May 2021 Brain Injury
Brain injury is so strange to us because, despite our vast knowledge of the brain, we barely understand it. I can write small, sort/of-poetic observational tweets, or copy-and-paste a few sentences from one of my Psychology Today articles or brain injury pages into Hootsuite to post, but now six weeks after my new concussion, I still find it difficult to compose emails, blog posts, or to update my “What is Brain Injury?” page with a couple of sentences. Already dictating (or thumbing on my iPhone) this paragraph is giving me a headache. Editing it is upping the headache into adding wooziness (a kind of lesser version of post-brain-injury dizzy). I guess woozy is an improvement over dizzy with a side of nausea. Sigh.
Since my three-week update, we’ve discovered that Ms-Supersensitive here, has become even more sensitive to treatments. So not only do I respond quickly to little neurostimulation, I now need even less stimulation in order to heal my newest brain injury to get back to where I was in my 2000 car crash brain injury. (I have the same issue with medications.) Too much stimulation after this new concussion apparently introduced new symptoms. It’s like pushing your badly sprained ankle into speed walking without any gradual ramp up. So we’ve dialled it back.
I now use the lowest setting of the neck protocol on my low-intensity laser therapy home device, and I use the red lights only. No more infrared. I use it every other night. At night to calm the nervous system, which should aid sleep, and every other night to give my brain a break. I also place the vertical placement higher to cover the cerebellum; that has diminished the fasciculations that appeared in one leg nightly to almost none. Fasciculations — fancy word for twitching, eg, like eye twitching.
On alternate days I use the gamma 36-42Hz protocol on my audiovisual entrainment device. Most days I use the SMR/Beta protocol several hours apart from any other treatment, using mostly white lights, a kind of basic or lowest setting on the colour spectrum. And when I need to treat my low back, knee, or midback with low-intensity laser therapy, I use the neck protocol, red lights only, several hours apart from any other treatment.
Reading is pretty much back to where it was before the new concussion, except for stamina. But it continues to increase for both ebook and audiobook reading.
Focus remains a bit scattered when talking or writing. I start off OK then it starts to deteriorate. Fatigue plus whatever damage happened that’s still being rewired.
Walking remains much slower with much less stamina. But the dizziness and nausea has improved to wooziness. I need to stop to rest every so often. And I’m back to leaning heavily on my cane when walking around people and traffic from their motion and unpredictability unbalancing me. It doesn’t help that people think masks are no longer needed. Dummies. Inconsiderate dummies.
I can use my laptop for disciplined 5-minute stints at a time with deep-breathing eyes-closed breaks. For about a half hour. I get fairly dizzy but no longer nauseated. Eye tracking is improving, but I’m not really back on my main computer yet with its much larger screens. I do try every week or so. But it makes me dizzy and nauseated. Awful.
I’m so over the retrain-the-brain thing. Third effing time at it. That’s partly why my improvement is slow, except for reading: lack of disciplined daily practice.
For practice plus treatment equals noticeable almost-daily improvement.
I read daily. I don’t practice anything else daily. I’m sick of it. So I walk when others make it happen or when I feel like I can deal with the regression. Same with writing or social media. I am tweeting about once a day or reading a few briefly, an improvement over the first 3 weeks but nowhere near my usual level of volubility! I suppose a part of me also just needed a long break from working on the brain injury site and two decades of recovering from my car crash concussion.
I’m debating whether to join the July 7-day writing sprint I signed up for a few months back. I really enjoy it, but what can I write with current limitations? Maybe book reviews I’m behind on? I can write them on my iPhone if writing on the computer makes the whole thing depressing.