Laughter is the best medicine with brain injury — How much is too much noise

03 Oct

How do you measure how much noise is too much? I’d say this was too much

noise!  The EEGleads were strategically placed precisely along certain areas of my scalp.  They were glued to my head like superglue!  It can take weeks to get this glue totally out of the scalp. The technician removes the leads and most of the glue after the test is complete.

English: The image is of Douglas Myers (myself...

A 24-hour EEG helps a neurologist decipher if there is seizure activity during the test.  Seizure activity is considered when a misfiring of electrical activity in the brain occurs. This test can only identify any seizures that occur during the test.

As an inpatient on a cardiac unit I should have guessed the healthcare professionals did not understand brain injury since that is considered neurology and not cardiology.  Damn…it’s either understand the heart or the brain but not both! They were given an accurate health history.  The noise was horrendous and intolerable. Maybe not to cardiac patients, but I’m sure it would have affected any person with a neurological condition!

I wasn’t able to sleep. Who can sleep in a hospital anyway?  A new patient was admitted to my room in the evening hours just after dinner time.  As expected, the patient was monitored throughout the night and that’s a good thing!  I was happy to see this was a highly functioning hospital unit.

The lights never went out.  The employees never stayed out of the room.  The talking was excessive among employees.  It seemed like a New Year’s Eve party, minus the additional noise makers and party hats.  Had I of known, I would have brought the accessories along!  It was August, so the party didn’t begin yet!  I guess we had about 4 months to prepare for the big blast!

By 4:00 am I had enough.  If you don’t have a brain injury you might not understand this level of frustration with noise and light sensitivity. I usually remove myself from the situation when the noise is out-of-control.  I’ve learned to tolerate noise and distractions better then I did immediately following injury.  It’s an adjustment, but it does get better … at least a bit better!

I hardly understand why the noise becomes so bothersome, but it does. This is one way to measure the intolerance of noise with the brain injury clients.

I reached up and with one hard jerk all the EEG leads that were literally glued to my scalp were removed!  They thought it was seizure activity because they never saw this happen before.  I knew it was not seizure activity.   Besides, how many of you have had enough is enough with the noise situation?  I’m sure plenty of you!  With or without brain injuries.

Next time (I hope there never is one!), take the party hats and noise makers and insist the party be held in a different location…otherwise take your business elsewhere.

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year!! (Photo credit: pixieclipx)

Many survivors of traumatic brain injury have complications of autonomic instability.  An area that affects the functions of the heart, lungs, breathing, blood pressure, pulse, bladder, kidneys, and anything that is not controlled by voluntary muscles.

How hard is it for healthcare professionals to understand that noise and light sensitivity is extremely difficult for anyone at anytime to tolerate, especially when they are not well and have a history of brain injury?  I deal with autonomic dysreflexia and adrenal crisis and removing the stimuli is vital or it can be life threatening.  Maybe this reaction was a natural way to save my own life!

Does it help to give a history of traumatic brain injury when being admitted to a cardiac unit?  Cardiac deals with the heart, so who cares about the brain?  Who cares about rest?  Who cares about what you say?

It’s all about monitoring the heart.  It’s all about watching the monitors, not the patient.  Who would think that keeping a patient awake all night is a problem?  Suggestion: If you are ever inpatient post your own sign on the door and above the head of your bed “NOISE INTOLERANCE & LIGHT INTOLERANCE” and leave a basket of party supplies outside the door!


Tags: , , , , , ,

10 responses to “Laughter is the best medicine with brain injury — How much is too much noise

  1. buckwheatsrisk

    October 3, 2012 at 12:17 am

    i hope you’re okay! i haven’t been able to follow the last few days. i’ve had eeg’s done, as i have epilepsy. i don’t handle noise and light well either, and now i’m wondering if it’s connected to my epilepsy?? hmmm…

    • brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR)

      October 7, 2012 at 6:49 pm

      I’m well. Thanks for asking. Lights and noise can trigger seizures. They are common in many neurological conditions, but I believe if we polled anyone with chronic illness (physical and mental) and aging these could also be factors for them as well. Keep me posted of the results of your EEG. EEGs are often “normal”, unless a seizure occurs during them and that doesn’t appear often unless it’s so severe that brain surgery is needed to control seizures. It’s hard to get a recording of a seizure. Hope you are doing okay.

      • buckwheatsrisk

        October 7, 2012 at 6:58 pm

        I’m glad you’re well! That’s interesting you said that about EEG’s often being normal. I was diagnosed with epilepsy when i was 13. But every EEG since has shown up normal even though i have mild seizures during them…so you say seizures don’t show up on them unless they are major?

      • brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR)

        October 7, 2012 at 7:06 pm

        It is up to the neurologist to interpret your results of an EEG. What types of seizures are they documenting? There are so many variations of “normal”. What they consider “normal” or one, may not be “normal” for another. We just all need to know what is “normal” for ourselves. Never let healthcare professionals minimize your concerns. Address them, and ask for complete explanations. If you leave with further questions later, get them answered! Hope you are enjoying your new home!

      • buckwheatsrisk

        October 7, 2012 at 8:48 pm

        Well none show up, but i was diagnosed with juvenile tonic clonic (grand mal) epilepsy.
        The meds i’m one control the big ones but i have many petite mals a day.

      • brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR)

        October 8, 2012 at 7:46 pm

        As long as the medications are covering your seizures, it should not show any seizure activity. But, that’s only if you didn’t have a seizure during the test. EEGs are not 100% reliable. They will NOT detect seizure activity when the test is not being performed, unless another malfunction occurs in the brain electrical system. I don’t know the exact reliability, but I believe it’s significantly less.

        Initially, when you had your diagnosis years back it most likely showed seizure activity or you might have someone witnessed grand-mal seizures. EEGs confirm no break-through seizure activity if “normal”.

        It’s very difficult to capture seizure activity on EEG, unless it’s frequent episodes several per hour or sometimes more often captured if it’s a 24 hour EEG. As you know there are so many forms of seizure activity and I’m just referring in generalizations. Specifics are left up to Neurologists and other medical professionals that deal with seizures.

        Every person is different, but in your case it appears your seizures are controlled. At least as controlled that medications handle. That’s great! How do you feel? When was your last seizure?

      • buckwheatsrisk

        October 8, 2012 at 7:57 pm

        Thank you for this, has been such a learning curve! I haven’t had a Grand Mal since I was 16, I’m now 42. I have little ones all the time but I have my license. Doc’s don’t see them as serious enough to take it away thankfully and they aren’t! i feel draggy all the time from the meds and i need lots of sleep to help keep seizures from getting worse but over all for having epilepsy i’m pretty good.

      • brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR)

        October 13, 2012 at 2:43 pm

        Sounds like you are doing well dealing with your seizures. I agree that you and many others DO NOT need to have driver’s license revoked. Most people dealing with these problems can’t leave their homes when they aren’t well anyway. Health is simply unpredictable and anyone can have a stroke or heart attack at the wheel. We shouldn’t be worried about the things we are trying to control.

        I once had the driver’s license come up as an issue. I addressed it this way to the doctor: “How many speeding tickets and car accidents have you had over the last 10 years?” The doctor replied, “You proved your point”. I had none and he had many. No one was taking away his license. Healthcare professionals need to consider the overall picture. It’s the people who don’t think they have problems that are dangerous. When you know there are problems, you live more cautiously and within your limits. Others push the limits all the time.

      • buckwheatsrisk

        October 13, 2012 at 3:58 pm

        I am 🙂

        How true is all of this!! I love that you got the point across to the doc!! Oh to be a fly on the wall for that conversation!! lol

      • brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR)

        October 8, 2012 at 8:00 pm

        EEGs are used for many purposes. They do identify other brain lesions and things. It’s an area for Neurophysiologists to read and interpret. I leave those topics to the specializing professionals.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: