Because of my training and work as a PhD economist prior to my injury, I think about things like how to optimize my brain as best I can. Prior to my injury, I worked on issues that are now called “sustainability” or “sustainable development”. I did research on U.S. development and made suggestions for improvements for other countries hoping to leap frog past the mistakes made in the U.S.
After my injury, I have learned abit about how to harness this prior training and research to help me get better (in other words, develop and improve) after my injury .
When I can, I try to think (and I seek help to think about) better ways to optimize my brain functioning.
And, I also think (and seek help to think about) next steps to re-optimize my brain functioning each time my slow but steady improvements in my abilities take me to a higher level.
My new, bigger, monitor that we bought this week has helped me tremendously. I cannot believe what a difference it is making! It is opening up space for me to think better.
And in being able to think better, it is opening up new horizons for my recovery.
Let me take a step back. When my head swung from side to side and front to back during my accident, connections in my brain were either stretched or broken. It’s like the telephone wires could no longer pass signals across them. I never knew how many telephone lines there were connecting parts of my brain, until they no longer were passing signals to keep parts of my brain connected!
I did not have damage to my eyes. My eyes are fine. However, connections between my eyes and brain were disrupted. And I have learned first-hand that those disruptions affect my vision.
To improve my vision and thinking, I have worked with optometrists who understand how to help me recover these connections (often called development optometrists or visual therapy doctors). The hard work I have done has helped me tremendously. I believe this work has been instrumental to fostering neuroplasticity and I believe its why I do not experience the type of lengthy plateaus that many people talk about with persistent symptoms. More on that later.
Dr Franke, OD in Washington DC (now retired), Dr Judy Hughes OD in Austin, Dr Denise Paquin OD in Northern Virginia, and Dr Denise Smith OD in Austin have helped me alot with exercises, daily living suggestions and recommendations about optimizing my functioning on the computer (versus my increased cognitive fatigue from working on the computer) that have helped me tremendously with my recovery. I have made alot of progress.
Buying a bigger monitor is following through on a recommendation made years ago by Dr Franke. At the time, I wasn’t in a position to make the change, but I kept it on my list of things to do in future.
With our move to Austin, I have been using my laptop monitor on my computer. (So, I have used a smaller screen than my previous home computer). I have had lots of improvements with my eye-brain connection in past two years through my vision therapy exercises, my physical exercise and some chiropractic therapy. With the new purchase, I have gone to a monitor that is 24 inches wide by 15 inches — so a big change compared to the laptop.
What I am still surprised to experience each time I use my computer is how much clearer I can think with the big screen!
My non-technical explanation of my experience is that my brain can better organize what I am taking in visually. And once I have written that description, I realize that that is a good description of what my visual therapy exercises do for my brain, in general. It seems like the monitor is enhancing my brain’s organization abilities when I use the computer, rather than un-enhancing or not enhancing them at all. This means that I am giving my brain practice at better organization when I use the monitor or at least not making my brains organization worse each time.
Amazing! Just thinking about the improvements from the new monitor gives me new energy and hopes for more continued improvement for my brain.
Is it possible that the monitor will help me improve brain-functioning at a faster rate?