Email about mother with a BI

Hi Zack,

 

My name is {I removed the persons name for confidentiality} and I currently live in San Diego,CA. I came across your blog while researching online for available Brain Injury Survivor Help/Support groups. I would like to start by saying that its a great thought and act to share your experiences with other survivors so that they benefit from it. I am also extremely glad to see where you are post this incident and its truly inspiring. I also have a close family member who suffered a brain injury recently and can totally relate to what you must have gone through. I am writing to see if you can provide recommendations or share your personal experiences regarding rehabilitation therapies that can be used at home. (Apologize for the long email but trying to provide as much detail as i can).

 

My mother met with an accident on 08/24/2010 in India and suffered an internal brain injury. She is 69 yrs old.

 

She was admitted to the hospital within a few hours of injury(4 hrs) and her initial CT Scan reported an acute sub-dural and sub-arachnoid haematoma. Craniotomy was performed to remove the blood clot within approximately 5 hours of the injury. She was treated in the hospital for 2 months. While in hospital she was also operated for the following: tracheotomy & gastrostomy.  She had her tracheostomy tube removed in November.


She is home now, her health is stable and we are seeing some extremely slow but steady progress. She has mainly gained most of her consciousness back. Though she still has issues with her right side. She shows extremely rear or no movement in right hand & leg. Right hand/leg reacts to pain/extreme temprature (like when something very cold touches her leg). She tries to talk occasionally but her speech is mostly slurred.

 

Upon release from the hospital she was only recommended physiotherapy. Since she cannot move by herself she is on a passive physiotherapy program. A physiotherapist visits her once a day and provides passive therapy for about 1 hour, mainly focusing on right hand/leg and partial speech therapy. Looking at her progress, it seems like just physiotherapy is not enough. Post TBI rehabilitation services are not that great in India and thus we are struggling to try as much as we can at home.

We have not been able to find any other post brain trauma treatments/therapies available in India and thus I am contacting you. Would like to find out from you what kind of at home treatments would be beneficial for the following :
Improving movement in the right side of the body.
Improving Speech
Could using devices like BioMove/NueroMove be beneficial in retraining the brain ? Any guidance or sharing your personal experience/learning method would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks again,


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Reply

Zachary Gauvin

show details 9:35 PM (0 minutes ago)
Hello,

I hope you are well regarding your mother, I do not have any
experience with the Biomove/Nueromove devices so I am unable to
support any theories on how well they work.

But things I did to get my speech back is hum a lot to exercise the
vocal cords.I would also do a lot of tongue exercises to strengthen my
tongue. What I mean by this is that I would point my tongue in
different directions to the point I could feel it stretching (up,
down, etc.) This may sound weird but I sang a lot. I love singing in
the car especially and I would really hit the high notes (the best I
could anyway) or any parts of the song that they would hold the note
for an extended period of time. I would try to hold it for the same
because a lot of people don’t realize that it is fatigue which plays a
major factor in our slurred speech. We almost get tired of trying to
form the correct words with our mouths/tongues. At least this is how I
felt.

Regarding the right side of the body. Make her use her right hand for
everything. The only way she is going to get use of the right hand
again is to use. The doctors in rehab used to joke and say it would be
better if they tied my right hand behind my back and only use my left
hand to get use of it back. Some examples of this are brushing her
teeth with her right hand, picking up a cup of water and bringing it
to her mouth or directing your arm/hand to things. Make her walk,
constantly. She may feel lazy and want to but make her any ways. You
have to retrain your body the correct movements so that your brain can
establish the new connections.

From personal experiences, I was a very hard worker and also loved to
go to the gym. These are all things your mother should embrace as she
is attempting to recover. I also was young (17), which is a luxury you
mother does not have. I am not saying that she cannot make significant
gains but I am saying its going to take more time and a lot of hard
work.

I hope this will help you and your mother on your quest to recovery.
best,
Zachary Gauvin

 

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