Hoi An

img_1191We returned to Hoi An a few days ago, the photo is a dinner at Tam Tam I think, I can’t quite remember, maybe Cargo or Morning Glory. I would advise coma victims to go there as my walking improved because we did so much of it over uneven surfaces. And for me the memories having been there so many times before. We must provoke our memory, I remembered some things. Perhaps it doesn’t really matter where you go, just to try and keep moving about and living like before coma is helpful I think. If you are surrounded by familiarity perhaps you can recall. Having said that Hoi An is a most excellent place full of civilisation memories too with old buildings and streets, a little harder to move about but we need that too to make our brains work again. Although there are perhaps too many tourists there, maybe the most visited destination in Vietnam apart from the two cities, Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi. Oh my wife just told me it was Hai cafe, not Tam Tam, we also frequented rats corner again for drinks…

Birthday

img_1190Today is the 4th anniversary of my descent into coma, my 4th birthday as I have forgotten my past before the accident. I had the motorcycle accident on the 23rd of March 2012, my word life has changed since. I am now happily married and have returned to Singapore. My body and memory remain difficult but none the less I am happy. I feel my walking is gradually improving, I mostly just carry my stick now, I am always playing with my right foot and toes trying to provoke the foot to be like my good one. We seriously must keep trying, I have only noticed improvement after concentrated effort. And I could remember what I called people before coma when in the distant past I travelled to Vietnam. Maybe I have passed the worst of this ordeal. Like all children I’m eagerly anticipating getting older, perhaps when I turn 5 all of my little problems will have passed. Oh and BTW I’ve amended the page ‘Yelp’.

Hoi An

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Tam Tam years ago

The best test for my memory yet. On Friday we travel to an old favourite destination, Hoi An in Vietnam. One of my favourite places in Asia or the whole world they tell me. I only remember the names of the joints we frequented there, like Tam Tam, Morning Glory, and people trying to make their way in this world. There was a person there I apparently referred to as ‘the epitome of human thought’, a thinker, but not by his appearance. Also a place I referred to as rats corner, because of actual rats, not people. I hope I can recall the past when I’m there. I also don’t remember if I actually referred to that guy as ‘the epitome of human thought’, something like that I think! Perhaps I will recall… I’ve been thinking about what I called him for ages and I remembered, ‘The Epitome Of The Human Condition’. My wife confirmed this when I suggested it. We referred to him as ‘TEOTHC’ for short, said in Singlish, there are so many ‘Teo’s’ in Singapore. We just needed to add the human condition bit. He was always looking about in the garbage and refuse, difficult to clearly understand his purpose. Maybe when we get there my memory will continue to come back.

Inconvenient

img_0264Recently watched the film ‘an inconvenient truth’, I might have seen it before as a couple of posts on this blog talk of very similar things. For example that global warming is effecting the weather and causing downpours, that was also expressed in the film. I have forgotten if I watched this film before coma, but at least I still remember global warming which must have troubled me. I’m sure many people have seen the film, if you haven’t seen it in my opinion it’s a must see. Scientifically it proves global warming, absolutely nobody could challenge the fact that global warming is happening and is caused by human activity. My twin brother says I should stop flying around the world to cease contributing to green house gases. Perhaps he is right but I couldn’t imagine a bigger sacrifice for me right now. It would only be a drop in the ocean but we need such actions from all people, we need to take climate change seriously. It clearly is time for drastic action. If only Al Gore became president maybe this problem wouldn’t have developed as much as it has. Instead we choose to focus on other things like money, politics, elections, terrorism, sport etc, there isn’t very much about climate change on the news now given the Paris conference on climate change has ended. For global warming not to be man’s primary concern is actually suicidal for the human species. I think that global warming will dramatically alter our planet and it will make it extremely difficult for humans to survive. Many species have already become extinct because of climate change, soon polar bears will be added to the list, eventually human beings too. Coma is actually trivial by comparison, when humans become extinct coma will end.

Defects

img_1559Coma victims of the world unite.  I have added to this page everyday for more than a week, perhaps more to come, a list of all the defects I’ve experienced since coma. Thinking about this site and how best to help other coma victims I decided that the best approach would be to tell others of the problems I’ve encountered. We probably have unique problems but just to have them listed from another coma victim might help, I couldn’t find such a list browsing the internet myself. To document the effects I’ve experienced may be helpful to other victims. I just saw a news item on the BBC about a process to cure quadriplegics and enable them to walk again that is being developed, it spoke of the brain relearning. It spoke of new pathways forming in the spinal chord, for the brain to learn about the legs again. But perhaps the brain reacts differently after coma from quadriplegics, it’s all about ones consciousness coma. The closing off of active perception, we are not actually sure of the extent to which perception closes, stories abound on the net of people in coma actually still perceiving something. Like for quadriplegics perhaps medicine will solve our problems too in the future. There are probably more subtle things too that were central to our character before coma, these are just the rantings of a madman. I probably will keep developing and adding to this list.  Just hoping to provide this site with some feel.

Mobility

Obviously with my many physical defects resulting from coma, TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), I’ve found it difficult to get around. Well I’m out of the hospital bed, wheel chair and walking frame but still need a walking stick after nearly 4 years. It’s like the brain is learning to walk again. A child takes a long time learning to walk properly. My ankle appears to be the main problem, I was told in hospital heel first then toe. I need to make the ankle turn up to do that, my left one does it automatically but not the right, I must mentally try to make it turn. Also the toes on my right foot still point to the heavens especially the big toe, I often use my brain to try and make them point straight ahead. Difficult mental adjustments of the toes, they aren’t normal yet. I still can’t use my walking stick with my right hand after years of trying, I do sense some improvement. Neurologists now say the brain can relearn. I go to the gym regularly to try and teach my brain again about my body. We are soon to travel to Vietnam, which will test my mobility again, travelling has really helped my mobility I think. Of course it would, to try and be active and not staying put because of my little problems.

Balance

My balance has become bad, I trust my left side much more than my right. Several times each day I try to lift my left leg and stand only on my right, I have to hold somethings while trying, I try to hold with my right but it doesn’t always work. I try to use my right hand on stairway rails. I always find it difficult to stand in the shower but I must do that every day. I try and use my right hand in the shower to wash my hair and lather but must use the left sometimes. Also I try to brush my teeth with my right but still must use the left occasionally, maybe half half.

Cramps

I get many cramps in my right foot, I’m not using my arm so much because it doesn’t work well, I have to use my foot often to try and walk. Perhaps it’s the use of the foot that causes the cramp but I don’t remember getting cramps before. I suspect circulation has something to do with it, perhaps my mind is reacting and interpreting the sensations of my body differently and not like before and judging unusual stimulation generically as cramp.

Circulation

I suspect my blood circulation is bad too. I get rashes around my groin that won’t go away after daily treatment. They always return despite extra care. There are suggestions on the Internet that many of the defects I have from coma relate to blood circulation. Perhaps my body has forgotten this activity too, how to move liquids through the body.

Dressing

I have a hard time putting clothes on especially socks and shirts. I only mention this item because it does trouble me and I’m often thinking about it before I do something. It’s worse at the gym where I must put socks and runners on. When this improves I’ll be considering myself a recovered man.

Toilet

I always think about needing to go even when I just went. I also had a problem with bed wetting and pissing my pants, always thinking about when to go and how to stop these accidents, I haven’t had an accident pissing unexpectedly for about 6 months because I’m always thinking about it and going to the loo just before bed

Writing

Many times when asked to fill in a form anywhere or country arrival form on the plane it’s always difficult. I’ve stopped keeping a diary except for this site, I use my iPhone with the left index finger.

Memory

My long term memory is bad and I must try to recall what I did yesterday. I forgot my age recently. Important event in my past I can’t remember, apparently I was married before for a year and then divorced but none of it I remember. Other significant events in my life are also forgotten, various family gatherings and weddings that I attended that anyone would remember I can’t.

Guardianship

I had some guardians which was obviously necessary when I was incapacitated but guardians need to know when the control of a person’s life becomes unsustainable. Important for monetary and legal reasons at the worst of it but not appropriate for a victim who is approaching normality or for the guardian to questions personal, emotional, decisions. It can impede recovery when people don’t take them seriously in their thinking once they can actually think independently and logically again. I received an email from someone who read this site that reminded me of this, my biggest problem from coma. I must have forgotten what troubled me so much a short time ago. The doctors said I would require institutional care for the rest of my life which I guess impacted the guardians thinking. I was recently re-married about 1.5 years after coma, obviously she deeply cares for me to marry a coma victim. And so I left my family for a woman I was with prior to coma, my guardians (family) tried to legally prevent this marriage. We were engaged prior to coma and at the time they tried to prevent our marriage we had known each other for about 10 years. We eventually got married in Singapore, none from my family attended. After we were married I had to legally put an end to guardianship and their attempts to control my life. Every decision as guardian should be to help the victim through this ordeal, not to control. Indeed everyone involved in a new reality needs some time to adjust to the difference, I certainly required that.

Mind

I frequently think of something to do or check but just when I’m ready to act I forget what I was thinking. I’m always planning like never before as far as I can remember, planning what to do next. It’s really my memory that makes me think of  this section ‘mind’. I suspect that I am the same person after coma , my thoughts and feelings are the same, but I can’t remember. Perhaps this heading shouldn’t be here at all but the ‘mind’ is an important thing for all people and something not to be ignored. I was quite a thinker they tell me before coma, always in my mind, I don’t know what they mean by saying that? Perhaps I am just being myself again with this section ‘mind’ as a heading on the page ‘defects’, and I’m in my ‘mind’ now. At least the heading ‘mind’ reveals my deep rooted defects arising from coma… Maybe they were always there, these deep rooted defects, and only through coma had the opportunity to surface…

Age

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me and dad

Fellow coma victims, I needed to calculate my age recently, something we always just know automatically. When thinking about a family event, my mothers 80th birthday, age was a point of interest for me, to compare my age to other siblings in a photo. I had to calculate my own age. My word the coma has effected my mind. I had to think of the year I was born, I remember that still, and calculate from the current year. Something we just know, a brute fact, I can forget because of my coma, I mostly recall my age but not when I summoned it. I’m 48, I will remember my age now, I always knew I was old but when my mind needed the actual figure I couldn’t remember what age I was. I knew it was near 50 which is true. It’s just normal functioning of the brain to remember ones age immediately. I know now that coma causes this kind of thing, displacement of the individual. We will get there if we keep trying to think of ways to combat the damage caused. It really has become the focus of my life, my recovery, normalisation, that and to be happily married. Is that a normal thought? That and the cramps I always get in my right foot, quite a common affliction the Internet tells me. Drinking not enough water and bad circulation the main causes listed, nothing about coma.

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