Saturday, March 23, 2013

Groove Me

People continue to debate whether I'm conscious or not. Let them. There is something else that needs to be dealt with right now that doesn't concern my consciousness. (For some background, I suffered a severe brain injury. I shouldn't be able to write this.) I have believed rewiring is slowly occurring for a long time now. Maybe if rewiring, neuroplasticity, was accepted, this wouldn't be such a big debate. (Watch the video for an explanation of rewiring/neuroplasticity
I was recently asked on Twitter, "if there was one thing to change to make you happy what would it be?" (J.-François Gariépy
My answer:  THERAPY.

Therapy has slowly been cut to almost nothing. Put "Medicare cutting therapy" in your browser and all kinds of stuff comes up. What once was all the time, is now just a little bit to help some of you get by.

When I started this strange journey, I was employed in a county position. I worked for a county mental health. It came with pretty nice insurance. Insurance I ended up using when I became incapacitated. Time went by and medical costs were high. The insurance ran out. I now have Medicaid and Medicare.

These latter programs provide close to nothing for therapy. The lesson would be:  don't lose your employment insurance. In most cases that means don't lose your employment. Sure there is a way to continue that insurance (that's what I did) but it's not free. So you have to be able to afford it.

For therapy, I started with the best. When I switched to Medicaid (I wasn't Medicare eligible yet) it became poor. There was a lot less. Now, therapy is nothing...and I have both! (Only a minimal amount is provided at the beginning of your injury).  

It's good I started with private insurance. My situation was dire-to the point where when I reached a hospital I was air-lifted to a trauma center. I was
 lucky to be alive to receive surgery. Afterwards, followed a coma and more surgeries. (I obtained these records. I never opened my eyes at this place.)

I was transferred to a nice rehab with hospital. I opened my eyes at this place. I still had my insurance from my employment. (This meant letting all bills go to collections and using my Social Security to pay the medical.) This place followed all the rules. (I knew "the rules" from prior experience.) They soon noticed my progress. My progress was noticeable, but not fast enough to return home. I ended up in long-term care with death as the outcome. (Obviously, this didn't happen.)

What was a little different about me is my past. At the time of my brain injury, I was  currently employed as a behavioral therapist, but what they didn't know was what I did before. I ran an early intervention program for babies who would potentially be disabled. I was quite educated and experienced in brain development and disability. I managed to have all that knowledge still...trapped in a useless body.

Much wasn't expected from me. I wasn't even expected to breathe on my own. Well, I breathe. I do a lot of other things as well now. (It's funny to me that current Social Security is based on the records of the first hospital, and therefor I am in a coma.) On to what is needed, though, THERAPY.
This can be done on your own, at your own leisure, in your own home. I told you above I used to do Early Intervention. A part of this is being able to leave parents instructions of what to do for therapy for their child. That's what the above document is...basic instructions for you to provide therapy...a DIY.

You will need the help of a therapist to get started. A therapist starts the initial exercises. You periodically go in for  the therapist to check on how the exercises are going. Therapists can add to or take away exercises from the program.

This makes it a lot easier on the person who needs to receive rehab therapy. It also frees up therapists to work on what is needed. This is a low (maybe no) cost solution to the back-log of in-patient rehabilitation of brain injury. Instead of being put on a waiting list, a home program is started. (Out-patient therapy!)

Therapy is needed in order to rewire properly. How could they start something and not finish it?

In order for the  brain to rewire an activity, the activity must be done repeatedly. Norman Doidge gives a description of this when he likens it to snow skiing, but uses it to explain a bad habit. "Plasticity is like snow on a hill in winter. If we want to ski down the hill we can take many different paths because the snow is so pliable and plastic. But being human we tend to favour one path and pretty soon we´ve developed a grooved track, which ultimately becomes a rut that is hard to get out of." A habit is a habit; good or bad. Therapy does the same activity over and over the right way. It develops a habit (good). You could say it makes the groove in the snow deeper.

As far as proof of this thing working, I can only offer myself. The exercises are for therapies that stand on their own, OT, PT, and Speech. This thing has just become part of my life. I do it every day. I'm not slowly getting better. I am  slowly making my grooves deeper.



  1. Love reading this kind of stuff keeps me working on my recovery.