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Responsibility and Brain Function

Old 08-14-2006, 01:07 AM
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Hehehehehe... The head injury site is stonking!!! I got the link through the Centre for Neuroscience website, who's link was in the MIT open education website.

I like lines like that, especially when they're not too long and have a helpline number at the other end!! Have you seen the qualifications of the folk running the helpline? I gulped big time!
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Old 08-14-2006, 02:07 AM
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I love you Eq, my Aquarian friend.

Yes, I still believe astrology has some validity. You really fit the profile anyway.

You know what though, Equus? I'm just BSing myself about D2 - and I know it - even though his head injury was serious. It happened 20 years ago. He had to have bone fragments suctioned from his brain (pieces of his brain went with them - he had about 10% removed). The entire posterior left lateral section of his skull was replaced with an acrylic plate. The docs said he would never be substantially functional. He had to learn to walk and talk all over again.

The deficits he exhibits are barely noticeable - at least to me - but then we have been together almost 6 years.

I don't know. I really don't think I'm looking for excuses for him. In fact, I'm more disgusted than anything. You know, I just don't buy that he can't quit smoking or drinking. I guess it might seem harsh, but at least I don't let him think he's sick. I've seen him use his head injury as an excuse to avoid certain tasks, especially where reading/writing is concerned. For instance, he was having me write all the checks for bills, making me think it was too complex a task. Well, I stopped doing it, and he gets along fine. He's better at math than I am. He computes it in his brain faster than I do. He sure can comprehend the fine print on the back of a credit card application too.

I would say the most prevalent or noticeable deficit he has is confusion, though it's temporary. Say, we might be having a conversation, and he will tell me about something at work. Then I'll add something that parallels or expands on what he told me in an effort to validate or shed a different light on the subject. He'll say something like "What does that have to do with what I just told you?"

?

He thinks I'm changing the subject, which I'm not. It's really frustrating, as I'm sure you can imagine. I'm used to it though.

He smokes, and was just diagnosed with beginning stage emphysema. He's already resigned himself to his death! It doesn't make me feel sorry for him - actually, I feel the opposite. Maybe, just maybe Eq, I KNOW he's capable of quitting drinking and smoking, because of all he had to overcome as a result of his head injury! It was hard work, but he did it! He didn't just curl up in a little ball and die.

So really, I think a lot of why I'm even asking questions about his head injury has to do with a certain amount of denial on my part. He doesn't like to read and write (though as I pointed out, he's perfectly capable). Because I quit everything on my own, reading and writing were two crucial means of support and education. I can't force him to. I share as much as I can verbally. He listens, but it isn't enough. I guess a lot of people quit substance abuse without a whole lot of reading tho.

I'm tired and frustrated. It pisses me off when he talks about dying. I'm 36 years old. I'm too young to sit back and watch him die like an old man. I didn't do anything to deserve it! It's so selfish! I have been through so much! No, I don't feel sorry for him at all. I have been busting my a** to improve my life.

I'm not really asking for any advice or comment here Eq - it just helps to vent in writing sometimes as a means of putting things in perspective.
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Old 08-14-2006, 02:28 AM
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Old 08-14-2006, 02:33 AM
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He had to have bone fragments suctioned from his brain (pieces of his brain went with them - he had about 10% removed). The entire posterior left lateral section of his skull was replaced with an acrylic plate. The docs said he would never be substantially functional. He had to learn to walk and talk all over again
I think you need to give that helpline number a ring!! It sounds as though you're venting through a soup of hope, belief and confusion, and I honestly believe that some sound help knowing what are reasonable expectations will help you.

I seriously don't know enough to give any genuine opinion of what he 'should' be capable of, but hell I know the mind and brain are connected and think that having a chance to discuss this with qualified people will give a payoff that exceeds the effort it takes to do it.

I have read enough, and worked with children post brain injury (encephalitis) to know it's a landscape that takes understanding but not one without boundaries or human responsibility. I wish I had the knowledge to be able to read your description and comment in detail about what is realistic - I don't.

You ask why you mention it - but I think you know the answer, that YOU need to know and get off the pendulum of blame verses excusing.
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Old 08-14-2006, 02:43 AM
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You're so right Eq.

I just went through some old e-mails and re-read the one from his sis; she DOES mention something about the cortex being damaged, though not the prefrontal cortex as was mentioned in the article you posted.

I have been avoiding this moment like the plague. If he can't help it, then I'm stuck with this monster for LIFE!

I'm going to post the e-mail..... gimme a few.
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Old 08-14-2006, 03:04 AM
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Old 08-14-2006, 03:32 AM
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I just realized how awful it sounded to speculate whether or not it's his fault and call him a monster all in the same post. Thanks for the hugs and all, but you'll see what I mean after you read his sister's e-mail. I don't even know when I should feel guilty!

Anyway, here's the e-mail:

K's (middle initial) injury was on the left side of his head, damaging the parietal (controls the ability to understand spoken/written language and the primary sensory cortex) and the temporal controls (controls hearing and short term memory). With head injuries there are always other areas that sustain damage but it's microscopic so less shows up on MRI's. There was massive fracturing of the skull with fragments embedded in the cortex. Surgery took several hours to clean out the debris. He went back in several months later to have the plate put in his skull. Initially he had great difficulty with comprehension, written language and the spoken word. He had word retrieval deficits, could not read at an acceptable level, and constant headaches. He received speech therapy for a long time. There was also evidence of impulsivity, poor impulse control, and anger management issues. This was always a problem with him, but became worse after the injury. He refused to accept there were deficits then, and continues to this day. He developed a seizure disorder in the years following the initial injury, but refused to consistently take the medication, because he wasn't supposed to drink while on the meds. His deficits continue to be: slow processing especially with the spoken word; poor comprehension of spoken and written language and a problem with impulse control. And we all know his issues are compounded by his drinking problem. It's something he needs to get under control, but he needs to acknowledge the problem first. He's a lot like Dad in this area. Neither one would accept the fact that they were/are alcoholics.

Her information is more comprehensive than I remember it being! But yeah, now I feel guilty. The kicker though is that nowhere in her e-mail does she indicate that he's helpless or incapable. And he is very difficult to live with - sometimes downright mean. At times I want to break his nose into seven pieces. And I thought I had a problem with impulse control! One time he went to the gas station (while sober) and knocked the Pepsi guy out for stepping on his foot.
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Old 08-14-2006, 04:13 AM
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Don't feel guilty! It wasn't you that caused this - remeber that. Start at the begining, find out what you need to know THEN decide what feels right for you.

I haven't had chance to read the above yet but I will. You didn't do this - don't feel guilt and you're SO NOT ALONE.
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Old 08-14-2006, 05:07 AM
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Originally Posted by equus
Don't feel guilty! It wasn't you that caused this - remeber that. Start at the begining, find out what you need to know THEN decide what feels right for you.

I haven't had chance to read the above yet but I will. You didn't do this - don't feel guilt and you're SO NOT ALONE.
Thanks Eq. I forgot to thank you for the link to the head injury site earlier also. I checked it out yesterday, and it is very informative. I just went back after having read his sister's e-mail again, and it seems head injuries and the resulting damages can be sketchy at best sometimes. Two people can have damage to the same area and have different deficits - of course the various damages correlating with the functions that area of the brain regulates. I wish I had access to his medical records! The hospitals charge like 10 or 15 dollars a page for copies! Too bad, because I'm really good at reading medical terminology (almost a second language, though it's been awhile), and have access to lots of medical books. They're almost unnecessary now, with all the info available online. Between the knowledge I have and the resources available, I'm sure I could string it all together nicely.

I was asking him a lot of questions this morning - he seemed suspicious.

Maybe I could ask his PCP to request his medical records, or to refer him to a neurologist who can get them. An MRI would be a huge bonus; I don't think those were an available diagnostic tool in 1984. I doubt he could get a referral unless he was having some kind of problem though (besides drinking - like seizure activity, chronic headaches, stroke symptoms, etc.) and an MRI would be like pulling teeth (they almost always start with CT scans - HMOs, you know).

Still - all things considered - he's held the same full-time job for the past 10 years, and other than the drinking (which has worsened since his emphysema diagnosis), has exhibited total capability for leading an almost normal life.

It's those sketchy, potentially hidden problems that give me doubts. I hate this. I feel like if I left him and he had a seizure and died because there was no one here, I would never be able to live with myself for not having uncovered all the facts. Yes, I care about him.
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Old 08-14-2006, 05:19 AM
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Ok - I read the email and it's butt kicking time!!

Ring the helpline Autumn - you know as well as I do that it's in talking that problems get solved. All research is is a giant conversation continued over years. Time to talk!

I sense you still clinging to the same pendulum - blame versus excused, and your role is tied to what you think about his culpability. These knots need to be undone, you can care without having to take on a life long task, you're allowed to have feelings, your allowed to ask the questions you ask and hear a qualified response.

I don't give a rats ass how out of oroder this sounds but in honesty just for now I want you off the pendulum because I think it's harming you as much as any deficit or bad behaviour within your fella.

Please ring them, if they can't help directly I'm sure they'll be able to signpost you to people that can. As communities, as human beings we should care for our sick but it's not fair for that to end up shouldered by individuals without training, support, or even having made the choice in the first instance. This isn't just your problem - it's ours as people, communities, countries and friends.
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Old 08-14-2006, 05:51 AM
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Thanks Equus. I noticed on the website there is a questionairre for head-injured individuals regarding symptoms; it's lengthy, but maybe I can get him to answer most of the questions. Then I'll be able to compile a comprehensive list of questions to ask.

It so bugs me when I call someone for info, just to hang up and discover there was something I forgot to ask! No doubt though, the answers they give me will generate more questions too.

Thanks much for your input here. I know you're right, too, about the other stuff. I'm chewing on that!

So I'll let you know within the week what answers I come up with.

(((hugs)))
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Old 08-14-2006, 05:54 AM
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(((autum))))

When I was a child I had a head injury that caused a concussion. I was pretty bad in that I was dizzy and had a bad head ache and could not stand on my own for almost 2 weeks. My parents did not take me to a doctor for this. Years later I was injured at work(my head again) they did a cat scan and found the crack in my skull from the former injury and also that my neck had been broken. The doctor was far more concerned about my former injury than the present one he could not believe that I did not receive any medical treatment for it...I was drinking during that time as well that dr gave me some med that was not in harmony with my drinking so I did not take it.

Anyway I feel that I was not capible of choosing to quit drinking but because I was surrounded by people who were professionals and insisting that I let them help me I got to a point with help that I was able to quit. I think part of me wanted the help and wanted to quit but I do not think it would have happened with out the professionals being there for me.
I was not in a intimate relationship with anyone at the time I began this treatment I can imagine anyone putting up with my crap in the begining. I did meet the father of my son as I was begining to get a better grip on getting well even then I was a pain in the A$$ I do not know how he endured me then either. We are divorced now and my son's dad is one of my very best friends.

Your H maybe using his head injury as an excuse to keep drinking maybe he needs more treatment for the injury. I think I would push for him to seek more treatment for that.

Alcohol dehyrates the body and the brain most symptoms of a hangover are about dehydration.

My H is a good example of someone who eats an organic diet and still is addicted... I know his thought life plays a big role in him staying addicted. My dad was into eating right too and he was an alcoholic and he died with cancer...My H uses his early childhood abuse, his ex-wife, my bit#$ing and any other excuse to keep using. There are layers and layers of BS that are still being shed.

I know other people who have quit everything and eat an organic diet and still have cancer. The thought life I believe is a big factor. Looking at what I know about some of the people I know who have cancer althought they eat good I can still see behavior that is toxic such as seeing married men and women, shop lifting, enabling someone to keep using.What leads these people to do these things? They are hurtful. What kinds of thoughts lead people to do these things? The whole person needs treating not just the stomach,liver, or the brain. I think thoughts of love and faith help people to get well.

Love is not putting up with [email protected] Love says enough... I realize I could be pretty wasted if I had not quit drinking I may even have died by now had I not quit. I do not know if I would have ever been able to chose to quit drinking on my own. Somehow in my case good fortune shinned down on me I had a talent a gift really that lead me to work for some alternative Drs. years ago when it was not a popular thing.

These people thought that I was drawn to them to heal and be healed. The thoughts that these people had about healing healed me as much as their healing technics. I think many doctors could heal more people if they had an attitude of healing themselves as well as their patient.

I know people who do not believe in modern cancer treatments and take the treatments and die. I do not understand why they go against what they believe. I think peoples beliefs about healing, life and death need to be considered when they under go treatment of any kind. If I think I need medicine and you adjust my spine it may not help. In my case I thought I needed something other than medication to get well. I had professionals who could hear that...I think them hearing my beliefs about healing and supporting my beliefs was what ultimately lead me to taking responsibility for my health.
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Old 08-14-2006, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by splendra
(((autum))))
These people thought that I was drawn to them to heal and be healed. The thoughts that these people had about healing healed me as much as their healing technics. I think many doctors could heal more people if they had an attitude of healing themselves as well as their patient.

I know people who do not believe in modern cancer treatments and take the treatments and die. I do not understand why they go against what they believe. I think peoples beliefs about healing, life and death need to be considered when they under go treatment of any kind. If I think I need medicine and you adjust my spine it may not help. In my case I thought I needed something other than medication to get well. I had professionals who could hear that...I think them hearing my beliefs about healing and supporting my beliefs was what ultimately lead me to taking responsibility for my health.
I wish I had a bit more time to read all the posts ... but I really have to do some study ... Autumn I get the idea on glancing through this that you are dealing with some very heavy stuff. I am thinking of you ... have been through a husband with head injury, totally lost hearing, balance, smell, taste ... he smoked heaps and heaps of pot ... really a hard, hard time for both him and me (I was still drinking too ... so not fully able to give everything my all .. but I tried).

Medical profession really did what they could, but so, so short on real healing. Since that time I have learnt a lot about healing, I love what Splendra is saying above. I know that I have found that there are a lot of answers in some unexpected places and the search for health and healing can be in your own control.

Will get back to this thread when I have more time.

lots of love,
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Old 08-14-2006, 06:38 AM
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It so bugs me when I call someone for info, just to hang up and discover there was something I forgot to ask!
Me too!! I've even discovered that if you ring back fast enough you can sometimes get the same person!! I don't think people that work to offer information to help mind, they know we get emotionally involved and all asking another question shows is interest.
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Old 08-14-2006, 06:39 AM
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Thanks Splendra that post really said an awful lot to me.

I don't know how my wife stuck me, but she did and I'm glad and grateful. Last year she was diagnosed with a large brain tumour which she's had removed and I was able to make some amends. She's since been diagnosed with epilepsy and that's making huge demands upon her. It's not so long ago that all of that would have been an excuse for me to drink. Like you say:

My H uses his early childhood abuse, his ex-wife, my bit#$ing and any other excuse to keep using. There are layers and layers of BS that are still being shed.
Yup, self-pitying, self-important, self-indulgent. That's me!

And the biggest BS we wave around is the "you know, I am able to change - but only you can make me change". That's a doozy. That's the one that allows us to continue to use while our partner takes it into their head that it's their problem, and it's within their power to solve. Take it from one who knows. That one is the biggest BS of all. None of us stop until we genuinely want to stop, for ourselves and not for anyone else. Take no blame or credit.

Thanks again
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Old 08-14-2006, 06:52 AM
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Thank you for your kind response Splendra, and (((hugs))) to you too!

You know, speaking of your head injuries, it reminded me of a post you wrote awhile back that gave me a hearty laugh..... something about dents in your head? Lol Splen..... that was so funny.

I am very sorry to read about the injuries though, and glad you came through alright.

I very much agree with treating a person (medically/holistically) as a "whole" and not just specific regions or organs. I always consider holistic options as well, and also have some good books on holistic healing.

It is true that there are people who eat organically grown veggies or organically fed animal products and still end up with cancer. Quality of life still improves significantly (as does brain function) almost immediately upon making dietary changes! Even though I quit smoking, I'm aware that the possibility exists to develop lung cancer. That didn't stop me from implementing this positive change, however, and my quality of life has improved immensely.

Love and faith go a long way too, Splen..... I believe that wholeheartedly. I think that his knowing I have faith in him gives him some encouragement in his own capabilities. Also, he has seen me overcome two stubborn addictions over the past year, which is a positive thing.

Thanks for your thoughts also about beliefs with regard to certain treatments. That makes a WHOLE lot of sense. You can't change someone's beliefs, but you can work with them as far as alternatives, or whatever treatments an individual is conducive or receptive to. Indeed.

Nice post Splendra.
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Old 08-14-2006, 07:05 AM
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I'm sorry about your wife Paul. That must have been a very scary time. Modern medicine sure has come a long way! Lots to be grateful for; her recovery, your sobriety through it all, and a skilled surgical team.

I wish her the best in her continued recovery; I have heard it can be a bear at times bringing seizure disorders under control.
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Old 08-14-2006, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Autumn
I'm aware that the possibility exists to develop lung cancer.
To that I would say...cancel, cancel, erase, erase...delete, delete
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Old 08-14-2006, 07:19 AM
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Thumbs up

Originally Posted by splendra
To that I would say...cancel, cancel, erase, erase...delete, delete
Lol Splen..... positive affirmations, and keep 'em comin'! Thanks for the reminder - really. Those are powerful thoughts to hold onto.
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Old 08-14-2006, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by brigid
I wish I had a bit more time to read all the posts ... but I really have to do some study ... Autumn I get the idea on glancing through this that you are dealing with some very heavy stuff. I am thinking of you ... have been through a husband with head injury, totally lost hearing, balance, smell, taste ... he smoked heaps and heaps of pot ... really a hard, hard time for both him and me (I was still drinking too ... so not fully able to give everything my all .. but I tried).

Medical profession really did what they could, but so, so short on real healing. Since that time I have learnt a lot about healing, I love what Splendra is saying above. I know that I have found that there are a lot of answers in some unexpected places and the search for health and healing can be in your own control.

Will get back to this thread when I have more time.

lots of love,
Brigid
Thanks Brig. You know I have always enjoyed and value your posts. I look forward to your input.

Yeah, you know it is heavy. I underestimate - I know I do - but it's a means of self-preservation. Downplay, downplay. (I hope that doesn't go too much in hand with "deny, deny", lol.)

Btw Brig, it's really great to see you posting here..... I was glad to see you made your way over.

Love to you too.
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