Sunday, July 31, 2011

"I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV."

Actors memorize the lines. Doctors do the critical thinking needed to solve the problem.

Learning by repetition, this is rote learning! Memorizing those lines, that's also rote learning. As seen, this is also the best method for re-wiring.
Rote learning is a learning technique which focuses on memorization.. The major practice involved in rote learning is learning by repetition. The idea is that one will be able to quickly recall the meaning of the material the more one repeats it. (

I've stated this is the best method of learning with a brain injury. Here's why. Input is the same. When building a neural pathway, repetition of information/stimuli coming in is the same. It has even been shown in mice, you get the better response for repetition. "The results indicate that neuronal network activity including inhibitory interneurons rather than exclusively the input or spiking activity of the principal neurons determine a BOLD response to repetitive stimuli." ( ) This repetition makes a stronger pathway.

I'll make this a lot easier by likening it to Norman Doidge's metaphor of skiing down a hill of snow. The first time down you make the path. Each trip thereafter makes your tracks deeper. Repetition is the act of going down the hill again. This deepness makes the path more likely to be used.

Rote learning is needed to make a neuropathway.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

All About Me

* UPDATED  3-20-2014

I'm a pirate! "Arrr...."

Not really, but sometimes it looks that way. Social media has it set up so that you can have a free profile and a few extras. Like a pirate, I take full advantage of this. I started with  a profile at MySpace, I also had  a group there. It became one of the largest. As social networks can go, though, most of this did. MySpace closed all its groups.There was a large exodus of people from MySpace. Luckily, I had something set up at Facebook, This has now become a major source of brain injury dissemination of information. I also had a Twitter,!/angelar70 Twitter has become a source of connections. It's also where you can see the latest me, usually daily, sometimes hourly. My latest venture is the new Google+

Knowing that things can disappear, I looked for something that should last for my blog. I chose Blogger by Google, knowing Google was a large, strong company. I currently have 2 blogs going, is sort of a 'how to' for other brain injury sufferers. It gives directions, suggestions, concerns, etc-the things a person (or family) with a brain injury need to know. The other is which is thought, theories, and whatever else.

So who am I?

This is a picture that is more current. This next one is from early on in the injury. I had to get special permission to leave the hospital to attend a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese, and my mother had to get special medical training.


This is me before the injury. I'm almost back to that. (Just a little older)

A person like me shouldn't be able to do any of this. My initial account of my injury is in page 9 of Stroke Connection magazineTechnically, I should have stayed in the hospital another few years and gotten out much later, if not still be in a care situation. I was aware enough   to live on my own and didn't want to make another Medicaid move.

Before all this happened I worked in disability, primarily children. So I knew what services there were... and were not. I knew adults had less. As I've found out, if your disability happens as an adult, what's there is almost nothing.So, I could find what I needed, but being able to express that was an issue  as I could only make sounds but  not speak.

This leads me to my condition. If you want to know what happened it is stated in I wasn't medically stable. Sure I looked fine most of the day, but it was like a gamble in the next minute as I might need life saving procedures. Especially when I still had that thing in my head. (I had an AVM that could  bleed in my brain.)

I started out only able to open my eyes. I could hear, though, and understood.(I understood more than thought because staff didn't know my training.)  I started moving my left-not that great, but it moved. It's taken some time to get it purposeful. Right before I left that rehab I started making sounds. They must not have believed their ears, because they put a camera down my nose to look at my vocal cords. That was one of my last speech sessions for years. I left that hospital after a few months when my insurance ran out. I then began a trek across my state going from place to place because I had the government's medical coverage and a permanent placement couldn't be found. In my total time I was hospitalized, I saw 5 hospitals, 1 long-term care facility, and 2 nursing homes (licensed and not). I'm now in my own home. (I do want to state that unlicensed is illegal and don't take your chances.)
When the long-term care unit in a hospital I was at was closing, I took the opportunity to push for going home. Like I have said, I could have stayed in a little longer, but you can see I'm alright. Not only alright, but considerably improved. I've taken to the internet. It's quite lengthy now, but I started at the University of West Georgia's. It had a rare neurological disorders group. At the time there wasn't much. Now there's a lot more. Since then, computer technology has grown, and so have I.

*  That picture of me before my injury is just what my appearance will closely be like. I will just be older and have a hole in my neck. What you look like on the outside is not necessarily what's going on in the inside. What's going on in my head doesn't look like that picture. The last ten years doesn't look like that picture.
*  A picture of me in the last year (this is 2013). The link in the comments:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I had an "aha moment" while writing this comment:
Okay. The hospital I was at had me classified as "Semi-Vegetative" I took this to be semi-conscious, and a good majority of ppl with brain bleeds experience a similar state-MCS or Minimally Conscious State. I looked into "Semi-Vegetative." ...It's not MCS, but PVS (Permanent Vegetative State). Schiavo was PVS. (BTW I still have my feeding tube.) The govt had us believing it wasn't possible for someone who is PVS to recover. That's how they validated her death. No wonder why I'm having such a time, and I'm still recovering.
I'm still recovering! It makes sense, and I had to go back to the definition.
You see, we don't really know what recovery will be like from PVS. I've been mostly compared to the usual TBI, and I am a miracle.  What if I'm compared to other PVS recoveries?--Oh wait. There are no others. If there is no comparison, then I set the standard. Instead of many miracles, there's just one-that I'm the first.


Notice the trache is gone
Pushing up to stand
Standing with a walker

Even years later there continues to be progress. Maybe this progress continues to be recovery. We don't know. Instead of miraculous, it's a learning experience.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Learned Non-Use

To know more about making a neural pathway, you need to know about not making one.

"Research on monkeys with a single forelimb from which sensation is surgically abolished demonstrates that such animals do not use their deafferented limb even though they possess sufficient motor innervation to do so, a phenomenon labeled learned nonuse."  (  ) In this case, a neural pathway is not made.

So 'use it or lose it.' It's pretty much the same with everything else you do. Take for instance the 1st time you made scrambled eggs (not everyone can do this), you started the process of learning how. The next time you did it it was better. Now you are an old pro. You made neural pathways. Then there's never did it-never will. The person may have the ability, but that was not needed and never learned. There was learned non-use.

 Now the following is amazing to me.

I guess everyone has the ability to play guitar with their feet. He's the only one I've ever seen who can do this.We all have learned non-use. He developed pathways for his feet to play a guitar.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

We Suck

This is in reference to

When I say the government dropped the ball with me, I'll explain my situation, and then let you come to your own conclusion. Some may have harsher words. I use myself as the example, but there are many Americans with whom the government "dropped the ball." Many of them don't understand why.

When I started I was working  I tell my story in Since I was working, I had good insurance. I went to a nice brain injury rehab connected to a hospital. But that insurance didn't last. Right before I left I started making sounds. This was a big deal scientifically. That hospital had me scoped - they threaded a camera down my nose to my voice box.  They were doing the scientific research. Then the research stopped. My insurance ran out. I switched to the government's Medicaid program (Medi-Cal in CA).

The government took over and I wasn't the subject of interest anymore. No more research. I began the "Medicaid Shuffle" - I moved from place to place as I wouldn't qualify because I gained more skills, or abuses removed me, or the economy forced the place to close. It was no longer about research. It was about survival.

So I got better on my own. I did my own research. I'm giving my knowledge to the others out there who also don't have anything. (Oh, and excuse me on the documentation. I did the best with what I had. This is all from a psychologist's point of view not only because of my background, but as a medical doctor I definitely wouldn't have access to equipment. The same goes for therapy-crappy equipment, not all the equipment I needed, and the lack of a skilled set of hands.)

I didn't even talk about Medicare. Hey, that's what everyone is working for. Well it's only a step up from Medicaid. It's crappy too. It's also government. In the next paragraph I mention the government dental plan. Medicare don't worry. You don't even have one.

To Medicaid (the government) research isn't "medically necessary", just like teeth. Toothache? Pull it. Put your food in a blender, stick in a straw and suck it. That should be the government's new slogan, "We Suck."