Our brains

July 24, 2014

the most complicated yet the most complex  organ in the human body

Think about it, our brains are functioning while we read this post, keeping our heart pumping and all other organs on track while thinking and doing other things at the same time. 

The brain can give us the most outlandish  and sometimes telling dreams by taking a part of our conscious and subconscious and weaving them together in a creative story line, that sometimes we are lucky enough to remember when we wake up, laughing at our attempts to fly or flee from danger.

But what if you have a brain injury? Then this highly sophisticated organ is off balance. While it still remembers to keep our heart pumping and other organs functioning, thoughts are different, memories non existant and I'm sure dreams are altered too. In fact, with my sister Deb sometimes she is not sure what part is dream and what part reality.

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Most days Debbie is not aware of her memory deficit and still questions where the boys are. Cameron has been away since June and each day I am with her I must remind her of this endlessly. It is both difficult and heartbreaking watching her search for things, even memories, unable to gain the words needed to describe what she wants to say, usually leaving her frustrated. There are times when nothing is missing, but she is sure it is and trying to convince her otherwise can be another struggle in our daily routine.

While our time together has improved in many ways, the duration she is going and stamina has increased, but usually with a cost that has her depleted the next day. Her sense of humor still keeps us both laughing, though I miss the great story teller that Deb always was. Having the ability to incorporate a tale of our childhood into a slapstick comedy that kept everyone laughing.

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Recently some things have stayed in her memory, these moments she remembers, sweet things that make me smile everytime she says them or sad as I relive the occassion with her.

  • While walking through the square as I remind her to lift her feet, she says "I don't want to fall like that again, I hurt my face and leg."
  • She loves Joel's new hair cut and beard, mentions if quite often
  • Getting me wine glasses at a store in the square for my birthday.

These are some of the small strides of hope that we can get in a day, week or even month. But they are progress and that makes me happy.

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Although Gordon looks for no praise, I cannot update without speaking of the love and admiration I have for him and all he does each day for Debbie. Discovering the best in home therapist that continues to teach Deb easier ways to remember things and helps the entire family in helping her. Like a soldier in a battle, he sees the direction he must go and allows nothing to distract him. There are those brief moments we grieve the life that Debbie once had, but quickly get back on track and work towards a new goal and new life with Deb.

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Reading as much as I can to understand this complicated yet amazing organ gives me hope and helps me believe that the brain will continue to repair itself. 

Here are some TBI articles  cdc

other stats

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious public health problem in the United States. Each year, traumatic brain injuries contribute to a substantial number of deaths and cases of permanent disability. In 2010 2.5 million TBIs occured either as an isolated injury or along with other injuries.
  • Every 21 seconds, one person in the U.S. sustains a brain injury. You may have been injured yourself or may know someone who has. Brain injuries most often result from motor vehicles crashes, violence or falls. Some injuries are severe, causing death or coma, while others are milder with symptoms that are harder to recognize.
  • The majority of people who suffer from mild or moderate brain injuries can recover fully, but the effects, while they last, can be confusing, freighting and highly disruptive.
  • An estimated 5.3 million Americans – a little more than 2% of the U.S. population – currently live with disabilities resulting from brain injury.*
  • It is estimated that one million people are treated for TBI and released from hospital emergency rooms every year.*
  • Each year, 80,000 Americans experience the onset of long-term disability following TBI.*
  • More than 50,000 people die every year as a result of TBI.*
  • Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of brain injury. They account for 50% of all TBIs.*
  • After one brain injury, the risk for a second injury is three times greater, after the second injury, the risk for a third injury is eight times

 

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