31st July 2013
‘So, today was my appointment with a Neuropsychologist. I was a little worried beforehand, but mainly I was happy as I had waited for this meeting for two months and finally a professional could tell me how my short term memory is. Whilst I was doing the tests, I realised it was a lot worse than I thought. I’ve always known it was bad compared to before the accident but I didn’t think it was this bad. Guess I never realised it was so serious because its not everyday someone sits you down and says do this, do that, remember this, remember that and then takes results from it.
It felt like a long day, even though it was only a few hours. I went in with Stephen and we had a chat/interview while she took notes. She asked me questions about my mood and I had to answer them using 1-5, 1 meaning never, 2 meaning often and 5 meaning always. I never used 5, only 1 and 2. Also having to once again explain to someone why I was scanned in York and operated on in Hull when I live in Newcastle, and once again having to say, “I don’t remember anything from York hospital, all I remember is waking up the next day in Hull”
I made a list of the tests on the bus back home as I didn’t want to forget anything about them (List not in order)
1 – She read a story to me which was about a paragraph and a half long and I had to tell her what the main points were and what I remembered. She did this another two times, every ten minutes. The first time I remembered really well – even the names. The second time I forgot the name and where the lions went next and whatever happened next (It was a story about lions escaping from the zoo) and the third time all I remembered was the first sentence.
2 – She gave me a line drawing which had a lot of shapes in it, I copied it. She let me look at it for a minute before she took them both away. Then I had to draw from memory. She did this every ten minutes like the story. I think I did ok on the first one, but I definitely missed out a few lines and shapes. The second one I truly struggled with, “I think there is a diamond in here somewhere but I’m not sure”, she replied with “It doesn’t matter with this test, if you remember there is a diamond but don’t know where, its best to put it somewhere rather than nowhere because you can’t remember where it was” The third one was a struggle.
3 – Repeat numbers. It started of with 2 numbers, she read them aloud then I had to repeat them. Then they went up to 10 numbers.
4 – Repeat numbers but backwards.
5 – Repeat numbers, but starting with the lowest one going to the highest.
(No names, places or numbers for these)
6 – Name as many things as you can that begin with A within a minute.
7 – Name as many things as you can that begin with S within a minute.
8 – Name as many things as you can that begin with F within a minute.
9- What shape comes next in the pattern?
10 – How are these words meant to sound when read aloud?
11 – Say of as many animals as you can think of within a minute.
12 – Think of as many boys names you can within a minute.
13 – Pub quiz (General knowledge questions, I couldn’t think of Winston Churchill at first, but I got it in the end after saying “The fat old one who’s famous for those quotes”, this amused her)
14 – Symbols to go along with numbers – At the top of the page there were numbers above symbols, each number had its own symbol. Below it there were numbers with blank spaces beside them where I had to draw the symbol that defines them. Within two minutes.
15 – Matching symbols – There is a box with a symbol in, there is a box beside it that is full of a few symbols, I had to tick the one that matched the box with the single symbol in a minute, or tick no if there wasn’t a matching one. Within two minutes.
16 – Why do these words sound similar? For example one of the questions was, ‘Music and waves’, I said because they both have a pattern and beat.
‘Diary of problems with daily activities’ – At the end of the session, I was given a diary in which I had to write down when I forgot something or overreacted to something (These are my main struggles)
I am going in next week for more tests at the same time, I’ll be having them until she feels I no longer need them. Maybe after that she’ll refer me to Northumberland Head Injuries Team, she says they can help me cope with more of the little things when recovering from a head injury. I’m so glad something is finally happening. I was sick of getting annoyed at myself for having rubbish memory! I think it annoys me more than it should, this is only because I know how well it was before. For some reason I remember the socks I was wearing the day I had the accident, I remember a lot before the fall and getting drunk though so I guess remembering socks doesn’t count as memory after the accident.
Feeling a lot better now I know what the situation is.’
This is one of many blog posts that will follow my journey from private blogging after my brain injury to starting Alphabet Brains. You can read my previous post on Advice On Journaling After a Brain Injury if you’re interested in writing about your experiences. In that post I say that I feel like everyone should write (brain injury or not) as it’s a great form of therapy.
From my private blog, every week I’ll be sharing a post in chronological order (before Alphabet Brains) because it’s important to look back and see how far you’ve come. Even if you aren’t in the early days, it could be years after your brain injury and you can start writing… We’re always making little improvements and when you write about them, you see them.