Traumatic Brain Injury Tools

I've always been a smart-ass. I have used humor to mange my injuries.

 I probably would start by using some of my tech cheating apps. (This is a section where I couldn’t remember the words I wanted to use. Instead of getting stuck in a circle of thoughts, I simply talk to my computer and have it print my words. Then I can listen to my computer with it reading to me. Then I can see my mistakes and rework my section. Yes, it can be frustrated, but I keep believing that things will get better.) 

My iPhone is my best cheating tool. First thing I do is hit the Utility button. Then I hit the Setting button. (It looks like a bike crankset.) Then I push the Accessibility button. (It looks like a blue version of Leonardo da Vinci dude holding his arms and legs.) Inside of Accessibility there will be about 100 tools to help you. (You can also call Apple for accessibility support: 1-877-204-3930. Yes, they are very helpful. ) On my MacBook Pro I can highlight a section of the section and then I can push two buttons on my computer (esc-command) and then it will read my section.

This is where I listen to news and read while things are speaking to me. Yes, I am a nerd. You can listen to a lot of different printed text. (No, I am not paid by Apple... unless Apple wants to give me a job where I sleep and get free food.)

Why does it take me so long to finish writing?

I still think my brain is perfect, but that is where I find out that my hands and my computer still feel like I’m able to do what I used to do. I was an English teacher. What did I used to do? Teaching, reading, writing, and discussing were my jobs. I pretended to do what I used to do. I went to teaching for about a month thinking things would get better. I couldn't type. I couldn't read well. I couldn't even spell normal words. If you've had Aphasia it is very hard to rework old ways of doing things.

What is Aphasia?

Aphasia affects people differently. If you have had aphasia, your memories might vanish, your writing might have disappeared, your reading might be like a two your old kid, and your ability to speak has turned into a drunk person. 

For me, writing, reading, and speaking have been a problem. 

Well, what have I been doing lately?

I limit myself to three things a day. Before I had my TBI, I would limit myself to do about 20 things a day. (I did a lot of work. Those days used to stressful and I would solve the problem by drinking two or three beers each night. These days I can’t taste anything so I now drink nothing with alcohol. (That is great, or really disappointing.)

What do I do to reach my goals? I do three things each day.

  1. I ride my fake bike (NordicTrack S22i). Most of my rides are about 30 minutes long. By working out, I get a good sweat and my blood runs through my heart and brain. (This may seem odd, but I never really thought about blood running through a person’s brain. Maybe I should have paid more attention in high school Science.) Each day I workout and I can speak more clearly after I exercise. I’m able to think and avoid headaches. Negative thoughts are something I can avoid by using my bike. (Yes, I was addicted to playing basketball and working out when I was young.)
  2. I try to write or read something. Read by listing to using my computer. I can write and then highlight things and then listen to the words. It helps me. I take a nap after writing. I’m not able to remember what I write. It might be odd to keep writing when things are not clear, but I have a lot of extra time on my hands these days. (Yes, I am lucky and I need to remember that life is short. Love your life.)
  3. I do work outside and attempt to avoid breaking things....tools, my house, my garage or anything expensive. 

Why do I keep trying?

I have done a lot of old sports...basketball, football, rugby, tennis. I may not win each time, but I won't given up.


South of the Strait

Why is my page titled South of the Strait? Well I live in a far corner of the United States. I live in a small town south of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. If I was going to throw a rock across the strait it would land in Canada. I used to be an English teacher. I have worked in Westport, Port Angeles, and Sequim, Washington... and I did two years of substitute teaching in Coalinga, California. I've moved around a lot, living in: Sterling,Kansas; Chicago; Jordan, Montana; Lemoore, California; Auckland, New Zealand; Spokane, Washington; Gambier, Ohio. What do I write? For WordPress I used to print once a week for general comments. I wrote reviews of music concerts my daughter made me attend. (Each month she would want us to drive to Seattle to see a music group. I usually stood in the back watching weird stuff.) I also wrote about trips I have taken in Europe where I liked getting lost. I also wrote during the few months when my son was treated for cancer. (He is officially free of cancer of five years.) About three years ago I decided to stop writing blogs so I could concentrate on writing a few books. I have completed three books...or maybe four. I have now compiled my short stories poems and memoirs on Amazon. You can get it at Amazon now..."A Work In Progress"--Jon Eekhoff. I have been very close to getting a printed book called "Lost Summer" but I was never offered $1,000,000.00. (It's set in Paris, 1920's, with baseball, writers, artist, and actually true stuff.) I wrote a book about college basketball called "Laidlaw." It's kind of a mix of "Moby Dick" and a coach who is about to get fired so he takes his team out for a free drive around the West. My most recent book is "California Tales." These are connected stories about the missionary churches in California. They are sad, funny, inspiring, and odd. I had the entire book done in my head and had just one section to finish the next day...and that is when I fell 20 feet from my roof and landed on the cement. (Like a lot of men, I thought I could maintain my own roof instead of leaving it to the professionals.) I don't remember anything about my accident but I am told I was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Though conscious and responsive after surgery to remove part of my skull, I don't remember anything from my first month there. I spent another month of Harborview working on walking, speaking, and writing. That was two years ago. As a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) survivor, I could have quit writing, but I am not going to quit. I work with the University of Washington Speech and Hearing Clinic. So, here I am. I am married and live here in Sequim with my wife Cheryl. Our kids live in nearby cities. Writing is now an exhausting exercise, but something I plan to keep working on.

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