Sunday, 18 March 2012

December 05, 1977 the day I died....

Yes, all this time I have been blogging from beyond the grave,

I might as well be given the fact that so many choose to ignore simple facts that can not only save a life, but can save you an horrific future where possibly, your own career and dreams never materialize.

I am speaking to mom's, dad's, brother's, sister's, grand parents and even best friends.
My brain injury was not avoidable.  It was a birth defect.  Countless other brain injuries, in fact all traumatic brain injuries (TBI''s) are preventable.

The slightest brain trauma will cause permanent damage!

Oh, I know I will be raked over the coals by the medical community for that statement.
You may even say, "How dare you?"  "I thought this was a blog that promotes hope?"

I do, and you will see, but lets call a spade a spade,  you want to avoid at all costs, a brain injury. The hope in this is that if we can get people becoming proactive in prevention then possibly we can stop having this conversation.

Don't let your kids head a soccer ball.
Don't ride your bike without a helmet.
Don't get behind the wheel after any drink.
Don't let your friend drink and drive.
Don't bully.
Don't fight.
Follow all safety measures at the work site.
Don't skateboard or roller blade without a helmet.
Don't ski or snow board without a helmet.

Your future career may be at stake.

I wanted to be a professional scuba diver.  Due to the brain surgery, where the left side of my skull; was effectively removed, that career choice was dashed along with several other ones.

Due to short term memory deficit, I can't be a cop, a doctor, a lawyer, a judge, and so many other meaningful jobs.

I have been a sawmill worker.
I almost killed a co-worker when we failed to follow safety rules, did not lock out the machine and he went to remove a stick from an in-feed table and whilst he was doing that, I forgot he was there and flipped a log with the pull of a toggle switch.  It almost took off his head.  He heard the sound of the air cylinders firing and pulled back just in time.
I was a first aid attendant for 14 years, however I always feared forgetting one step in the ABC's of first aid that could have ended up killing a patient.  Fortunately for my many patients, I did not skip a step and they all lived.

Each neuron has a pathway.  If that pathway is damaged then the signal has to find an alternative route.  A secondary route that is not as fast as the original.

I failed math 10, three times.  I had the surgery and magically the math skills came back and I went from D to A.
Usually after surgery the opposite happens.
I merely want to emphasize how avoiding any brain trauma is good for you.

What if I have a concussion?  I don't notice any long term disability.  How can you say all brain trauma is permanent?

I like to answer that with a question.  Are you sure?

The damage may in fact, be minuscule.  Your sleep pattern is just slightly altered.  You need a nap in the afternoon which to you is unusual but you blame something else besides the concussion.  You blame stress at work, your finances or your relationship.  You never truly give any credence to the insignificant bump on the noggin you got the month before.

It may alter, ever so slightly, your word finding ability, or your mathematical skills, or more personally your ability to be calm and patient with your friends, co-workers, or even your kids.

It can lead to violence to a friend or spouse, loss of a job, loss of friends and all because you didn't take note of what that rattling of the brain did to you, took no further steps beyond a trip to the emergency department. The emergency department diagnosed you as "concussion" and sent you home with a sheet of paper outlining what to look for in behavior over the next 24 hours and that's it.

You have to be your own best advocate.  It starts with prevention and ends with pro-action.
What is pro-action?

If I could I would have a test designed that you could perform on yourself that measures your brain activity.  You would save that score for later use.

After a brain trauma you take the test again and measure it against the previous one and see if your score is lower.

Since we don't have one it is important to pay attention to behaviors and skills before the injury and compare it to those after.

At the time of the injury have a loved one take note of any alterations to brain functioning of you and after a short while seek medical attention if you feel things have changed.
Write down the things you notice.  Keep a journal so that you are well informed when you see your G.P.  He/She might be able to re-direct you to a specialist who can help mitigate the concerns you have noted.

It unfortunately starts with you and ends with you.  The better prepared you are the better you will have of navigating this bee's hive known as TBI.

Avoiding or preventing a brain injury is the best place to start.

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