Taking good care of myself

Sometimes….

Well, my spouse has done it again. We were supposed to leave for our vacation today around noon, and now they tell me that they’re not going to ready in time. They may — may — get up by 11:00.

That’s pretty disappointing. But then again, we are taking two cars, so I’m not going to be dragged down by their sluggishness. I have to come back home on Sunday night in order to be at the office from Monday through Wednesday. Wednesday night, I’ll head back out to the condo we’re renting, a few hours from home, and I’ll work remotely in the morning on Thursday and Friday, then take afternoons off.

I’m not sure why this “change in plans” surprises me so much. Maybe because my spouse is picking up another friend to join us for a few days, and that friend’s family is going out of their way to drop them off half-way. It seems incredibly unfair to everyone (except my spouse), that everyone’s schedules need to be re-jiggered to accommodate them. People have better things to do, than wait around to find out when they should leave the house.

If anything, it seems a bit sociopathic on my spouse’s part – like nothing matters except them and their own wishes and needs. Then again, they do have neurological issues, as well as some cognitive impairment and possible dementia, so they may not even realize that they’re being selfish. The whole neurological decline thing is a real drain, and if you forget what’s going on with them, it can be maddening. When they’re challenged, they get really angry right off the bat, possibly because they get scared at being caught unawares and not being able to think right away. They lash out and yell and threaten and cry and so forth. On the one hand, some people think they’re being manipulative, but I think it’s also a sign of cognitive decline. They really do get scared — and then they use their anger and blustering to stop me from saying or doing anything else… and that way they buy some time to catch up.

The thing is, once they get past their hemming and hawing and blow-harding, they re-orient themself to what’s happening, and then they calm down and can carry on a usual conversation.

The main thing for me is to not take things personally and get really upset when they start acting out. That happens all too often, and I forget that they’ve got cognitive issues. I take it personally and get so upset and bent out of shape — everything balloons in my mind, till the argument is not about what’s happening right in front of me, it’s about everything and anything that’s possibly related to my frustration at that point in time. My own brain goes haywire, too, so we feed off each other — and not in a good way.

Fortunately, I am getting better about checking in with myself and telling if I’m starting to get too wound up. Then I can back off — just walk away and cool off, and give us both a chance to simmer down. It’s just both our brains going haywire, and we both get scared. And we lash out. It gets to be a little much, to tell the truth, and some days I just despair about that downward cycle. But if I can step away and have some time to myself and get enough rest, that helps.

Taking care of myself really needs to be my top priority, in dealing with my spouse. When I get tired, my brain doesn’t work well, and of the two of us, I’ve always been the more functional — by a lot. I’ve been their caregiver, pretty much, for nearly the whole time we’ve been together. Their health has often been bad — especially their mental health, and after a serious neurological illness they had back in 2007. They’ve got a ton of history behind why they’re so mentally ill, and there’s plenty of reasons why they have the issues they do. Panic. Anxiety. Depression. Paranoia. Verbal aggression. A real roller coaster of emotions — with very little calm in the meantime.

Does it get old? Oh, you betcha. But they’re the love of my life, so you take the bad with the good.

And you take care of yourself.

So, this “vacation”, I need to be really clear about what I will and will not do. I need to not bend over backwards for them, just because they’re on vacation and think they should be treated like royalty. They’re not the only person who deserves a break, and I need to get some rest, too. In some ways, coming home from Monday to Wednesday is going to be a real relief for me. I’ll have the house to myself, I’ll be able to eat whatever I like — actually much healthier than how my spouse will eat. And I’ll be able to get to bed at decent times without that late-night drama they love to stir up.

So, it’s all going to work out for the best, I believe.

I just have to remember that my spouse is actually impaired in some significant ways, and I need to adjust and adapt and plan ahead.

And not get my hopes up for things that have never happened before, and will probably never happen, period. Like getting on the road at the pre-agreed time. Or having a low-key and very no-nonsense sort of trip.

The main thing is that I find a way to really enjoy myself, take care of myself, and actually get some rest. The condo where we’re staying has three floors, and I’ll be downstairs in a quiet, dark bedroom with couch and desk and its own bathroom, while my spouse will be up on the top floor. It works out well, and it leaves room for both of us to move at our own paces and have some freedom from each other. We’re both getting older and a lot more set in our ways — and a lot less willing to compromise.

More rigid? Yes. But also more discerning, and not so willing to give ground on things that really matter to us personally.

I think a lot of couples find this as they get older. They either split up, or they stick together and find a way to peacefully co-exist, whilst pursuing different interests that are all their own. I know I’m at that point in my life, and it’s not worth hassling over. It really isn’t.

So, I just need to take care of myself and have the vacation I want. Whatever my spouse does, is on them. No skin off my teeth. Not if I don’t let it.

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Tony Dorsett is not dead

Tony Dorsett – all those years ago

The public debate about football and its effects on cognitive health — that is to say, how all those years of head trauma can really screw you up, years later — is heating up even more. PBS ran the special “League of Denial” about the NFL’s cover-up of the brain-damaging effects of their brand of football, and now Tony Dorsett and several other former pro players have been diagnosed with early signs of CTE – chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Bleacher Report has a good write-up on it here, and ESPN has their own, which I read yesterday.

I was really encouraged to read that there’s actually a way to detect CTE in living people. Up to recently, the word was that it can only be definitively identified in the brains of dead folks. But apparently now UCLA has a fix for that. So, that’s encouraging.

But it’s never good when anyone has CTE, and both Joe DeLamielleure and Leonard Marshall were also diagnosed, but Tony Dorsett…? That was a pretty emotional discovery for me. He was one of the players who got me really excited about the game when I was a kid. I always loved football, but there was something about his performance that was even more compelling — and it almost made me a Cowboys fan, for a while. Almost.

The article over at Bleacher Report has a writeup and includes the full gamut of responses from readers — everything from “the players knew the risks, and they did it anyway,” or “they just want to milk the system” to “they’re upset because they’re not in the limelight anymore and they’re just a bunch of cry-babies looking for attention,” to “you’re an idiot – the NFL covered this up for 15 years,” to well-informed responses based on science, to flat-out denial that anyone other than linemen could sustain repeated head trauma. And here and there are counter-arguments to refute ignorance-based “rationale.”

There’s a lot of back-and-forth talk, some more useful than others, but the most important thing is, people are talking about it, and more awareness is building around the whole issue. It would be nice if folks could share information and keep an open mind without calling names, but this is the internet, after all. I do find it hopeful that people are quoting actual scientifically based facts. And what I find most interesting is how many readers are reporting that parents are not letting their kids play football.

One of the questions that comes to my mind is whether all the talk might be doing more harm than good. There’s a lot of knee-jerk reaction going on, and brain injury is such an emotionally loaded subject which hits so close to each of us, that a lot of people just stop listening as soon as they hear “brain injury”. It’s not that they don’t want to learn or understand — we’re wired to shut down our higher reasoning, when we feel threatened at a deep level, and brain injury hits a lot of us in our most vulnerable spot.

A broken bone you can see and set and watch heal on the x-rays. A broken nose you can push back into place, tape up, and wait to get better. But a broken brain? It’s invisible. It’s mysterious. You can’t even see the real issues on imaging results — at least, not those that are widely available at a reasonable cost. And you don’t have a clear-cut route to recovery. Plus, we have this really bizarre expectation (based, I’m sure on decades of science that told us it’s so) that you only have so many brain cells, that once you damage the brain, you’re done, and there’s no turning back.

Only in the past years has science amended its views — and it’s done so silently, without so much as a hint of an apology for training us all to give up on ourselves.

What’s more, I think we’re not helped by the sensationalistic (if true) focus that’s being brought to CTE and the long-term effects of repeat head trauma. All the press focusing in detail on the horrible things that happen to you after head trauma might be cementing the public perception that once you’re brain-injured, that’s it. Tony Dorsett says he’s being proactive and is going to fight this and live his life to the fullest. But given how little is generally known in the public about brain injury in general, who knows how seriously anyone is taking this? I read one article where the writer referred to his condition as his “demise” — a freudian slip, if ever I heard one.

Frankly, I’d be surprised if anyone gave him the time of day after his revelation. Yes, he is Tony Dorsett — that is, he was. Once people find out that you’ve got “brain issues,” they have a way of distancing themselves from you. It’s something they don’t want to think about. They can’t help but imagine what it would be like for them — and it scares the bejesus out of them. So, they choose not to talk about it. They’d much rather talk to Sidney Crosby, who apparently has no more head/neck trauma issues to speak of.

From personal experience, I can tell you, repeat head trauma — even mild traumatic brain injuries — can do a number on you. It can turn your emotions upside-down, trash your impulse-control, wreck your judgment, saddle you with a bunch of unpredictable and seemingly insurmountable physical sensitivities, put you in a state of constant headache and general pain… in the process destroying your relationships, costing you your job, turning your financial decision-making inside-out, and generally doing the same thing to your life that a frat party does to a frat house. And it can all happen without you ever intending it to — and never actually wanting it to.

Now, I know a lot of folks are going to say it’s a character issue, or it’s an issue of self-control or what-not. It’s not about character. It’s about how the brain works, and how our lives are ordered as a result. And when you’re brain-injured (and unaware that you’re dealing with brain injury), the very thing that’s supposed to keep everything in order is what’s the problem.

And because it’s your brain that’s impacted, you can never even realize till it’s way late in the game — for some, too late.

The thing is — if we can all get past the terribleness of it, please — there is a way out. Brain injury, even CTE, doesn’t need to be the end. The brain is an incredibly “plastic” organism that by nature re-routes its wiring and recruits other parts to take on functionality that the original parts may have lost. There have been cases of people with advanced brain degeneration never ever showing any signs of that condition — the book Aging with Grace talks about that. And you can’t tell me that all the people who have lived full lives to a ripe old age have never had any organic brain issues. The brain is a mysterious and amazing organism. Our limited understanding doesn’t change its infinite possibilities.

If there’s one thing that I hope comes out of all this — even if it’s long-term — it’s the knowledge and experience that recovery from brain injury is possible. It is NOT a death sentence. I hope someone out there gets a clue — and publishes widely on it — about how possible (even probable) it is that a person can restore quality to their life and continue to live with meaning and purpose and a sense of usefulness, even after repeat head traumas.

Making a huge issue out of football being a cause of a brain-wasting condition is only part of the story. Saying that repeat concussions is a recipe for madness and early-onset brain degeneration is not the whole truth.And focusing only on the awfulness (to raise awareness and funding) leaves me with the feeling that this terribleness is permanent and irreversible. Logically I know it’s not 100% accurate, but part of me fears might be.

Tony Dorsett is not dead. Not yet, anyway. Who knows what will take him out in the end? He says he’s got issues. He says it’s wrecking his life. He says he’s considered suicide. And he says he’s being proactive and is going to fight this thing. There is still a whole lot we don’t know about the brain, CTE, tau, and how we might be able to clear the junk out of the brain.

Personally, my money’s on exercise, sleep, a positive attitude, staying active both mentally and physically, keeping connected to a community, and solid nutrition without a ton of artificial crap crammed in between the real ingredients. But that’s just me.

Whatever other folks may choose, I hope they do choose it, and I hope they don’t give up just because things look a little grim, right now. Things always look grim, before you have a chance to do something about them. But once you get going… you never know where it’s going to take you.

In any case, the day is waiting. I have a lot that I want to accomplish today — this whole weekend, in fact.  So, speaking of staying active, it’s time for a morning walk before I get into the rest of my day. That should get things moving…

Onward.

The up-side of frontal lobe damage

Apparently, frontal lobe damage affects how we process “negative” information —

Pollyanna Had Brain Damage! Study Claims Faulty Brain Wiring Sparks Unrealistic Optimism

You might be a “glass half empty” person or a “glass half full” person, but if you’re a “glass is half full even if it’s empty” person, your brain may be a tad off kilter.

That’s the conclusion of a neuroimaging study published in the peer-reviewed journal, Nature Neuroscience.  Researchers at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at UCL (University College London) wanted to find out what’s going on in the brains of people who remain optimistic even when every bit of evidence argues for a less rosy perspective.

Check out the Forbes article for more >>.

Familiar music could help people with brain damage

I learned about this article at the TBI Survivor’s Network

Familiar music could help people with brain damage

Listening to a favourite song might boost the brain’s ability to respond to other stimuli in people with disorders of consciousness.

Music has been shown to have a beneficial influence on cognitive process in healthy people and those who have brain damage. For example, daily music therapy can help to enhance cognitive recovery after a stroke.

Fabien Perrin at the University of Lyon, France, and colleagues recorded brain activity in four patients – two in a coma, one in a minimally conscious state, and one in a vegetative state – while they were read a list of people’s names, including the subject’s own name. The list was preceded either by the subject’s favourite music – chosen by family and friends – or by “musical noise”. One patient listened to The Eagles’ Hotel California, another was played the Blues Brothers’ Everybody Needs Somebody to Love. The team then repeated the experiment with ten healthy volunteers.

In all four patients, playing the music rather than musical noise enhanced the quality of the brain’s subsequent response to their own name, bringing it closer to the brain response of the ten healthy volunteers to hearing their own name, whether or not it was preceded by music or musical noise. The work was presented at the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness meeting in Brighton, UK, last month.

Read the rest here >>

 

Most of us live too small

Facing up to it

In the midst of all the everyday chores… in the midst of trying to keep myself on track, in the midst of a seemingly endless stream of little annoyances and oversights (a check to one of my creditors was returned to me, because I forgot – of all things – to write out the amount on the line, and I just wrote in the number amount)… I often wonder how things might be, if I weren’t constantly waylaid by these stupid little things.

The thing about the stupid little things is, the sheer number of them make me think that I can’t handle the bigger things. If I have trouble handling something as simple as writing out a check (I’ve never had that problem before, that I can remember), what does that mean for my overall competence?

All the little things start to look that much bigger. And the really big things start to look absolutely overwhelming. Stuff that people do every day, as a matter of course — get up and go to work, participate in the world, and just live their lives — starts to look enormous and intimidating, and here I am — little ole me, who can’t even write out a check properly — what good am I?

But thinking about this, it just doesn’t sit right with me. One oversight shouldn’t completely wreck me. One stupid blip on my radar shouldn’t define my whole day, my whole week, my whole life. And if I let this one thing stop me, if I let all the hundreds of other little things stop me, then what kind of life is that?

Seriously.  I do this all the time, unfortunately. And so do lots of people I know. They think that because they don’t know how to do something now, they’ll never learn. Or they think that if something doesn’t come immediately easily to them, they’ll never get it, or they’ll never be able to do it and enjoy it. They think that they’re too damaged, too wounded, too impaired, too ugly, too short, too stupid, too ignorant, too inexperienced, too young, too old, too injured, too inexperienced, too _[insert reason here]_.

Sometimes they’re making excuses to get themselves off the hook, so they don’t have to extend themselves. Other times, they’re genuinely skeptical of their own abilities and potential. They think that their past determines their future, and that if they don’t know everything they need to know by now, they never will. And all that remains for them to do, is make themselves as comfortable as possible while they wait to get old and die.

Sad. And completely unnecessary. Because life holds a LOT more for us, than just that. And we’ll never know what else is out there, what else is possible, until we get up and go out and find out what else is waiting.

Okay, so there are complications. Sustaining multiple mild traumatic brain injuries hasn’t done much for my ability to deal with fatigue or uncertainty. It tweaks my anxiety and makes me VERY agitated and anxious over the littlest things. It makes my hearing acutely painful at times, as well as my eyesight and sense of touch. And the balance problems don’t help, either.

But you know what? That’s not all there is to me. There’s a whole lot more to my life, and — what the hell — I can always work around the issues I have. Like make sure I get enough sleep, or at least don’t push myself to do stupid things when I’m over-tired. Like wear sunglasses and watch my moods. Like take time-outs, if I need to.

Most of all, what I need to do is just keep going. Not let my”issues” become the defining elements of my life. I need to get enough of a structure to my life to handle all these little logistics things, that I can focus on the big picture — the direction I’m going with my life, what I’m creating with my life. What I’m meant to DO. Not what I’m meant to endure.

What if there were more to life, than “coming to terms with my limitations” and “accepting the new me” that’s a poor imitation of what I used to be? And what if the monsters that are keeping me from doing what I love to do were not nearly as horrible as my mind makes them out to be?

What if nobody noticed that I totally screwed things up and said things that were lame and strange? Even if they did notice, what if nobody CARED? What if  the rest of the world were so self-absorbed and caught up in their own stuff, that they never noticed the “horrible” things I imagine I’ve done and said?

I know I’m not alone in my conviction that there is something wrong with me. Most of us feel that way, to some extent. And I know I’m not the only one who has let their life be too small, because of what’s happened before, and what I think has become of me.

But if I live right and use my head properly, the world will have one less person living too small.

The things we do to heal

I just learned about the movie Marwencol. Check out the trailer video and visit the site. Fascinating.

This kind of reminds me of my own retreat from the rest of the world, over the course of my life. Although my own withdrawal from the world where I got hurt on a regular basis was not nearly as labor intensive as Marwencol, it was in fact my own private Idaho. It was a place where I could pull back and experience my own life on my own terms without danger of being hurt or mistreated or dismissed. I have that place boxed up in tens of journals I’ve kept over the years, and stashed on bookshelves filled with subjects of  “study” that never came to anything.

My own removal from the world started when I was around seven or eight years old. And it stopped 35 years later. I can’t wait to see this movie, Marwencol — I’d like to see how someone else did it. And how it turned out for them.

It makes me wonder how many people are actually walking around with one foot in one world and one foot in the other.

I finished reading a book

Here’s a blast from the past. About a year ago, I wrote this post (but forgot to publish it), absolutely giddy about having finished reading a book. Looking at where I’m at now, it’s pretty amazing the changes I’ve been through. After not having been able to get through an entire book in years (although one of my favorite pastimes was always reading), last November, I actually finished reading a book.

Here’s the post:

November, 2009

Yesterday afternoon at about 3:30 p.m., I finished reading Aging with Grace, the book about the Nun Study of those long-lived School Sisters of Notre Dame, which explores how and why some people live long and never succumb to Alzheimer’s or dementia, and why others may be more vulnerable. This book has a lot of meaning to me, because as a multiple TBI survivor, I’m statistically more vulnerable to dementia, and about the last thing I want, is to be incapacitated and demented later in life. No thanks…

I found a number of tips and clues about what you can do to avoid dementia — even if you do have some brain degeneration — and I read reports of nuns who had all the signs of advanced Alzheimer’s, but no symptoms whatsoever before they died. Sounds good to me.

I’m invigorated by this new information. I highly recommend it to anyone. And I’m even more invigorated by the fact that I actually finished the book! It took me a month to read all 219 pages, but I did it!!!

This would not be big news for most people I know. Most people I know read books as a matter of course, and when they start a book, they generally finish it (unless it’s truly awful and/or they run out of time). I, on the other hand, have not finished reading a book I started in a number of years. It’s hard for me to remember the last time I actually reached the last page of a book I started.

Let me walk around my study, looking for a book I know I’ve read cover to cover… Let’s see… I am reasonably certain I’ve read about 56 of the books in my study, which constitute maybe 10% of the total on my bookshelves. And the  most recent one I finished prior to Aging with Grace was consumed in a hurry back in 2006. I may have read something from cover to cover in 2007, but I cannot recall.

Now, mind you, I have tons of books, but most of them I’ve only read the first couple of chapters, if that. It’s a lifelong habit that goes way back to when I was a kid, and I never even really realized it was a problem, until this past year or so, when I started to take a long, hard look at my reading habits — or lack thereof — in the context of my TBIs.

It’s a complicated issue — part difficulty with the material, part difficulty with keeping focused on the material. I can be really distractable, so I often end up wandering off on cognitive tangents, when I’m reading. But part of what feeds my distractability, I think, is the fatigue that sets in after I’ve been reading for a while, as well as the discouragement I feel when I realize my eyes have been skimming pages for the last half hour, and I cannot remember what I just read. It’s complicated. And it sucks. And it never occurred to me before that I might have difficulty reading. I’m such an avid infovore — I’m usually reading something. Who would guess that reading is such a challenge for me?

It’s taken some adjusting to get used to this fact. And the adjustment has been as much of a hit to my self-image as anything else. I was always known as a bookworm. Much of my knowledge comes from books. If I’ve been reading at substandard level all these years without knowing it… and also not grasping a lot of what I was reading… what does that say about me, as a person? Does it completely invalidate many of the beliefs and assertions I’ve had about myself, for over 4 decades? It’s troubling to think so.

But now that I know reading is a problem for me, I can take steps to do something about it.  And that’s good. I literally cannot live this way, not being able to read a book from cover to cover. I am NOT going to continue in life this way. Something must be done. I need a plan. Here’s my plan — which so far has worked well, the first time through.

I need to acclimate myself to reading for longer periods of time, by reading for fun and pleasure, getting up to speed with that, and then starting to read for learning and understanding. I need to practice regularly and build up my stamina, and also develop different strategies for how to handle the material I absorb.

First, for the fun reading, I need to identify a topic that interests me which will stimulate me. I need to have some investment in the material, some payoff, some reward that comes with it. Preferably, I need to find something to read that also has “companion” material, like a movie that was made of it. I need to have the information presented in different formats, that different parts of my brain can “hook into”.

I chose The Bourne Identity, because it’s an action adventure novel that’s broken into relatively short chapters. It’s also got a movie made of it that is one of my favorites, and I have visuals of the action to prompt me as I read along

Second, I need to set aside time to read. I have to have time to do it, when I have time to rest either before or afterwards, or both.

I do this on the weekends. I take naps on the weekends to catch up with my rest. And I read during the afternoons.

Third, I need to gradually increase the amount of time I spend reading. I pay attention to how much time I’m spending, how I’m feeling, how my pace is. And I really congratulate myself, when I’ve read more than 10 pages at a sitting and understood what was being said the whole way through.

I can do this, but I also need to make sure I’m not tiring myself out. I need to make special efforts to reward and praise myself for having read as long as I have. I tend to get down on myself and think I’m stupid, when I’m not reading well, and I assume that it should be easy for me. But my reading has never been as strong as I always thought, and since my fall in 2004, it’s got even worse.

Fourth, I will then transfer my stamina and interest and good experiences with action/adventure fiction to my other non-fiction reading. And I must pace myself, gradually working my way up, again, and re-reading the things that I didn’t get the first time around. I need to keep an action/adventure book on hand, to keep my interest bolstered. I don’t worry so much about finishing the fiction in a timely manner. It’s more for the sake of keeping my spirits up and having a good experience while reading, so I can focus my more intent energies on the non-fiction/professional reading.

This is what I’ve been doing, on and off, with Aging With Grace over the past month. And now that I’ve done it and see that it works(!) I am ready to move on to my professional reading.

This is such important work. My survival and success depends on it. I’ve got a bunch of books I bought in the past that I need to read for work, but I haven’t been able to crack them. Now, I’ve got to do it.  Now I have a strategy and a plan, and I’ve proved (at least once) that it works. Reading really is fundamental. And the fact that I have done it with Aging With Grace has really lit a fire under me.

But before I go any further, it’s time for my Sunday afternoon nap.

Leaving well enough alone

Source: joshbousel

Things are changing at work. I have a new boss, and they are shuffling people around. The other people I work with are nervous, and so am I. We have a meeting scheduled for this Friday morning about my “new responsibilities”.

Ugh. I just want to go about my business and have things be stable for a while. I just started this job two months ago. But perhaps that’s not to be.

Fingers crossed that the news will be good. In any case, it will be a new challenge.

I’m trying like crazy to be positive and optimistic. There’s a nasty little “junkyard dog” voice in the back of my head that’s grousing about how this can’t possibly be good, ‘cuz I’m a screw-up and a brain-damaged loser. That voice is a supreme pain in my ass. I’m doing my utmost to ignore it… Or change the channel when it starts blaring in the back of my head. Music and headphones helps.

And I’m going to extra lengths to not act out and be a jerk with people because I’m nervous and agitated and irritable. I’m nervous. I’m tired. I’m not feeling up to this, or anything else. All the old stories about me being a screw-up are broadcasting on the big screen in my head. And it’s not very pleasant.

Plus, there’s a part of me that just wants to slouch along and not be bothered with “new responsibilities,” and that part has a bad habit of sabotaging me.  It’s done it before, and I need to be wary of it trying again.

Tomorrow, I shall focus in and take care of business.  Just do my job. Keep a low profile, except for when people come to me for help. Then I shall do my best, and remain calm.

I need to leave this well enough alone — and let it be good — ’cause there’s a chance it will be.

If I just keep steady, that junkyard dog may calm down and quit howling.

It’s a plan…

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury, Not So Mild After All

ScienceDaily (Feb. 22, 2010) — Douglas Smith, MD, director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair and professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, presented findings on the molecular mechanism at play in mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), commonly known as concussions, recently at the 2010 American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in San Diego.

Although mTBI affects over 1 million people each year in the United States, it is generally ignored as a major health issue. However, this “mild” form of injury induces persisting neurological and cognitive problems in many of these patients, exacting an enormous emotional and financial toll on society.

Read more…

Ouch

I have not been sleeping nearly enough. Now my clothes hurt me. My skin is very sensitive and it feels like  it’s being raked by a wire brush, when my clothes brush against my skin.

Complain, complain, complain. I’m wearing myself out with the complaining.

Work is going pretty well, and when I keep track of what I’m supposed to be doing, I am keeping up with the best of ’em. At least, I believe I am 😉

I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon with how I fill in the gaps of my comprehension. Where I am missing details, like what someone’s reaction to me is, I tend to think the worst. They’re angry with me. I’ve messed up. They’re quiet because I’ve offended them and they are thinking about what to say back to me.

But it’s not always true. It rarely is, in fact.

I think this comes from a lot of past experiences of troubling interactions with people. When I was a kid, I seemed to get a lot of stuff wrong, and people used to get so mad at me. Of course, it always puzzled me. I never thought I was wrong when it was happening, but over the years, I gradually came to realize that I messed up a lot more than I thought I did.

In a way, it was kind of good that I was as clueless as I was. But in retrospect, I cringe.

Well, I can’t do much more cringing tonight. I’m dog-tired from dealing with my car conking out – battery died when I was at my neuropsych. And then having to call AAA (and renew my lapsed membership online before I called them) and figure out how to pay for the battery… Ugh. I can do without another day like this.

Oh well… I can’t worry about it. In another six months, I won’t even remember this, probably. I’ll have moved on.

My clothes hurt me, so I’m going to cut myself a break and take it easy tonight. I’ve earned it.