A little note about the title. I wrote the title "Writing with Mother" because it was this blog that I wrote sitting with my lap-top at the end of my Mum's hospital bed on Monday 9th June. I think she was really impressed that I was writing for my blog and she helped me with spelling and grammar just like when I was writing English essays. We had a chat in between times. It was in this 60 minutes that we spoke for the first and last time in my life about eating... because I was feeding her and and I laughed about the tables being turned. She simply asked "Do you eat now?" I replied "Yes" and she was happy, nothing more to say. I fed her for five days and she would let no one else do. It meant the world to me.
Jill Bolte Taylor
I first came across this amazing woman in Time Magazine’s Top 100 people. It was one of the coincidences that happen surprisingly often in my life these days. The magazine fell into the letter box while I was in the middle of packing to move flats and at the same time packing an extra suitcase to travel to UK. I knew that I would have no time to read the magazine completely so while walking from the post box into the house I randomly opened it to get a glimpse of what was going on in the world. It fell open on the page with a picture of Dr Bolte Taylor with a brain cradled in her hands. My attention was caught immediately and I gave myself a 15-minute tea-break to read the short article. Dick Clark’s concluding words could come from the mouths of any of the people in my stroke group as they learn about their new- found situation through Conductive Education:
"…there is a comfort in better grasping what has gone wrong, and enlightenment for all of those around you when they grasp it too. None of us needs sympathy: what we do need is a helping hand and understanding. Someone like Talyor provides that, helping a terrible blow become far less so."
The article continues by describing the life of a 33-year-old woman who suffered a stroke shortly before giving birth. She received physiotherapy in a clinic and was told after only four months that she was austherapiert ("therapied out", meaning that she was at the end of the therapeutic possibilities for her).
This is generally what happens sooner or later to most people who are recovering from a stroke. Eventually after a few months or perhaps a year, the therapy on offer is reduced to a minimum. Hospitals have all the-up-to-date facilities to deal with a stroke immediately it has occurred, machines of the very best can be seen in most clinics. The rehabilitation for the first months is also of high quality and often includes revolutionary techniques. And what happens after this period? Clients are usually sent home and gradually the amount of physiotherapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy on offer is reduced from three or four times a week to once a week. Speech therapy is generally stopped completely, deemed no longer necessary, often long before a client can talk on a telephone again or speak while walking. Where do these people look to for help? In the majority of cases it is after being pushed out of the therapy system in these ways that the clients in my group have looked to Conductive Education.
This woman was spending three hours in therapy with her non-affected hand in a mitten and was being forced to use only the hand affected by the stroke. She kept the mitten on for most of the day, not only for the three-hour therapy session.
Die Natur hat uns eine Gehirnstruktur mitgegeben die in einer sich verändernden Umwelt Überlebt, weil sie sich selbst verändert. (Nature has given us a brain structure which survives in an ever-changing world because the brain itself changes too.)
Dr. Doidge’s book on this subject, Neustart im Kopf ("A new Beginning for the Head") has just been published in German, stating that a person survives changes in the environment because people himself are able to change.
"…not only is therapy too short, the aims are wrong. Rehabilitation traditionally uses techniques which compensate lost function instead of changing deficit."
An old message for the modern world
The neurologist Micheal Selzer insists that change in the rehabilitation techniques is long overdue especially with all Iraq war veterans returning with injuries to the central nervous system. The aim must be to use the wealth of possibilities that the brain (or for me personality) has for change and to heal itself. The brain is not an unchangeable data bank, it is an organ open to all changes.
Maybe my blog is a start to making this imaginary book a reality!
Andrew Sutton – How it feels to have a stroke, Conductive Education World, 28 May 2008
Jorg Blech, Selbstheilung im Denkorgan, Der Spiegel, 10/2008
Austherapiert: no longer needing therapy, therapy no longer effective