Proud to Support World Encephalitis Day

On February 22, join in the inaugural annual awareness day to connect thousands of people around the world, enabling a better understanding of the devastation that can be caused by Encephalitis.

Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain and can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere, at any age. This brain injury can be triggered by many causes, including the cold sore virus, mosquitoes,  or auto-immune disorders. However more than 50% of causes are unknown. And there is no cure. This illness affects 20,000 people per year in the U.S. and an estimated 500,000 across the globe with a mortality rate of 20%.   Continue reading

5 More Tips for Employers Offering Employment to Brain Injury Survivors

Back by popular demand are 5 additional tips for employers whose courage leads them to engaging brain injury survivors in employment opportunities. Miss the first post? Find it here. Ever have a tragic incident in your life and no one calls because they don’t know what to say? Or they assume “everyone else” is there for you, so the phone still doesn’t ring? Many brain injury survivors live this on a daily basis. With these tips, you can make a difference in both their professional and personal lives.  

Like cancer, many aspects of brain injury are hidden. How do you help someone with brain injury such as stroke, encephalitis or TBI? People either don’t know what to say, so they say nothing. Or they don’t see the hidden residuals and assume everything’s okay. Through these very simple steps, you could be pivotal in creating a positive work environment for a brain injury survivor. Continue reading

5 Tips for Trainers with Brain Injured Employees or Students

Brain injury doesn’t have to be scary if you are informed. I’m not just an employer, I’m also a brain injury survivor, but thriving in the demanding corporate world. It’s not just possible, it’s achievable.

With returning veterans, an aging demographic, football injuries and epidemics like West Nile, brain injury is more common. More than 1.4 million Americans suffer brain injury of some form each year, according to John Hopkins. Many survivors have a host of residuals, including memory loss, cognitive disorders, balance issues, behavioral changes or vision issues, among a host of others. But it doesn’t mean that life’s over, nor being a contribution to the workforce. Here are 5 suggestions for working with those of us with a little extra challenge. Continue reading

Bring on the Complex Stuff, But the Easy Stuff? Forget About It …

Dispraxia Appears to Be a Common Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) and Encephalitis Residual

Five years post ABI, I’m amazed at what I still discover as residuals. For years, I’ve told doctors that the simple stuff is hard for me, but not until I’ve been able to document numerous stories have I gotten an explanation. Just a couple of weeks ago, the doctors put a name to this mind-baffling confusion I get in the simple things in life.

For those with brain injury, can you relate to any of these “simple” phenomena that occurred overnight? Here are a few that plague me …

  • Not remembering which finger to wear my wedding band, so secretly grabbing a peek at my husband’s finger and swapping hands while he isn’t looking.
  • Hanging up the phone and THEN saying “goodbye.” Continue reading

Preparing for West Nile 2013

Preparing for West Nile 2013

Why West Nile Isn’t Just Media Hype

The mosquito is the most deadly creature in the world, killing well over 1 million people a year across the globe. And we thought the great white shark and grizzly bear were scary! Well, they are, but not near as deadly as the pesky mosquito.

To put that in perspective, that would be like eliminating the entire population of Dallas, Texas, in one year. Pretty staggering stat when you look at it that way. And according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC), there were more than 5,300 cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) in humans last year in the U.S. Roughly half of these were West Nile fever, which means the patient had flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headaches, muscle aches or fatigue. And it’s quite possible that the number of cases is much higher, but some patients did not seek medical help, so their information was never reported. Stinks to be sick, but this gets more fearsome.

The other half of human cases were of the neuro-invasive type. What does that mean? Continue reading

How a Brain Injured Person Prefers to be Treated

Blog #2:

How A Brain Injured Person Prefers to be Treated

I may look just fine and I may seemingly perform great, but you don’t see the efforts to maintain a “sense of normalcy.” Please be gentle with me.

Tip #1: Fatigue is one of our greatest obstacles

  • If you’ll give me time to rest between meetings, activities or long drives, I will likely function much better and be the spouse or friend you are expecting. The more fatigued I am, the less likely I can focus on what you are saying or how well I perform at simple things. Silence often means I’m recharging my batteries – not ignoring you.

Tip #2: Please don’t compete with the voices in my head!

  • Okay, so I’m not really hearing other voices in my head, but it feels like it when I’m at a dinner and everyone is speaking. After a brain injury, concentration is quite difficult. I can “hear” you, but I can’t “concentrate” long enough to absorb what everyone is saying if more than one person is speaking at a time. I find myself checking out. I watch the pleasant smiles, the winks, the surprised looks … but I have no context unless only one person is speaking at a time. Continue reading

Patients … Advocate for Yourself

Whether your issue is neurological, a joint pain or a fussy big toe, you are your best advocate. No one else will do this for you. Take charge in the lack of diagnosis and perhaps you’ll benefit from the lessons I learned the hard way …

Tip #1: Trust your gut and track symptoms

  • You’re the only one who knows how you really feel. Even if you can’t put your finger on it. Take notes to document the neurological phenomena (or whatever your issue is). Having a hard time finding words? Dizzy? Bouncing from task to task without accomplishing anything? You may not think to record such “silent” symptoms that only you experience. Jot them down with the frequency, intensity and duration. Share them with your doctor.

Tip #2: Find a doctor who will listen

  • Didn’t get the answer you were looking for? Treated as if you were crazy? Yep. Happened to me over and over, but I didn’t give up. There are so many good doctors out there. Be “patient” and keep seeking help until you find one who will take the time to think outside the box. But you need to be willing to invest in yourself by documenting your story along the way. Don’t accept “there’s nothing wrong with you” as an answer when you know your body is telling you something different. Continue reading
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