Laughter as brain injury medicine … Is there a difference between guardrails and handrails

05 Dec

I was talking with another person recovering from brain injury when she was describing how her shower and home was adapted to meet special needs.  She was paralyzed on the right side and could not speak.  She knew exactly what was happening around her, but was unable to communicate.


Laughter… (Photo credit: leodelrosa…)

When she finally was able to communicate family denied many things she saw and said.  Others surprised with her responses and acknowledged her thoughts were clear and concise and memory precisely correct, albeit her words are jumbled a bit! Not uncommon for all she’s been through.

Who’s right and who’s wrong, and who cares? This is common and adds to the confusion of brain injury.  It’s sorting through and making sense of the world around you that’s difficult!  Many times it’s not the survivor that is the problem, but they are blamed and become the problem in the eyes of others.

It’s the emotional turmoil that survivors continually go through, as though they don’t have enough to deal with!  They are not “Stupid, Lazy or Crazy”!

We were talking about all the adaptive changes in homes.  The most significant and helpful were the “guardrails”!  I just laughed. “Guardrails?” I repeated Guardrails? Guardrails? Guardrails? She didn’t get it! I was repeating it back slowly so she could process the word.

Finally, I mentioned that guardrails are installed on roadways and highways to prevent cars from going off the road.  Handrails are something installed in homes to help people get around or for support when getting out of bathtubs and around toilets.  She believed she was saying“handrails.”

Handrail Attachment Detail

Handrail Attachment Detail (Photo credit: super-structure)

After time and thought she realized what I was saying!  It’s great when we can laugh at ourselves and the things we do and say.  What we say and what we think we are saying could be two totally different things!

This is all part of a communication disorder that happens frequently with brain injury.  Let’s just keep on laughing at ourselves and each other! Laughter helps heal body, mind , heart and soul.

Wouldn’t it look goofy to have guardrails around your home? This set off such a visual it became an entire conversation filled with laughter!  Who has guardrails inside their home?

Do you think they’d be on the low side? Guardrails are good to sit on! Imagine trying to walk around the house holding on to a guardrail unless you are a young child it probably wouldn’t serve a purpose or enhance one’s health in anyway!

They take up too much room!  Are very costly.  Most of all they are dangerous heavy metal objects to protect vehicles and not people!  Guardrails would certainly be dangerous in a house posing a safety issue.  Handrails are a welcome and helpful adaptive devices! We’ll just stick with handrails!


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13 responses to “Laughter as brain injury medicine … Is there a difference between guardrails and handrails

  1. buckwheatsrisk

    December 5, 2012 at 12:07 am

    ha! i wouldn’t mind some guard rails to keep my dog at bay!

    • brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR)

      December 5, 2012 at 5:55 pm

      Guard rails, hand rails, fences, gates, but whatever it is named or whatever we call it is a good thing to keep our dogs at bay! Kudos to another animal lover!

      • buckwheatsrisk

        December 5, 2012 at 6:09 pm

        ha that’s for sure! do you have a dog? we have a dog and a snake. 😉

      • brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR)

        December 5, 2012 at 8:25 pm

        I have a long-haired miniature dachshund and three grand-dogs! That’s our next generation in this family and I appreciate the unconditional love. During the Spring, Summer, and Fall we’ve had a garden snake hanging around and my dog actually plays with it. It’s been around for a while. I don’t know the life-span of snakes but I’m surprised to see it growing. What type of dog and snake do you have? How old?

      • buckwheatsrisk

        December 5, 2012 at 8:34 pm

        Wow we have a short haired red mini dashchund! they sure are characters eh?! our snake is a red tailed boa. She is three feet long and will grow to between 10-12 feet.
        I don’t know about all snakes but our type will live at least 20 years. 🙂

      • brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR)

        December 5, 2012 at 10:52 pm

        Dachshunds sure have personalities don’t they? All the grand-dogs are dachshunds and each one is different (two are liter mates 10 months old), the other is 6…they are all brown. My dog is black with tan markings and is 11. He acts like he’s 5!

      • buckwheatsrisk

        December 5, 2012 at 10:56 pm

        they sure do! strong, stubborn, smart dogs they are!
        Ours has had three different things that should have taken his life and he survived them all. Wow yours is 11 and still has the energy of a 5 year old? yikes!
        ours is six and his name is Lowryder.

      • brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR)

        December 8, 2012 at 7:04 am

        Yes, they are strong and loving dogs. I’ve written about mine in earlier posts. Ours is named “Shaky” Scott Sigmund Freud. After the death of our first dog years ago my husband has said “no dogs”. We weren’t looking for one, but when we saw him just couldn’t resist … and I promised we could call him “Shaky”, my husbands nickname at work! Hence, we call him “Shaky”.

      • buckwheatsrisk

        December 8, 2012 at 11:50 am

        That’s so adorable!!

      • markinidaho

        December 6, 2012 at 12:41 am

        I’d be concerned that buckwheats red tailed boa may develop a taste for sausage. Perish the thought.
        Those who have dogs who play with snakes need to understand that this can desensitize them to rattlesnakes. A king snake can become aggressive and bite a dog that gets too close. Dog trainers use king snakes to train dogs to stay away from all snakes to prevent rattlesnake bites. The smallest venomous snakes are the most deadly. A bite on the nose will easily kill a dog.
        A local kennel club has a snake training day each spring where the dogs are exposed to king snakes. As the dog sees the king snake, the dog is hit with a shock from a shock collar. This training can save a dog’s life.
        Just a word to the wise.

      • brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR)

        December 8, 2012 at 7:09 am

        Thank you for educating me. I will give it much more thought, even though we don’t live where rattlesnakes are…but one never knows what comes up from the earth! As we plan on camping there will be opportunistic environments that may have snakes. I will keep an eye out for snakes, and keep my dog safe! You may have saved my dog, because of my poor judgment but you have provided excellent educational advice. Again, I can’t thank you enough.

  2. markinidaho

    December 5, 2012 at 12:27 am

    What do you mean there are not guard rails in homes? I have extensive guard rails around my second story balcony. I sometimes use them as handrails if there is snow on the balcony floor. Wouldn’t want to slide of a balcony that is 12 feet off the ground. I even have a guard rail at the head of the stairs.
    Just because we may only have half a working brain does not mean we can’t be half right. LOL


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