Learning to Live with Brain Injury

What it’s like to live with brain injury
2:40 PM Tuesday Jul 8, 2014
• Save
• Like on Facebook109
• Tweet on Twitter11
• Post on LinkedIn1
• +1 on Google+3
• Email
• Print
UK science communicator uses personal experience to highlight health issue that affects up to 90 Kiwis a day.

James Piercy calls it the “hidden disability”.
Every year in his homeland, the United Kingdom, 135,000 people are admitted to hospital as a consequence of it.
And each day in New Zealand, about 90 Kiwis sustain it from everything from hypoxia and strokes to falls and concussions.

The UK science communicator is talking about brain injury, which he says for something remarkably common is poorly understood.
The gap is something Mr Piercy, who last night hosted a presentation in Dunedin as part of this week’s New Zealand International Science Festival, aims to close.
Indeed, his own knowledge of brain injury was scant until the day his life changed – January 30, 2011.
What had been an ordinary Sunday outing near his home of Norwich turned to tragedy when his family’s car sustained a tyre blow-out, spun off the road and slammed into a tree.
His wife Kate, 36, was killed on impact, and his three children, now aged 16, 13 and 8, suffered minor injuries.
Mr Piercy, the front-seat passenger, suffered a traumatic brain injury when his head slammed against the dashboard.
He recalls nothing of the accident and little of the weeks that followed. Emerging from a six-day coma, the news that his wife had died was forgotten an hour later.
Scans showed a small area of damage on the right side of his brain, causing weakness on that side of his body, but it was diffuse damage on the left that has meant the most problems.
“In most people, the parts of the brain that control your speech and language are on the left-hand side,” he said. “When I get tired, I get a bit of a stammer, and I sometimes get stuck for words.”
Fatigue, his heaviest burden, came on when he found himself growing stressed, anxious or trying to do too many tasks at once.

“Sleep helps, but it won’t necessarily cure it, as does food. But the best thing I can do to recover is relax, stop trying to concentrate, stop worrying, and try convincing myself it will all be okay.”
Brain-training activities such as reading books, playing games and socialising have also assisted his recovery.
“Basically, I’ve given up on the idea of getting back to the old James, and I’ve settled down on the idea of being the new James. I’m not constantly thinking about how far I’ve got to go, but how far I’ve come.”
All the while, his need to understand his situation has seen much of his work as a science communicator with Science Made Simple focused on himself. He’s learned about the critical parts of the brain, their key functions and, most importantly, how they communicate with each other.
Mr Piercy uses the analogy of a motorway being closed, and having to find other roads to reach his destination. “So what I’ve been doing the past three and a half years is re-wiring my brain,” he said.
“The brain is plastic – when we learn things as babies, we are making connections, though the brain stays plastic for the rest of your life, and you can re-wire it.”
Here, a healthy “cognitive reserve” helped, and research had shown that a longer period of education in life meant a better recovery from brain injury later.
By sharing his journey he hoped the knowledge he had been gathering may also benefit others.
“Lots of people with brain injury look perfect – you might think they’re drunk, or mentally ill, but actually they’re just really tired, or they have memory problems, or are anxious sometimes because they’ve had damage to parts of their brain.”
James Piercy will give his “What’s Going On In His Head?” public talk at Auckland Museum at 4pm this Thursday. To book tickets, visit Auckland museum website.
– NZ Herald

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=11289302


“Do not what you can’t do stop you from doing what you CAN do…best.”
– c

About craig lock

About the Author Craig has a 'passion' for writing books that tell stories about people doing positive things in this often so hard, sometimes unkind world, occasionally cruel, yet always amazing world - true stories that leave the reader feeling uplifted, empowered and hopefully even inspired. Craig Lock loves to encourage and empower people to be the best they can possibly be, and to create what they want in life. Craig has learnt plenty from the "school of life" (still "battered and bruised") and also from a few "hard knocks on the head". He is an extensive world traveller (on a "shoestring budget") and failed professional emigrater who has spent most of his life’s savings on airfares. He is still sliding down the razor blade of life on the beautiful undiscovered island that is New Zealand, somewhere near the bottom (rude!) of the world near Antarctica. There he talks to the 60 million sheep! Craig has been involved in the corporate world (life assurance) for "many moons". However, through a rather strange (and unique) set of circumstances and finding himself in a small town near the bottom of the world ...and with nothing else to do, he started writing. That was five years ago. Five published books later and having written another twenty manuscripts (now 300 + on widely differing subjects - well what else is there to do here?)... this is where Craig is in the "journey/adventure" that is life. Craig has run a run a successful creative writing course (not teaching sheep!) at the local Polytechnic. He was the author of (as far as we know) the first creative writing course on the internet. He has many varied interests and passions and is particularly interested in the field of psychology – studying the human mind and what makes different people "tick-tock grandfather clock". He is fascinated by the "overlap between psychology and the dimension of spirituality". One of his missions in life is helping people make the most of their hidden potential and so finding their niche in life... so that they are happy. Craig’s various books probably tell more about his rather "eventful" life best (no one could believe it!). He writes books with serious messages and themes, then as a contrast "rather crazy, wacky stuff"…to keep him sane here. As an ‘anonymouse’ person wrote: "All of us are born mad; some of us remain so." Well nothing else much happens in quiet provincial New Zealand, other than headlines like "Golf Ball Thrown at Policeman" and "Beach Toilet Closed for Season.". True! from http://www.selfgrowth.com/experts/craig_lock.html For Craig’s books see AMAZON at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4 ... but rather GO to www.creativekiwis.com ?? When the writer is no more, the value of your purchase will soar." www.johnsphotopics.wordpress.com www.craigsquotes.wordpress.com All proceeds go to the needy and underprivileged… and a charity (most worthy-Bill and I) “When the writer is no more , the value of your purchase will soar! “ “Together, one mind, one life (one small step at a time), let’s see how many people (and lives) we can encourage, impact, empower, enrich, uplift and perhaps even inspire to reach their fullest potentials…and strive for and perhaps one sunny day even achieve their wildest dreams.” PPS Don’t worry about the world ending today… as it’s already tomorrow in scenic and tranquil ‘little’ New Zealand
This entry was posted in brain injury, closed head injury, head injury, New Zealand Herald and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Learning to Live with Brain Injury

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s