Articles

Getting Back to Work after a Brain Injury

When you return to work, you will look fine. There will be no obvious signs of your injury. No cane, crutch, cast, or bandage—nothing that looks remotely like illness to the untrained colleague. However, chances are you will be a mess inside. You will be tired, overwhelmed, overstimulated, slow to sort tasks and organize your day, and quick to rest. Your work may be less accurate than you expect of yourself. Your attention span may be shorter, and you could be prone to staring off into space....

Driving after a Brain Injury

A great number of skills are involved in driving a car: cognitive abilities, hand-eye coordination, quick reaction time, self-correction, full attention, rational and logical thinking, self-regulation, and discernment are a few of the basic requirements for driving. Why, then, is driving not a skill assessed and rehabilitated, especially in the face of the obvious consequences: another accident. Driving while recovering from a brain injury may tax your energy stores, making you exhausted,...

Support Systems to Help You Recover from a Brain Injury

Attracting help and support when you first experience your accident may occur spontaneously. But, as the accident continues to take its toll, you may not look or act “sick.” You may, in fact, appear just fine and function sufficiently to pass for “well.” Asking for support and help when it may not be an obvious need requires courage. Your own ego and self-esteem may challenge you. To get the help and support you need, you must examine yourself and your willingness to accept help. Your...

Improving Your Memory after Brain Injury

Memory, like muscle coordination and strength, is a “use it or lose it” function. Brains that are worked regularly are better able to process and remember new information. It has been shown that increased television watching is related to declining memory as well as poorer overall health. To exercise your brain, you need to do new and different things. Simple things like changing your routines can help. Consider trying to write or brush your teeth with your left hand occasionally if you are...

Get the Best Advice on Pregnancy with a Disability

Because new research changes the landscape all of the time, disabled women who want to get pregnant should look for the more current medical information available. For example, not very long ago women with multiple sclerosis (MS) were told that pregnancy might cause their symptoms to flare up, but more recent studies show that getting pregnant, carrying a child, and having anesthesia during delivery will not affect a woman’s disease. Contact organizations with information about your specific...

Parenting with a Disability: The Role of the Occupational Therapist

An occupational therapist can be a valuable resource in planning for future baby care. She can help you: Identify the commercially available equipment that works Locate adaptive baby care equipment and clothing Learn baby care techniques as well as help with other baby care activities An occupational therapist can also be helpful in planning how to childproof your home. In a childproofed home, medicines, sharp objects, electrical outlets, and other...

Will My Child Share My Disability?

When a woman with a disability considers what life might be like for a disabled child, she brings special empathy and insight to the question. Like any other parent, she may have trouble making sure she does not project her own feelings onto the child and assume that the child feels (or would feel) what she feels. A genetic counselor may be able to give you statistical information on the likelihood that your disability can be inherited when prenatal testing is not possible. The genetic...

Navigating the Costs of Epilepsy Medication

It is hard to imagine a tiny pill being worth three or four dollars. This adds up to a lot of money if you take many of them each day. Most experimental drugs never succeed in reaching the marketplace, driving up the cost of the ones that do. It takes ten to fifteen years of hard work by clinical investigators (and patients!) and hundreds of millions of dollars to bring a new drug to market. The price of your antiepileptic medication reflects these high developmental costs. Your doctor...

Herbal Treatments for Epilepsy

No herbs, oils, or potions have been proven to help control seizures. On the other hand, some herbal medicines may have a scientific basis for seizure control. Herbal medicine has been used in China for more than two thousand years. The Chinese herb tian ma is commonly used for the treatment of epilepsy. Qingyangshen is another traditional Chinese medicine that may have antiepileptic properties. Laboratory experiments have shown that a combination of phenytoin and qingyangshen affects gene...

Your First Visit to the Neurologist for Epilepsy

Before your visit with the neurologist, you will usually be asked to complete a screening questionnaire. You will need to list your allergies, habits (like smoking and alcohol), medications, medical problems, operations, and any illnesses in your family. Most people need to consult with other family members to get all of this information correct. It is best to review your medical history with your parents or spouse before you go to the doctor. In order to understand your medical history,...