Back to the Beginning: Jill Bolte Taylor “My Stroke of Insight” (posted Oct. 22, 2008)


For me, these past couple of days have been a blur. I am struggling to form words, and say things properly rather than mash them together. I tried to say I need a better couch, and it came out as I needed a better pouch. My word recall has been slow, and my concept of days is lagging again too. I thought today was Thursday.

I would have to say yesterday was a bad day – I won’t go into the details only to say enough happened that I scared myself. I forgot something very important and could have done tremendous harm or loss. Frightening in light I had no recollection. Behold the power of stress and a person with a Head Injury. It’s doing that kind of stuff that would get me fired from a job. I am fortunate for a positive outcome, and am also banking on a phrase I think it goes like this, “God takes care of fools and little children.” And know that was me, and I am grateful and relieved.

At any rate, in this midst of this cognitive confusion, I did happen upon Oprah the other day when she had Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor speaking about her stroke experience, you see, she has special insight, she’s a Brain Scientist. She has had a lifelong fascination with how the brain works, and when she suffered a stroke, she marveled in being able to experience it from the inside out.

There were many insightful things she mentioned about stroke patients (please keep in mind, a lot of these are same from brain injury as well).

I do hope it is okay to post these here, they were so helpful to me, I thought for other folks dealing with brain injury from stroke, accident, falls, etc., this may be of considerable help. Again, every injury is different, but these cover some excellent points.

One thing I recall her saying, I remember this with clarity surprising to me, “I’m in here, come find me.”  I have a strong belief the true spirit of the person remains despite trauma.

*Recommendations for Recovery: Forty Things I Needed Most
(By Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD)

1. I am not stupid, I am wounded. Please respect me.
2. Come close, speak slowly, and enunciate clearly.
3. Repeat yourself-assume I know nothing and start from the beginning, over and over.
4. Be as patient with me the 20th time you teach me something, as you were the first.
5. Approach me with an open heart and slow your energy down. Take your time.
6. Be aware of what your body language and facial expressions are communicating to me.
7. Make eye contact with me. I am in here-come find me. Encourage me.
8. Please don’t raise your voice-I’m not deaf, I’m wounded.
9. Touch me appropriately and connect with me.
10. Honor the healing power of sleep.
11. Protect my energy. No talk radio, TV, or nervous visitors! Keep visitation brief (five minutes).
12. Stimulate my brain when I have any energy to learn something new, but know that a small amount may wear me out quickly.
13. Use age-appropriate (toddler) educational toys and books to teach me.
14. Introduce me to the world kinesthetically. Let me feel everything. (I am an infant again.)
15. Teach me with monkey-see, monkey-do behavior.
16. Trust that I am trying-just not with your skill level or on your schedule.
17. Ask me multiple-choice questions. Avoid Yes/No questions.
18. Ask me questions with specific answers. Allow me time to hunt for an answer.
19. Do not assess my cognitive ability by how fast I can think.
20. Handle me gently, as you would handle a newborn.
21. Speak to me directly, not about me to others.
22. Cheer me on. Expect me to recover completely, even if it takes twenty years!
23. Trust that my brain can always continue to learn.
24. Break all actions down into smaller steps of action.
25. Look for what obstacles prevent me from succeeding on a task.
26. Clarify for me what the next level or step is so I know what I am working toward.
27. Remember that I have to be proficient at one level of function before I can move on to the next level.
28. Celebrate all of my little successes. They inspire me.
29. Please don’t finish my sentences for me or fill in words I can’t find. I need to work my brain.
30. If I can’t find an old file, make it a point to create a new one.
31. I may want you to think I understand more than I really do.
32. Focus on what I can do rather than bemoan what I cannot do.
33. Introduce me to my old life. Don’t assume that because I cannot play like I used to play that I won’t continue to enjoy music or an instrument, etc.
34. Remember that in the absence of some functions, I have gained other abilities.
35. Keep me familiar with my family, friends, and loving support. Build a collage wall of cards and photos that I can see. Label them so I can review them.
36. Call in the troops! Create a healing team for me. Send word out to everyone so they can send me love. Keep them abreast of my condition and ask them to do specific things to support me-like visualize me being able to swallow with ease or rocking my body up into a sitting position.
37. Love me for who I am today. Don’t hold me to being the person I was before. I have a different brain now.
38. Be protective of me but do not stand in the way of my progress.
39. Show me old video footage of me doing things to remind me about how I spoke, walked, and gestured.
40. Remember that my medications probably make me feel tired, as well as mask my ability to know what it feels like to be me.

Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor’s Internet Site is also quite informative & it’s listed on “Oprah’s Soul Series Webcast,” as well, under ‘Related Resources’ (Guests From Season #1- Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor).

These were borrowed from Oprah’s website, for more information, please go to oprah.com and search for Jill Bolte Taylor.

Please also enjoy learning more at http://drjilltaylor.com/

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About Resilient Heart

TBI x3, that's me! If you had a Traumatic Brain Injury (or Injuries!) and knew you might not remember dates, events, people, etc., would you live each day differently? Would you give more, forgive more, heal more? I am. The statistics for me developing Dementia or Alzheimer's is a high possibility - one, because of the TBIs, and two - because I'm genetically predisposed. Come with me as this present moment is all we know we have... Wishing you all the best - today & always. Blessings, Love & Peace, RH
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