Friday, November 6, 2009

Brain Work

Yesterday we had two appointments at the VA-the first one was Speech Therapy,and the second was Neuro TBI.
There was not much to the Neuro TBI appt-it was really just a follow up. He did say that because Rick's Sleep Apnea is mild,there wasn't any need to give him an oxygen machine for when he sleeps. Rick pointed out that when he had the sleep apnea testing,he actually fell asleep in an upright position,and stayed that way the whole night. This made the Dr pause,because sleep apnea is at it's worst when one is laying on their back. So while Rick might stop breathing 9 times an hour sitting up,it could be much worse laying flat. He said he would have to talk to the sleep apnea people,and that Rick might have to redo the test.
We go to Speech Therapy every week. I call it Memory Therapy,because it's also designed to improve his memory. The speech therapist,VerJean,is very nice.Rick started with computer exercises to help with the speed his brain works. He also has done some written exercises-she will give him three directions,and he has to remember what they are. Sometimes he did great,sometimes he would forget one or do one incorrectly. The last couple of weeks,she has been having him respond verbally. For instance, she would read two words that sound the same,but are spelled differently and have different meanings ( for example,hole and whole).He would then have to tell her what each of them mean. He has also had to use specific words in sentences. It sounds easy,but for people with brain injuries,it can get tiring. After a while, he starts getting confused and he takes longer to figure things out.He especially gets tired when she asks him questions about his week. This week she inquired about what he has been doing,and he responded,"Remodeling the hallway and living room." So then she started asking questions: Did you get the materials? What kinds of materials did you get? How much crown molding did you need? How many doors are you working with? What color paint are you using? He did forget a few things,and it took him a while to answer a few of the questions,but with a bit of prompting,he did OK. Because his brain was working so hard and he had so much going on in it trying to remember,he was getting more confused and tired. However,the point is trying to get him to work his brain,access his memory,and be able to put into words what he is trying to say. He has had some issues lately with dragging out words. He will be explaining something,and then all of a sudden, he will linger on a part of a word,for example, he will say, "aaaaaaaapple." We brought this up to both VerJean and his Neuro TBI Dr. She noticed it during the session,and the Neuro TBI Dr thought it might be the medications that Rick is taking combined with lack of sleep. He wants us to keep an eye on it,though.


  1. It's such a busy time when you have all these appointments, isn't it? We're still waiting on my fiance's first neurological appointment (this month), and are quite eager for some answers.

  2. It certainly can be busy,and I love days when I have nothing to do but putter around my house. Those days seem to be few and far between,though.
    I am going to check out your blog! I hope you and your fiance get some answers soon. They say patience is a virtue,but sometimes it gets old,doesn't it? :)