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.

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