Friday, November 25, 2011

My Brain Injury Details: Right Frontal Lobe

My occipital lobe and my right frontal lobe were damaged in the crash.
The frontal lobes affect your personality and is the emotional control center.
They control motor function, problem solving, spontaneity, memory, language, initiation, judgement, impulse control, and social and sexual behaviour.

For sure my motor function was, and still is, affected. My balance isn't quite right. I can no longer walk by myself with both our dogs together, without somehow loosing them, or falling over, or getting knocked over when they see a squirrel. I spent some time at physiotherapy and exercise therapy at Wascana Rehab, working on motor function.

Problem solving was a problem.
There were many puzzles I had to try to solve during my occupational therapy.
There was more than one that I could not figure out! That was one reason I was excited for my second neuro-psychological assessment. Turns out the psychologist never had me redo any of those puzzles, though I did kick that test in the balls!
My brain function has improved greatly! (feels really weird to be writing that...) My memory has also gotten a million times better!
Christmas 2009, holding a puppy
I do recall little moments from Christmas that year, after the hospital. I remember being at Troy's uncles place, and being super confused when I interacted with Troy's ex-sister-in-law.
Why is she here?! It really stuck out in my brain.

I remember a moment at Troy's aunt and uncles farm, and holding a puppy. (I love dogs, in case that wasn't clear!) Other than that, I remember waking in my hospital bed at Wascana Rehabilitation Centre and being so confused!
Why am I here?! 
Lucky for me, Troy told me each day why I was at the hospital, especially while at the General Hospital, it wasn't as often at Wascana. Gah, I love that guy!!
But day-to-day was harder. I couldn't remember what I did moments prior. My mom gave me a little notebook to keep notes with me. It was handy for a long time. I had many notes and lists.

Language was also an area I was having a tough time with. When speaking, I had to think about the physical mechanics of speaking. How do you make a long 'a' sound? It was exhausting!!
It took awhile to say anything, and often, really often, I would just plum forget the word I wanted to use. Sort of like the word is almost at the tip of my tongue...but it's further back, sometimes way further back.
My occupational therapist and speech language therapist said that I can try a similar, but different word when that happens. For example, if I can't think of the word 'chair', I can say 'sit-table'. Okay, yes, not perfect, but way better than what I was coming up with. Which was nothing.

Silly story!

Troy and I had started renovating our kitchen when we had crashed, so there was lots to talk about once I was well enough. We were chatting about the changes, and I said, "Could we get a new oven-head?" Troy replied, with a wry smile, "Yeah a 'range-hood' would be good. " It was really cute.

Mid-November 2009 till mid-January 2010 are lost somewhere in my mind. Six-months prior to the crash is really jumbled. It's a good thing I was in the habit of writing events on a calendar, or I wouldn't know if we went hiking in Manitoba before or after visiting New York City.

Troy tells me that one day he was with me(sans trach now), in my hospital room with my grandma, and I asked Troy when we could be intimate again. He assures me that my grandma probably didn't hear . . .or she pretended not to hear. Either way! Who talks like that?! "Be intimate"'s actually rather adorable.
So that would be an impulse control problem.

Initiation is not a problem. My motivation to be 'normal', for sure helps in that area. I have no problem starting a project. The example given to me at Wascana, is that often the brain injured can see and recognize what needs to be done(ex. house needs to be vacuumed), but they often don't seem to realize that the vacuum cleaner needs to be taken out of the closet.

Now, whenever I can do or remember something that I couldn't before, I say "Yay, brain!!!".
Gotta celebrate the little victories!

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