Have you had an increase in symptoms and can not figure out why? It’s no wonder why. Traumatic brain injury affects every part of the body in so many ways and every aspect of life. Here the brain injured person is left to figure out all the complications they deal with in life plus all the mental, physical, social and spiritual issues.
I’ve come to the conclusion that those who brain injury survivors are highly intelligent, great problem solvers, strong, determined, and they’ve become health experts trying to solve problems because research has not solved brain functioning on the cellular level or mysteries of the brain.
Everyone wants to know why you aren’t working and why you are having problems. Give them a list and see if they can solve your problems. If they do, you’ll be back to work! Even if they can help as your advocate, they only have a limited number of resources and time. Believe me, there are many people out there desperately trying to help their families. They also find themselves in the maze of healthcare.
To help you tackle the problems I will give you a small list. Keep track of what you are feeling, how you are feeling, when you are feeling this way, and what you were doing when this all started. Oh, it really sounds easy right? Forget that! You’re not just dealing with a basic headache that you take one aspirin and call me in the morning type.
You take one aspirin and nothing else works either. Is it really new? What have you changed lately? There are so many variables that can alter your ability to function at your optimal level.
Your next appointment is next year. You need to figure this out on your own. Next year is a long way off. Usually only one problem is addressed at a time. You need to be assertive when calling the doctor’s office and see someone sooner then next year. Don’t do that until you have all your findings documented or you will be wasting your time. You will be prescribed one more pill that may add to the problems already.
You might get lucky and temporarily resolve the current problem, but then it snowballs and you find yourself with more and more problems. Let’s stop this roller-coaster ride at least halfway! This is happening to you and no one else gets it. You are IMPORTANT! Every problem you are dealing with is important!
One thing that is common with those who deal with memory dysfunction is the inability to think through or connect the dots to why one has developed new onset of symptoms. This is where notes come in handy, but only if you remember you took notes!
Only if you remember to take notes. Only if you remember to be consistent. Only if …. Only if … Only if … Only if … Only if … Only if … Only if … Only if … Only if … Only if … Only if …
***Help problem solve your situation.
Notes from you, to your doctor
- New Problems
- Old Problems
- New Symptoms
- Old Symptoms
- Increase in Symptoms
- When did this start? Date? Time?
- New medications?
- Old medications? side effects? Go to your pharmacist and check.
- Recent Changes?
- Nutrition? WHAT ARE YOU EATING? Keep a meal chart.
- Laundry detergent? Was it changed?
- Body lotion? Shampoo? Anything changed?
- Sleep diary. How do you sleep? Time? Wakeup?
- Duration. How long have you had the problem?
- What helps the symptoms?
- What makes them worse?
The following is a personal example to help families understand and survivors know how difficult this is to problem solve:
I approach this because as a high level functioning TBI survivor, a retired certified rehabilitation registered nurse, and one who should have it altogether I find myself in this situation.
The past couple months have been plagued by a new onset of headaches that rendered an inability to think clearly for much of the time. Symptoms are intermittent but without resolution one can’t function even at the most basic level of functioning. I wasn’t concerned about it being something new only worse, but I couldn’t figure out why?
Finally, I realized the Adderall I take for clarity of thought also helps alleviate headaches. At least that’s what I’m thinking. I know I’m thinking much better then many people with or without injury! Since I stopped taking the medication a few weeks back I didn’t recall this as being a possible cause.
I thought about nearly everything. I believed a disruptive sleep pattern was the cause but even when I got a good nights sleep the unrelenting headaches returned.
It’s difficult to problem solve these things and most survivors of TBI only visit their physicians once or twice a year. The remainder of the year and daily challenges are up to you and your family to resolve. That is, if you have a family that will help! That’s a huge job, when most have no medical knowledge with limited time and resources.
I want others to know this is a difficult task, even 21 years after injury…but it’s not impossible! There is HOPE! I consider myself well equipped to problem solve but it’s not as easy as people think when you have a brain injury or any type of brain dysfunction hence the reason for delayed treatment and help for others like myself. It’s just not easy for anyone, with or without injury!
Again, I awoke with a headache even after getting a good night sleep. I went to the pool by 7:00 am and while exercising I felt better but my headache returned within about 20 minutes after exercising.
My conclusions were: Serotonin is increased with exercising so I asked myself do I need an antidepressant to increase serotonin? Maybe I should stay in the pool! I wondered since warm water aquatic exercises helps push the blood flow up, did I need to increase Florinef that stabilizes homeostasis of water balance and increases blood pressure?
It’s simply a complex balancing act. Don’t let anyone minimize what you are dealing with! I was partly right, and partly wrong. So much time had passed trying to problem solve that it lead to adrenal crisis (medical emergency), autonomic instability (medical emergency), and pancreatitis but it was treated urgently! All ends well.
This isn’t about me, but the complications that happen. When the symptoms are obvious they will be treated urgently…blood pressure 60/30 is significant! I never thought to take my blood pressure! Even when I should. No one reminded me. It’s just life! You ignore nearly everything daily until you can’t deal with them any longer and your body begins to shut down! At this point thinking is impossible!
It’s another day and a good day for me! At least as symptom free as it can get!
So, today it’s working for me and I’m able to write a post! Live today, don’t worry about tomorrow, TAKE NOTES DAILY, and all your yesterdays will improve! It won’t seem so bad when you read your notes (if you remember too), because you’ve been through it already!
- Brainline.org, TBI, Brain injury, brain damage, Marcus Rosenberger. 8/2/12, if only we had known all this information when Marcus had a brain injury. We felt so all alone… (realestatesavant.wordpress.com)
- Resources for those with traumatic brain injuries (dvidshub.net)
- Effect of slosh mitigation on histologic markers of traumatic brain injury. (zedie.wordpress.com)
- Halle Berry Released from Hospital following Head Injury (celebs.gather.com)
- Duke researchers look to World War I soldiers for clues about traumatic brain injuries (newsobserver.com)