Well it’s time to return to the main point for this blog, but I have recovered from coma. We must always think of our walking if that’s the part of the brain effected. From my personal experience these things only improve through determination.
Just to mention again I’ve changed the last post and added an important link to me about the other world. . .
There are several posts here by the title, ‘recovery’, this will be the last. I now have a date for my recovery from coma, my father’s funeral 30/7/2017. It would have been unthinkable during my time in hospital for me to write and delivery a speech to so many people and also to try and answer their obscure questions. My father’s remembrance acknowledged a most excellent life. I think I have posted the very eulogy I delivered, not exactly, I ad-libbed. It was indeed a celebration of a life well lived. To hear other speeches about him also stimulated my memory, I could remember his honesty and sincerity that all spoke of. I thought to include a link where my speech is in the first video . . .
And this link about the other world. . .
A few science documents on the web that consider consciousness and existence. So I don’t lose them again I thought I should post them on my blog, My memory is quite bad so sometimes I can’t find them…
Dear fellow coma victims, after 5 years and more I think I’m presently turning a corner in my recovery. My walking is improving, slightly better than a 5 year old child, well I’m now five and a half years old. In fact the whole right side of my body improves. For the first time I’m typing with my right hand to test, I wrote most of this yesterday and return to my left for ease of writing. I’ve started leaving my walking stick at home again, only my toes need to normalize for my gait to return, they should stop pointing upwards and effecting my balance. I pick up my coffee with my right hand, I used to spill it when I tried to do that. Also at breakfast for morning cereal I use my right, so many things. I still use the left to brush my teeth but force myself to try with the right like I always did. I’ve said it before and again, we must keep pushing ourselves and try to do things like we always did before coma for the brains new pathways to understand our body. Now I can remember more easily what I did yesterday too, last night we went to a favourite restaurant, it would have been difficult to recall. The best advice I could give to other coma victims is to always push yourself and try, by my experience it takes a very long time for the brain to reroute but it’s best if it does so properly with all the nuances otherwise you’ll have to live with the defects. Oh and travel if you can, only joking but it seems the new environments help, photo in Thailand. As the doctors said time would be my best friend, I also think mindful awareness is.
Dear fellow coma victims, indeed normalisation is a very slow process, I have concluded that the new pathways in the brain must learn everything again. Heel toe the best and most pressing example. At the gym yesterday on the running machine I noticed even for that, it is the correct way for any movement with the legs. I actually am uncertain the new pathway wasn’t used for something else and it’s unnatural for leg operation. I still need a walking stick after more than 5 years but slowly less and less. I wonder at what age as children we develop a complete command of our body parts. At least not all pathways were destroyed by my coma, I’m imagining how bad it could be and probably is for many coma victims. I always wonder about the non physical effects, like empathy or love etc, so many emotions to consider, are these feelings too located in parts of my brain that were damaged by coma? Then again I wonder if they are actually stored in the brain, maybe emotions (person to person) are in the environment by association and we access such feelings from there. Indeed we are learning much more about reality nowadays with the likes of ‘entanglement theory’. I can believe not everything relating to a humans existence is located in the brain. Am I still an ok person? The same or better or worse? Perhaps my experiences through this ordeal have changed my outlook in general, after all a man knows the things in life by experience. Am I equipped to process all experiences after coma? I can’t help to relate all this to computers having worked with them for so many years, have I lost a little RAM? Certainly my hard drive is a little damaged. Much of my data sensors still work, eyes and ears etc, maybe a little worse too. Medicine suggests we can reroute the brain, the organ can adapt to changes, I don’t know how doctors measure this ability. Through trial and error I suspect by the many coma and stroke victims that have gone before. I am no doctor but always try to recover, often consider it and the best approach to all actions. This is merely a record of my attempt and what I think has worked for me. I sometimes look for approaches to recovery online, with anything at my disposal and enquire from doctors whenever I interact with them. It seems the brain hasn’t forgotten it’s disfunction, my ear problems Tinnitus and Meniere’s disease have returned a little among other things I previously had. They were both terrible before coma and I haven’t really had them just a little about 2 years after coma, my hearing and blocked ears bother me now but I’m often addressing it. Maybe the human brain does resemble a computer and I’ve been rebooted loosing my RAM at the time of reboot. Anyway the long and the short of this post is that we must use the brain to evaluate everything we do to rebuild it correctly. Pay attention to all actions, with every step and emotion. By my experience it is only by doing this that we improve towards normality whatever that is, what is truly normal for humans, we have defined it through laws and politics. Maybe we should become like Trump. Just a note a while later, my friend was advised to focus on heel toe after a leg injury, perhaps it’s a detail we all must be aware of, not just coma victims, something the brain must rehearse.
Fellow coma victims, today I went to the hospital to have my ears looked at in fear of my brain remembering Menier’s Disease and Tinnitus, and to evaluated my hearing loss. Because my walking is terrible from coma now I wanted to eliminate my ear afflictions from that problem, yes I’ve had problems walking before. I previously knew there was no cure for Menier’s or Tinnitus. The best outcome of coma was to forget both, my biggest problems before accident. I have experienced Menier’s just once since coma about 3 years ago, previously it was regular, tinnitus caused a high pitched squeal in the old days. My hearing loss now was due to wax build up, something I may be able to manage. A good thing about this consultation was my preparation, I wrote what I wanted covered as below. To show the doctors before so I wouldn’t forget. I think I will adopt this approach for all future consultations about anything.
History – Tinnitus, Meniere’s, Coma, Balance which is worse now because of coma, need walking stick
Hearing Loss – Wax build up
Infection – Spreading from ear to jaw and neck. I’ve use ear drops regularly to clean the wax, perhaps that is the cause of infection
Issues – Can’t sleep on right side as my ear hurts to lie on. It sometimes hurts for no reason, maybe 10 times a day, not sharp pain but I’m always aware of the region. Occasionally I get a sharp pain in both ears when I put my little finger in to clean the wax out like I frequently did in the past. I try not to do this in my right as it often hurts but previously I did.
I believe anesthetic and penicillin may have helped last time I visited a doctor a week ago. I’ve noticed slow improvement but am still very aware of my ears. I think the ear water pump helps the most.
Had issues since coma, can’t remember before
Family issue perhaps, mother, sister etc
Gaviscon alleviates the symptoms which are extremely uncomfortable at times
I feel I must be honest and include everything significant that happens to me in this blog, for memory and the outsourcing of it. My various problems are returning after coma so well my recovery progresses. My ear condition, wax and blocked ears, Tinnitus and Meniere’s disease. I get pains in my ear all the time and can’t hear properly again and have problems balancing, my leg already has issues, not another problem with balance. A condition that I visited doctors and hospital’s for. I again have become obsessed with cleaning the wax from my ears using drops and a water pump. I thought I had finally found the cure after years but alas, I needed to go to the hospital again the other day as I couldn’t sleep or eat due to my right ear. An injection for pain relief helped and drugs for infection are slowly returning my ear to normal. Not there yet and the infection also spread to my jaw and neck. I can’t understand why it’s so bad now, at its worst I can’t eat or sleep. I’m just waiting for my brain to remember Meniere’s disease again. That condition trouble me greatly before coma, I often couldn’t walk because of my balance. Please brain don’t remember my various problems, but I guess you can’t have recovery both ways remembering this and not that. Actually just before coma I went with my sister to see a specialist about these problems, I had gone for help many times in Melbourne and Singapore to doctors and hospitals, here we go again. The whole right side of my body has been effected by coma and the brain must learn the sensations of these body parts again, I live in hope. The loss of Meniere’s disease was probably the best thing to happen from coma, oh brain don’t give me Meniere’s again…
Fellow coma victims, once again I dwell on recovery. I think one of the best things to do is to keep a calendar or diary for memory. I’m keeping a Google calendar on my iPhone in which I religiously record my activities present and future. I often use it to remember what I did yesterday or any day. I suspect that the use of technology in this way helps quite dramatically, outsourcing memory. Just the act of remembering to update a calendar helps, and through your records you can admit that these events actually occurred. Clearly we must make use of the memory function in the brain regularly, to clean out the cobwebs. I use the calendar to recall what I had for dinner almost everyday, and to check if my recollections are accurate. Indeed they have improved and are back to normal now, maybe three months ago I had no idea what I had for dinner last night.
Fellow coma victims, how to recover? By my research there is no clear path but at least everyone thinks I’m recovering quite well. Can we become the person that we were before coma? I think not. By my experience it takes so long for the brain to communicate with body parts again, to develop the new pathways. Also non physical defects like memory can be difficult, I have been religiously trying to remember what happened yesterday. Thankfully my memory is improving perhaps through use, it wasn’t for a long time. I know that I’ve been to Japan before but I still can’t remember anything about it. I knew my way around Bangkok quite well from being there before, Khao San road and the likes stimulated memory. But I still have trouble with body parts on the right like toes, the foot, and my hand etc… and get cramps in my foot. I always consider my defects with every step, trying to normalise my gait. The eye sight in my right eye isn’t perfect either. Certainly my walking dramatically deteriorated about 2 years after coma, perhaps the new pathway became primary at that point, but the new pathway still needed to relate to the subtleties like feeling and balance. So can we become the person we were before coma? I suspect not but we are always the same person to others, maybe a little less capable to ourselves. The photo above is about 1.5 years after coma, I’m out of the wheel chair now and past the walking frame but still need a stick, slowly improving. There was no damage to my leg, just coma. So I am recovering awkwardly. I sometimes feel embarrassed by my defects because I suspect people don’t believe I’m trying. Coma is not like a typical injury where we see regular sequential improvement. My only advice to other coma victims is to encourage the brain to relearn the subtleties by using the limb in strange ways, the human body is a very complex thing. Regularly I try to balance on my bad leg and use my bad arm to hold onto something as I lift the good leg. When I started doing this I would fall. After 2 years it’s much better, not perfect. We must always push our bodies, perhaps the same can be done with the non physical defects. I always try to remember yesterday, even now that it’s improving just to keep using that part of the brain. So just focus on stimulating your defects I suspect, the only advice I can offer.
I suspect that for all humans, not just coma victims, time is important. For us it takes time for our brains to build new pathways. I’m beginning to accept that there is no magical cure for coma. For people at large I think time offers both change and experience, two extremely important commodities. To reflect on a social media comment to a post a while ago, perhaps the most important feature of time is now. It is true that I might consider events of the past but I can only consider them from now. Perhaps through this limitation our judgement might be flawed. Indeed we don’t always have access to the truth. Perception is only given to us through the now and our personal inclinations, choices. When considering an event past or present what is fact? For me the only fact is that I can’t walk properly. I think I can remember a time when I could. As the song goes, ‘time has got nothing to do with it’. The author Pete Murphy clearly had something different in mind, I would instead write ‘time has everything to do with it’. As the comment from our old band manager David suggested time is a series of now’s, but it was a great ‘then’ Dave. And science suggest we will soon be able to travel time.
My walk got worse after the gym last week, after two visits, hopefully it’s getting close to the last bad turn as the brain adjusts. There has been many setbacks. It seems to be getting better but then it always takes a large step back. It’s been doing that since I left hospital. But I believe repetition helps the brain develop new pathways. I suspect that the only reason I can now walk badly is because of the gym, even if my stride has had setbacks we must be repetitive in our actions. Perhaps for hearing or other issues we need to practice and be repetitive too, if we are listening to the piano just always affirm mentally that indeed it is the piano. I watched the ‘coma’ documentary from the US and it described such issues for other coma victims, hearing and the like. I don’t believe I will ever be normal again just approaching it as I now am. Luckily enough for me my hearing or sight wasn’t effected but we don’t know what was, human perception is a subtle thing, as is the workings of the brain. We must make efforts. I can remember Christmas, a celebration of the birth of christ where all people represents christ and get presents. And so we give gifts to everyone we know, it’s life’s birthday. A new walking stick for me please.
Well back to the main point of this blog, recovery. I suspect my right leg is slowly improving by trying to place it deliberately with every step. Walking has always been difficult since coma but focussing my mind might help. So much for just simply walking like I previously could. We recently went for a massage while in Indonesia but as always at massage centres I got cramp in my right leg and needed to stand up for a moment. My calf appears to be locked. I also often get cramp just lying in bed trying to sleep and must also take action and stand to try and overcome it. At massage and lying in bed I often get cramp, perhaps there is a better way to describe it, my muscles there go taut. Sure I’ve always had problems like that especially with my toes but it seems to be my entire leg now. I think placing the foot more deliberately is helping, just trying to be conscious of it in my mind. To relearn my leg and its operation the pathways in the brain need to become accustomed to the leg’s nuances. My brain needs to control it’s parts like toes and calf muscles.
Coma victims, well I went to the gym recently to progress my recovery and try to get into better shape but running on the tread mill my toes started bleeding and it’s taken until now for them to start healing, coma badly effected my right foot. My toes don’t know how to behave normally anymore, they just do their own thing. However since that session they are getting closer, I hope to be able to try and run again late next week. I’ve experienced many setbacks with my right leg but more than 4.5 years after coma I remain hopeful, please brain develop the new pathway. Perhaps in another 4.5 years I’ll be able to walk normally again. It still feels very different to my good foot, something akin to constant subtle pins and needles. Just lying in bed I often get a cramp in my right leg and must stand for a bit to get rid of it, after sleeping too it can happen! The picture is actually how my resting foot looks, I’m not trying to make it look like that.
Dear fellow coma victims, it seems memory can return after 4.5 years. Being around places of the distant past stimulates recollection. Neurologists suggest the brain can develop new pathways and perhaps memory can work again.
I’m very tired of mundane conversations around niceties. Just the typical things people say when you meet them. I don’t mean stuff like the weather or topic of interest but self centred egotistical stuff. There are of course many examples of people whose focus went beyond niceties, Kafka and Steiner come to mind. I have apparently always thought that the average person never really considers existence. These thoughts reveal a distant me, apparently I was always troubled by the average Joe. Keep returning to me my former self.
A memory… The picture is of my favourite painting in the NGV, the Melbourne gallery. I like it because it’s a depiction of potato gathering, a fundamental during the time it was painted. I discovered it was called October
1878 Jules Bastien-Lepage, I always referred to it as the potato gatherers.
Dear fellow coma victims, I have been thinking about my toes again, I believe that they are so fundamental to walking and as important as legs themselves. I was always trying to stop them pointing to the heavens but now they point to hell. I should let them interact with my brain however they choose rather than attempt to influence the new pathways myself. Maybe it does and doesn’t work the things I have said on this blog, who knows, but now the problem is with the toe next to the big one, it’s permanently low and doesn’t move upwards with each step like the good one. It makes me think not to over analyse my body parts but let them interact naturally with my brain to develop new pathways.