Out of the Games Cupboard

A random assortment of reflections, musings and a running commentary on life.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Graffiti Advice

Upon returning home recently by car I saw the following piece of graffiti on a bollard:

Eat more organic food

I was stunned! Apparently at least one person driven to scrawl on the environment is doing so with a positive message. It sounds like they may really care. Or it could be a new marketing ploy by an organic veg farmer/ shop owner, a bit like subliminal messages. Either way it made me feel briefly proud of where we live - "even the graffiti is helpful!". Strangely, we are eating more organic food of late....


Friday, January 19, 2007


Hello! I'm sorry that I have not posted for several weeks... I don't know where the time has gone.

I thought it would be useful to post an update on my neurological situation. Every day I am losing about half of my memory of the previous day. I am getting good at working out what is missing, which often hides the extent of the problem.

I am having in the region of 15-20 "absences" per day. These are lasting, on average, 5-10 seconds (I am told!) but tend not to occur when I am really concentrating. During them I simply freeze and stop doing whatever I was doing and look like I'm lost in thought. Afterwards I feel disorientated for a few seconds.

My cognitive abilities have been somewhat reduced. In essence, this means that I find it moderately hard to deal with new information (and have little hope of remembering it), and find applying knowledge to situations harder than it would normally be. I am finding recipes/instructions much harder to follow than I used to.

Mmmm... that all sounds a bit grim. To be honest it isn't though. I have had very few accidents as a result of the absences; this is because I am sensible about what I do and don't do. Forgetting half of my life is frustrating, but I manage; I pick up on the clues of everyday life to work out what I have probably forgotten. The reduction in my cognitive abilities has been the hardest aspect to adjust to. I often just feel a bit dim!

I was discharged by the Neuropsychologist this week. Her findings were that whatever is going on in my brain is neurological in origin, not psychological (therefore this is not the result of stress!). Cognitively I am now at, or slightly below, average. Normally I suspect I'm a fair bit above this! My neuro-processing ability (that lets you store, retrieve and handle new information) is currently rubbish. Hence, it feels worse than it is because its been a big adjustment to make (yes, I now function at the level of a Big Brother-watching, Sun-reading personage....with a hoodie!). She has suggested that I go back and redo all the tests when I'm back to normal, partly for fun and partly to demonstrate that I have recovered.

Today I saw the Consultant Neurologist for the first time since coming out of hospital. We discussed the symptoms etc. She stressed again that this can only be temporary... for a given value of 'temporary'! The symptoms appear to indicate that I had a viral infection in my temporal lobe. As this did not show up in blood tests she thinks it had been and gone by the time I was admitted last October. However, it left a fair amount of damage in its wake. There can be no prognosis; the individual cells attacked do not recover; other bits of the brain takeover their work and this can take a different amount of time from one person to the next. That my memory has improved over the last four months is a good sign though.

I was brave and asked if there were case studies with similar symptoms....she said that it appears to match some aspects of limbic encaphilitis, but there are other viruses to consider. She explained that viruses can be treated with antibiotics if they are identified quickly. The main reason for determining their nature later on is in case they suggest other concerns or can cause further damage. She thinks the virus I had has gone; it would have reappeared by now if it was going to.

I am going to have a further EEG in the next couple of months, then I will see her again in 12 weeks. She completely agrees that I cannot work at present, although she said that when I return is really up to me; do I feel able to do my job? I suspect that I will lose my job fairly soon now - we have a meeting to discuss this arranged for next Monday. I will post about this later, but it isn't neccesarily a bad thing.

I asked if there is anything I can do to aid my brain in its recovery. She explained that anything affecting the temporal lobe makes you tired. Therefore if I feel tired I should rest (Lisa will be pleased to hear this as she has consistently advised me to sleep more!). She also said that I should keep my brain as active as possible; games, puzzles, jigsaws, craft projects even reading will all help (they are all activities in which the frequency of the absences is reduced as well!) although watching TV is useless and may even be very slightly damaging (lower lip wobbles!). So boardgames are good for you......