speech, physical therapy, or occupational therapy. The therapist knows different activities and exercises that do the same thing so you don't get bored.

The skill learned will either transfer to long-term memory or become a habit. Either way it is learned. Memory coming back would be faster, but instead of waiting, just start teaching through repetition. If the person gets mad at you ("We already did this!") that's good. The memory is coming back. Just ask what should be done or what happens.

Don't be discouraged if you are repeating for years. Some brain injuries take longer.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Brain Injury and the Near Death Experience

The two happen together more times than reported. Symptoms of the Near Death Experience (NDE) are pawned off on the Brain Injury. The Brain Injury commonly creates memory loss. Any incident of death is forgotten. Behavior is subsequently changed. Although some behavior changes are due to the Brain Injury, some are due to the NDE.

The NDE is documented.
The following is a list of changes due to the NDE:

The Transformation
1. Death is joyous, safe, comfortable. a continuation, not to be feared.
2. Change in profession or job
3. Greater spiritual outlook on life
4. Increased risk taking
5.  Greater "zest for living". Life is for living, the "light" is for later.
6.  Greater appreciation of the daily struggles of ordinary life.
7.  Sense of meaning, even in the most mundane aspects of life.
8. Divorce is common.
9. Greater sensitivity to emotions, feelings, lessons of love.
10. Increased time spent with family, friends, social activities
11. Greater contributions to charity, volunteer service.
12. Decreased over the counter and illicit drug use.
13. More loving, caring for others.
14. More likely to be in a helping or service oriented profession.
15. Can be more resilient emotionally, take more emotional risks as transformation permits accelerated healing.
16. Become religious or spiritual leaders especially after Hellish experiences.

A person having a brain injury may have to go by their subsequent behavior and  reports of their injury to determine if  an  NDE occurred.


A famous Brain Injury and NDE. He remembers quite a bit. It's common to not remember any of it.

UPDATE 3/25/2017
I first had a video of Bob Woodruff telling Larry King that he saw his body. 


Friday, March 21, 2014

The Sensational Word "Traumatic"

Sensationalism happens in media. This may have happened with TBI.

"Traumatic Brain Injury" must have been used in a popular news story or TV program. The term is only used in America, and wasn't used until recently. It has become more frequently used in the last few years.

The BIA's position:

Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is defined as an alteration in brain function, or other evidence of brain pathology, caused by an external force.
Acquired Brain Injury
An acquired brain injury is an injury to the brain, which is not hereditary, congenital, degenerative, or induced by birth trauma. An acquired brain injury is an injury to the brain that has occurred after birth. 

They correctly use it. A TBI or Traumatic Brain Injury, in the medical sense is just one kind of brain injury. There is a "TBI" listed in the literature. "Traumatic" only is a descriptor meaning the injury came from an external force. There's stroke, cancer, and other reasons for a brain injury.

I like the NINDS, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, definition,  "Traumatic brain injury (TBI), a form of acquired brain injury, occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain." There  is no question.

I suspect "TBI" was initially used because of the increase in car accidents. More people were getting brain injuries.

I just say brain injury. When I say I have both it's because I had a stroke while driving. Initially everyone blamed the car accident, TBI, but come to find out, the stroke had been going on, ABI. Try and get a neurologist to volunteer to testify.... When the court finally determined the ABI was first, it was all made a pre-existing condition. Nothing was covered by workman's comp.

That's personal. What about the people around me? I'm not their doctor and I don't care how they got their injury.    

A good chart:

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Keep Going

A "cognitive psychologist has found evidence that the brains of these individuals may be highly plastic even years after being damaged." Touching the Brain

You keep doing your exercises after therapy stops. Money only goes so far in providing therapy. It eventually runs out. Once it does, it's up to you to keep doing the exercise.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

My Peg Board

*You do need movement in your arm. It doesn't need to be great, but you need to be able to lift it and extend it. If not, continue with Range of Motion, becoming more active than passive.

If you look in the bottom drawer of my end table, you will find this peg board,         
Surprised?  I'll still do things like these exercises, but those don't give an actual tool. The above is a thing, and it is used for developing the hands.   

Here I give an actual tool that you would see at therapy. I link to where to buy it. There are other places now. I didn't have much of a choice when I looked. There wasn't many websites back then, and  this one  had items I could use. There are probably cheaper ones available now, but I had to make do.

I can't give you a tool without telling you how to use it. I'm not an Occupational Therapist. I can only make suggestions as I used to do when doing early intervention. This item is non-gender specific and doesn't know age as it is a therapy tool.

1.Removing pegs

Five rows is five weeks, if you do one row a week with the bad hand. You can go faster or slower. You would place the pegs with your good hand and take them out with your bad hand. This particular set comes with a storage container. When taking the peg out, just place it in the container for easier clean-up. Putting it "in" a container is actually an activity all by itself.

2. Filling a container

Empty the container.  Using only your bad hand, pick-up each peg and place them in the container.

3.  Placing a peg

Put 1 in a hole using your bad hand. It may be difficult. Start only with 1 or 2. Place them anywhere on the board. Then attempt to do a row. You might be working on 1 row for a while. When you can finish 1 row, then the new exercise is 2. It will be like this for 5 rows. I like to go no faster than 1 row a week. Your eyes may want to go faster, but your hand needs to learn it.

These  exercises here should last around 3 months if you go fast. Repeat them and now it's a half a year. I want you to get the most for your money. So it needs to be something you will use for a while and something that will last. These are large pegs. There really isn't anything like that around the house.

#2 can be accomplished with any container of objects. I used marbles for my left hand, as that was all that was available.

Look around your house first. Some objects may have different uses. The following has different activities.

Saturday, January 11, 2014


(Pictures are a good way of preserving memories.)


If the memory was stored in the area of the brain that was damaged or is gone,  then there is a good chance the memory is gone.

"Good chance." It's not known for sure. One belief, and you won't find it in a science text is that memory is "non-local." That is it's not in the brain.

Now, if you prescribe to the government's decision that all the lobes of my brain are dead, and I only have brainstem, then all my memory must be non-local and I am tapping this knowledge through ESP.

A few years after my bleed a private institution removed the blood clot from my head that caused the severe brain injury. They are separate from the government. An MRI was done before and after surgery. If I didn't have brain activity then, they would have highly publicized it. I did have activity. The first  MRI should not be used to determine my current situation.

Now, there are some memories I don't have. I worried about that for a while. There were other things that had to be done, so I don't have time to fret about it.

For a long time I've thought music is very therapeutic. I believe music  lessons build the wiring needed for rewiring (neuroplasticity). Music lessons in early childhood is good for later life.

A recent study shows it is specifically good for brain injury later in life,  It brings back memories. This particular study used pop songs from the last few decades. These were songs that participants heard years earlier.

Remember how I said I thought music is somehow tied to wiring? Those lost memories had been somehow wired to those old songs.

Music is important to brain injury then. Not just any music. It will have to be the music you used to listen.

As for that theory that memory is non-local.... Well you didn't lose your memories. You lost your ESP. Music would just be making you psychic if you remember anything. 

*I am only addressing experiences that have been encoded.