I see it as my job to get better and I am still working (hard) to get back to my baseline before my dental appointment on June 2. Its been two months now. Its been quite a struggle. I have had to use all my resources and have had to find new resources to help me. But I am getting there. I think I am at 80% now, which means that in the past three or four weeks, I have made about a 10% improvement.
I would like for my improvement to go faster. But realistically, I am grateful for that improvement.
My cold/bronchitis is lingering but almost over.
And I have been noticing that my vision and brain are reorganizing this week. A visual/brain reorganization is about the best thing that could come of this setback. Yes, I have felt my vision reorganize, and my brain reorganize. The reason why I say that that is the best thing that could come out of this setback is because when I experience a re-organization, I know that I will get to a more functioning place with my brain once I get back to where my baseline was.
In other words, I will likely be better than I was before this setback.
Getting to a better place does not mean the setback was “worth” it. It has been a struggle, to put it lightly. It has taken all I have to give. And its not over.
What getting to a better place means is that I have made the most of this period of setback. In statistics, given that I am having a setback, I have ultimately used it to move forward.
Here are the highlights of what I have done this week to help myself:
I reconnected with my former speech and language therapist, Liz Joiner, who gave me suggestions including some new resources for visual therapy and how my neurologist, Dr Hill, could help me get to visual therapy resources. Since visual therapy has helped me a lot, and since I am going through a visual reorganization, getting professional help with the next step, is definitely something I should consider. Of course, they would have to do an evaluation to help the professionals decide if they can help me.
Liz also gave me some suggestions for a therapist who understands brain injury to give me some emotional support through this difficult time and who might be able to give me guidance and connect me with other resources here in Austin.
With the help of talking with others, I realized that the antibiotic I was taking for my bronchitis was wiping me out. So I started taking more probiotics. That really seemed to help my gut — I could feel the difference. What I have learned is that there are a lot of receptors in one’s gut. And I have learned that helping my gut can help reduce some of the confusion in my head that I feel when I am sick and taking antibiotics.
How did I know I have begun having a visual reorganization? My eye doctor in Washington DC, Dr Franke taught me how to recognize them. One way that I recognize a reorganization is when I all of a sudden can see depth in a way I could not see it previously. Its like flowers all of a sudden “pop out” with depth, that I didn’t previously see.
After my brain injury, I had depth perception issues. What I know now is that I also had less than full monocular vision prior to my injury. One of the benefits of doing vision therapy after my brain injury is that I have started to get back increased binocular vision and that the increased binocular vision that I am getting will make my vision system better than it was before my injury.
I want to be talking more (in my blog) about the benefits I have gotten from vision therapy in my recovery from brain injury. For now, I want to say that Dr Susan Barry talks about her experience of getting binocular vision in her book “Fixing my Gaze”. Dr Barry is a neurobiologist. She understands the brain and brain development. She describes getting binocular vision as a journey into seeing in three dimensions, in her book. Actually, Dr Oliver Sacks first wrote about her journey in The New Yorker Magazine, He called her “Stereo Sue”. Dr Sacks was interested in writing about her story because getting binocular vision later in life is something doctors did not used to think that you could do. And she did it as a result of finding vision therapy and optometrists who knew how to help her.
To finish this post, I also had the insight this week that I needed to let go of all the things I had planned to do in June and July that I have not been able to do so far. I have been to sick to do them.
One of the things I did this week was start to re-focus on what I need to get done this month before my son’s school starts. So my re-focus moved to a forward-looking strategy from a catch-up strategy.
And I also consciously worked on rebuilding this week. I used Andrew Weil’s strategies of improving my surroundings to help lighten my mood and make me smile. I bought flowers at the store and bought a sage plant with beautiful leaves to put by the sink to remind me of my new increased depth perception. And I bought basil and made basil pesto which I love. I started investing in the future, which is a good sign that of recovery for me. There is a point in recovery where I start feeling ready to invest in the future, and I have reached it. I know that getting to the point of re-focusing and investment is a marker that my recovery is taking hold.
With my new vision for the future, its easier for me to get support for this last phase of my recovery back to or still hopefully surpassing my previous baseline. Both from the inside and from others.