TBI recovery in mind and body

I had an interesting thing happen the other day. I got my test results back from my physical, and the doctor who sent them did not send the full numbers for my lab results. They actually just sent me a sheet that said whether I had passed or failed all of my markers.

This is so not helpful, I can’t even put it into words. I was depending on them to send me a full report with the full statistics and not have to spend a lot of time going through analysis of those numbers. I just needed the exact results. I didn’t need their commentary, and I didn’t need them to simplify things for me. I probably should have been more clear about my needs and my expectations, but this is the first time this has ever happened to me. I have never ever had a doctor just send me a pass/fail report on lab results.

No, correction, my last doctor, who has since died – rest their soul – actually did once send me a note in the mail that said all of my lab results looked good. That’s even worse. I don’t know which is worse, having somebody just dismiss my interest in the actual numbers and say “yeah you don’t need to know about this”, or having somebody do a half way analysis of my numbers – not in any larger context not in the space of anything extended, but just as a one-time look.

This is one of the problems that I have with doctors. That they control the information or they just assume that people do not have the intelligence or the proclivity to actually analyze our data and derive meaning from it.

The ironic thing is, their spouse works at the same major multinational company that I do, and much of our business revolves around data. So I work daily with people who are keenly interested in data, and so does their spouse, and yet somehow they don’t get that I would actually have an interest in the actual data that was pulled my body, on my time, using my insurance.

My data is mine. My body is mine. And I really do not appreciate having someone just tell me oh you don’t need to know about your body you don’t need to know about your data you don’t need to know about your health. This is one of the things that makes me crazy about modern medicine. it really is all about control of information and there are a lot of doctors out there these days who believe that their authority should be paramount and they hold on to information. I was talking to someone the other day I had said that in the 19 sixty’s doctor started to be trained to be more collaborative, rather than dictatorial. And since then they have not then so focused on being the ultimate authority and everything. Rather, they positions themselves as trusted experts in Healthcare.

Maybe that’s true, but my experience with doctors has not been that great over the years I’m part of that seems to be related to them still needing to be the authorities in the situation. They may want to be collaborative but there’s still insisting on being at the top of the food chain, when it comes to who decides what.

It’s hard to know sometimes what to make of all of this. I need to find a new doctor I know that. And I feel quite stymied and looking for another doctor. The big thing with me, is that it is about my health it is about my wellness it is about my ability to live my life as best I can, and it feels like doctors are getting in the way rather than helping me.

Actually, it’s the old healthcare paradigm that’s really getting in my way. Its the fact the medicine – formal medicine, which has been peer reviewed and approved and blessed by the powers on high – is so far behind where most of us needed to be these days. There is so much focus on risk mitigation. There is so much focus on avoiding lawsuits. and the practice of medicine Really suffers as a result.

Of course there are alternative therapies, and there is complementary medicine. But it is so hard to find anyone in the medical field who will willingly and easily collaborate with alternative complementary medicine. And it seems to me that in fact a lot of the animosity towards alternative and complementary medicine, such as going to see a healer of some kind, really misses the point about why people seek out that kind of care.

People seek out alternative care to get something that they cannot get from the medical establishment. And that something is actually care. It strikes me as ironic that the medical establishment refers to himself as healthcare when what they’re really doing, apparently for the most part, is disaster prevention or catching people up after something awful happened. I suppose in an extreme sense it is health care because they’re bringing us back from the brink and they’re making us reasonably whole again to get on with our lives but in terms of long-term health and wellness, I don’t see them offering all that much.

I do find it telling that the person I was discussing health care with the other day has a doctor in the family, and although the person I was talking to is a very accomplished professional in their own right, they still have this wide eyed admiration for medical people, and they seem to have bought into the hype that’s been pitched to their family member. I get that every industry needs to protect itself and standards have to be kept, but the brainwashing about the noble causes and the character of everyone involved, the mythology around how right they are and how wrong everyone else’s, and that mystique that they develop around medical doctor status is something that is evident, and also needs to be taken into consideration.

So all of this is a long way of saying that in my TBI recovery, my physical health has really come front and center. What I have come to realize over the last 12 years of experience, observation, I really looking closely at what was going on with me while trying to dispense with the blinders that we all have about what we are experiencing and what that means, is that the body play such a critical part in TBI recovery.

In fact thanks to new research that’s come out and that people are starting to pay attention to – and it’s always helpful of people do pay attention to new research, because what could we do if they didn’t? – the physiological processes that get fired off by the brain make a huge huge difference in the experience and the recovery of the individual who has been brain injured. A brain injury is never only inside the brain it is also throughout the entire body. The brain is command central 4 all of the body’s processes. Cannot enter the brain without entering the body as well – or at least affecting it. There is inflammation that happens. There are crossed wires that happens. There is the biochemical reaction that goes along with fight flight, which then either short circuits you completely, or simply prevents you from learning the lessons that you need to learn. It’s a combination of brain body and all of the things that make it possible for them to communicate with one another, and act as one.

So for me to continue my recovery, I need to really take care of my body and I can’t very well do that, if my doctor won’t give me my numbers. this is one of the things that I think keeps TBI and concussion survivors really heal from their injuries. There is the assumption that we are unable to think clearly or the cognitive we capable. I experience that with the physiatrist who I was seeing very briefly several months ago. As soon as they found out about my history of mild TBI eyes, they started treating me like a child and they acted like I needed to be spoken to very very slowly. Granted, I had told them on my intake form that when I’m tired I sometimes don’t get things the first time, but the whole way that they approached it, I found very dismissive and also not very enlightened.

This is one of the things that makes it so difficult to do a thorough TBI recovery in short order. I am convinced that if doctors could more fully understand and appreciate our situation if they really understood as people what we are experiencing with TBI, it would make it at least a little easier for them to treat us more effectively, and also improve their practice of medicine. I don’t think that any doctor really wants to run around and do harm to people – well, I suppose some do, but those are extreme exceptions to the case – and I would think that any kind of insight or additional learning that would help them better understand what people go through when they experience a traumatic brain injury, would be welcome within their community. However, it seems that they are much more interested in maintaining their status as experts in the world of medicine, then providing the best care possible in ways that their patients actually need it

I know that I am raging against the machine, and there is only so much that can be expected considering all of the generations of tradition that has been baked into this whole way of practicing medicine, but I think it’s still worth considering.

The other thing is, even though I might get medical care that doesn’t really seem to suit me that well, and is more infuriating than it is helpful, this is not the end of the story. I am NOT 100% dependent on doctors for my health care. I am fairly self sufficient in terms of seeking out information about my condition as well as being proactive in taking care of myself. I do a fair amount of reading and research in nutrition healthy living exercise and the latest research that shows us how our bodies work and how we can work better with them.

There is a wealth of information online that we can access that tells us many things that we need to know. And a lot of it is put in terms that everyday people can understand. Now of course, a lot of it is total crap, and you can’t believe a word that people say, or worse – and this is a very tough thing about the Internet – maybe half of what they say is correct, but you never know which half is correct so you have to do additional research and you have to do additional analysis and follow up and take everything with a grain of salt.

In the end, I think that the better we take care of our bodies the better our brains respond. I know that’s true with me, as my recovery has just been phenomenal, & I have incorporated many many physical aspects into it. From the food that I eat, to the exercise that I do, to the supplements that I take, as well as just paying attention to how I’m feeling and understanding how my physical feelings actually affect my mental health I have put together what feels like a very solid recovery.

Now, I have my bad days – and yesterday was one of them – but they are few and far between, compared to how they were before. Before I was a ticking time bomb a walking disaster zone, & I could not figure out for the life of me what was wrong. Everything was wrong. And I didn’t know why. That has completely changed and taking care of my physical body has played a huge role in that.

There’s more that I would like to say, but this post is getting long. It has been a long week, and I have been pretty busy at work, so I’m tired, & I have another busy week ahead of me. so I’ll stop here and get on with my day.

Have a good one and don’t forget to enjoy.


Author: brokenbrilliant

I am a long-term multiple (mild) Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI or TBI) survivor who experienced assaults, falls, car accidents, sports-related injuries in the 1960s, '70s, '80s, and '90s. My last mild TBI was in 2004, but it was definitely the worst of the lot. I never received medical treatment for my injuries, some of which were sports injuries (and you have to get back in the game!), but I have been living very successfully with cognitive/behavioral (social, emotional, functional) symptoms and complications since I was a young kid. I’ve done it so well, in fact, that virtually nobody knows that I sustained those injuries… and the folks who do know, haven’t fully realized just how it’s impacted my life. It has impacted my life, however. In serious and debilitating ways. I’m coming out from behind the shields I’ve put up, in hopes of successfully addressing my own (invisible) challenges and helping others to see that sustaining a TBI is not the end of the world, and they can, in fact, live happy, fulfilled, productive lives in spite of it all.

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