How it's going

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Well Tammy, there isn't much new. Tom is getting better all the time. We are trying to do our "homework" everyday, which includes a mixture of physical, occupational, and speech therapy. Something people don't understand is that speech therapy isn't so much about the act of speaking, it's about cognition. An example of speech homework is he'll have a list of words, and he has to write antonyms. It's much more difficult to write synonyms. So, for synonyms, he'll two words he has to unscramble that are synonyms, and the first letter of each word is underlined. For example imeslp and ayes (why can't I underline? oh well, it's bold instead). So if you can figure out one word, it's easier to figure out the second scrambled synonym. The answer there is simple and easy. If he can't figure out synonyms, he is supposed to use the internet for the thesaurus.

Another "speech therapy" thing is drawing the next item in a pattern (like one big square, one little square, one big circle, then you'd draw a little circle, except the detail is actually more complex than that), and drawing mirror images of stuff. He is pretty good at this stuff. The left side of the brain (which you probably know) is more about "verbal functions, language, thought, and memory involving words" (according to the Mayo clinic handout I have), and the right hemisphere is for "nonverbal functions, inculding recognizing differences in visual patterns and designs, reading maps and enjoying music, expression and understanding of emotions." So it makes sense that he is good at that drawing stuff. I don't know about y'all, but I am pretty happy it was a left injury instead of a right. I'd much rather be working on word finding than emotional recognition. Yes sir.

We also work in Brain Age on the Nintendo DS. Video games are good for him, especially those that make him work fast. Like, when we play Monopoly on xbox, that's probably not a big brain workout because there isn't any timing involved. But there are "mini games" in Monopoly that are races, and he is steadily getting better at that. He tried to play Left4Dead today (a zombie shoot-em-up game), and it was a little too intense. Now he knows how I feel about those shooter games. :-)

Tom saw the CT of his injury Friday. Whew. Even with everything we've told him, he was still surprised how bad it was. I was surprised, too. I had seen it, but I thought maybe over time I had imagined it worse than it really was. Nope, it was a big ol' brain-smashed-over-to-the-side bleed. Ugh.

We went to Sams today and stocked up on meat, trash bags, laundry detergent, and paper plates. It was a successful venture. Tom pushed the cart. We ran into my boss, so she got to see the progress first hand. She came to visit me while he was still in ICU, so I'm sure she was pretty surprised to see him pushing a cart even though I've told her how good he's doing! She did my conference presentation in Nashville for me Friday morning, and apparently has a t-shirt for me. She was joking that she'd be bringing us all Dolly Parton t-shirts, so I wonder if that's really what I got. LOL :-)

And that is how it's going.


Adam Hensen said...

Wow, Ive never had a brain injury and those scrambled synonyms look hard for me! Its good that things are getting better, and I love reading your updates on how everything is going.

Lady Blachly said...

Ha - yeah, what Adam said. I couldn't figure them out!

Josh got a new RC car and I think about Tom every time he drives it. I wonder if controlling something like that would be good exercise for his brain...but it sounds like that is a different thing than what ya'll are working on. Or maybe that's similar to the video games exercises. Anyway, glad to hear it going well. Keep it up!

The O'Brien Family said...

sounds like you are SUPER busy! I'm so glad to hear that Tom is doing so well. Those exercise aren't easy so I'm sure he is tired after unscrambling those words. You aren't giving hints are you? LOL

Isn't it funny that video games can actually be "good" for you??? Connor's ophthalmologist says that a Nintendo DS would be great for Connor's patching time. Some sort of hand-eye coordination workout. See, our moms should have let us play more video games......maybe that would have kept us out of college LOL

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