Thursday, July 25, 2013

What I Have Learned



[This goes  with http://thoughtfulveg.blogspot.com/2011/08/description.html. "Developmental stability" is a doozy.]

I have learned I am not conscious. I don't say "unconscious." There is conscious and unconscious. Then there is this third state. A vegetative person has their eyes open, has sleep and wake states,  and a lot of brain damage. They are not conscious. After a  year in this state it becomes permanent. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persistent_vegetative_state  So I am permanently not conscious.

I'm going to contradict this. I have always been conscious. I was unable to move to respond to my environment. This even includes blinking. I have recovered somewhat, but I am still unable to move in some aspects.


Not being conscious is the main problem. It prevents further study because I am permanently not conscious and will have no improvement. So no time, energy, or money should be spent on me for recovery (and somehow this is also translating to research).

Lucky for me this is what I used to do. I am with myself 24/7. I'm just not as mobile. I can sort of provide therapy, at least the early therapy. (I did  ages 0-5.) I used to think I just needed to get myself to a toddler, developmentally. Well I mostly talk and push to a stand. Sounds like the development of a toddler. I do this all non-consciously, though. No therapy can make you conscious.

I'm either savant or very smart. The savant has incredible neuroplasticity. "Savant syndrome, both in the congenital and acquired types, provides compelling evidence of remarkable brain plasticity." http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2677584/  I continually have made progress. I have never "plateaued" as the therapists say, or my condition never reached no improvement.


At some point, I should have gone from PVS to  MCS.     



"...some of them might recover...and not get adequate therapy." Not getting adequate therapy is what I am experiencing now.

This also happened...  "The minimally conscious state (MCS) denotes a specific level of functional recovery of severely brain-injured patient." http://www.jci.org/articles/view/27021 "The nerve fibers from the cells were severed, but the cells themselves remained intact." http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/2006-07-03-brain-rewired_x.htm What appeared to be dead wasn't. The wiring was just gone. It has just taken this long to rewire (and maybe other things.)


I do know this is slow. I'm on a glacially slow track. If it has taken me 10 years to get this far, then where will I be in 10 more years? I do know  that this "savant syndrome" or whatever you want to call it is not fully formed yet. If it's like the other, then I have a  few more years. That's okay. I can use the  extra neuroplasticity.

(Extra neuroplasticity is a therapist's dream. There are no plateaus. Just keep doing the exercises until the next developmental level is reached. No exercises is no progress.)
  
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Then there's this medication that was given to me.... It's suspected of causing brain growth. It's also suspected of causing increased cognition. I was in a controlled environment. My diet is controlled as I receive  a prepared formula via a feeding tube. That sounds like a human trial. Someone just needs to put it together from my medical records. The hard work is already done.

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Neurogenesis may have happened. This is where a new brain scan would be handy. Then you could see what part of the brain is functioning. Remember I was in a coma and on a ventilator. Only my heart was beating. That indicates only part of my brain stem worked. (The brain stem also does breathing, and I could not do that.) So, I only had brain stem as functional brain.

If all of this that I am doing comes from my brain stem, then that re-wired to do everything...including speaking and standing. That would be a first, but I doubt that.  More likely it was neurogenesis, or my brain regenerated and is doing this. That would also be a first. Both situations have never happened before and this is why people who know me are in awe.

Pushing to a stand and slowly learning to speak indicate brain growth. It is something we see with children. The brain stem does not do this. This is what I see happening in me. It is different from childhood growth in that it is much slower and the sequence is a bit different. This would be neurogenesis at a low level and then the brain growing slowly as it does.






What a long strange trip it's been. I can only document it.



 
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8/27/2015
 
Instead, I am going from PVS straight to consciousness. That's like going from 1 to 5 and leaving out 2, 3, and 4. MCS, Minimally Conscious State was in between. It completely gets left out now. I did go through it, however.

I did get classified as something that can fit, but it's not official, "semi-vegetative." If one is only part vegetative, then they have to also be part conscious. If you ask me, it sounds the same as MCS. It's easy for someone to say I went from part consciousness to being fully conscious.


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