May 2021 Brain Injury
Election 44 day, and it feels like a good time to write on concussion. Recovery at first stretched slow slow slow then in August snapped into sudden improvements. That’s brain injury recovery with treatment for you.
The blast injury ripped apart my ability to respond to writing reminders, remember to work on posts, and do the research Psychology Today posts require as well as the stamina and writing ability I need to write a well-crafted piece. Tweets are the easiest writings to do unless I’m trying to write a lot in few words. Even so, it was weeks before I got back into Twitter post May 19. The hardest posts/articles to write are Psychology Today posts. I’m still finding it difficult to come up with ideas for that site (I’m usually an idea machine — I have too little energy for what I’d like to do). But this month, when I put fingers to keyboards, once I’d done my thinking and research, I wrote as quickly as I used to. On power and brain injury. For the second time in a row, the editors promoted by post to essential reads, this time in two topics. Health and Traumatic Brain Injury.
I received lots of feedback this year on a manuscript from a few years ago. I’d found it difficult to revise because of the emotion it elicits. Then the blast injury stalled me. But writing sprints held first week of most months by Prolifiko out of the UK and a fabulous beta reader helped me rethink my time rules. Five minutes per day is okay.
Every minute leads to progress.
I’m still limited in time to about 15 minutes, with the occasional hour. Then I need to recover from the fatigue. But, like with Psychology Today posts, I’ve improved a lot and keep progressing to the point that I’m now planning and prepping when I can for NaNoWriMo. More on that later.
So pleased that though my stamina has died a little — no longer two hours per day — to 30 to 60 minutes per day except Sundays, I’m still reading non-fiction in the morning and fun, light stuff many afternoons or evenings.
I still have trouble reading print magazines and longish articles. But it’s reading books that matter to me the most.
Sigh. Barely any resumption since May injury. I occasionally take photos with my iPhone. But since I still can’t use my computer’s large main touch screen, I have a very hard time working on images.
I can work on my laptop fine. I can work on my main computer using the small matte display fairly well. Simply looking at the larger touch screen makes me dizzy. At some point, I’ll have to do with it what I did with the matte display: bite the bullet and tolerate a woozy head longer and longer to force brain and eyes to play nice with each other and the screen.
On the good side, because I can use the matte display, I’ve begun redesigning my website. I’m being smarter about managing my limited energy and work on it every few days. Technology has advanced enough that I can take my time and that makes change easier. I’m excited about how guidance I got from Google for my Art Fit To Wear shop is making my redesign so much better.
I’m not getting the walking CNIB support I need because of the pandemic. (My trainer does check in by phone every so often, for which I’m hugely grateful.) I did have one session and discovered I’m very very very slow and need breaks. I also discovered that I don’t have the cognitive space to deal with motion, navigate dumb-ass Torontonians who think no need for masks on our narrow sidewalks, and god-awful drivers who haven’t learnt any patience or sense of sharing the road from living with COVID-19 restrictions.
But I learnt my bones need me to walk daily. So I walk where I can think about writing, reading, and tasks and not run into people and which is very familiar to my brain and eyes.\
At the beginning of September, I returned to using red lights with my morning SMR/Beta audiovisual entrainment routine during the week. I can now tolerate the higher neurostimulation and need the energy-boosting effects of red light.
I’ve increased the setting by one of the neck protocol on my low-intensity laser therapy home device, and I use the red lights only except for increasing infrared on the first placement. We’re gradually ramping it up 30 seconds every couple of sessions to its full 6 minutes. I use it every other night to calm the nervous system, to aid sleep, and every other night to give my brain a break. We’ve added one vertical placement around midday, same days I use the neck protocol at night, to regularize my heart rate variability.
All the rest of my placements are still with the second neck protocol setting, red lights only, except I’ve also added back the infrared setting for the low back vertical placement. Only once a week for each.
The gamma was too much neurostimulation, so I’ve dialled it back to using SMR/gamma in the afternoons, on non-laser light days.
I’ve experienced a couple of changes that I’m hoping are transient. Not listening to the radio. Like at all (except for every couple weeks or so of my Tweep’s). Not watching morning TV. And I’ve started being able to tolerate the news again…somewhat. I don’t know how I’ll deal with the election results. The strangeness of waiting days for the final tally may make it easier.
Between the pandemic and May injury, who knows what the future will bring.