After seeing my main concussion Dr. last Monday, I was somewhat depressed and down hearted. The appt started with the standard neurocognitve testing I go through every time I see them. During the test I felt like I had done a lot better than the pervious two testings. However, upon completion my symptoms were out of control. For the first time in a long time, my glasses were not enough to keep out the fluorescent overload of a typical white walled doctor's office. I sadly sat once again, looking like the party girl in hangover sunglasses.
My Dr. said that all of my therapist report that I continue to make progress and that he is happy with how things are coming along. However, he followed that with, you still have a ways to go, because you are still symptomatic when you brain is challenged, such as with this testing.
He then went on to dash my hopes of at least partially freed from my concussion prison. The good news was that on the testing that did not require a ton of visual processing by my brain or that was not under a timed deadline for response, I had improve my scores. However, if my brain had to process too much visual information, or had to make an immediate decision on a task, my scores had stayed the same. Further the fact that testing made me so symptomatic made him believe that I need to continue all my therapies and that I'm not ready for Grad School for the spring. Basically he felt that it would only increase my symptoms, and I would not be able to perform at a level that I was comfortable with. "See me in four to six months, unless you feel alot better sooner and can do more without symptoms."
I left crushed. Depsite the medical knowledge that their is truly NO timetable for recovery from concussion and that it is truly a wait and see game, I felt like I had failed. But I go to three different therapies every week! All those exercises they give me to work on at home? I do them religiously every day, and with the tougher ones sometimes twice a day. I'm doing everything I can, and I'm still stuck here? What did I do wrong?
This morning I had vestibular therapy and filled my therapist in on what had happened during my appt earlier in the week. I also told her that vision therapy seems to really be messing with my brain. She laughed and said, how long have you been doing vision therapy? 3 weeks, I replied. She said, have you stopped to think that maybe this new type of stress for your brain may have hindered showing improvement in all areas? Many of my patients when they add a new therapy in, see a decrease in their scores for a few weeks because their brain is struggling with the new skills its trying to relearn.
The more I thought about it, it makes sense. The past two weeks have been really a struggle. And although some of it can be attributed to days where I over did it, two weeks ago is when I actually started working on vision therapy at home. So the fact that I atleast stayed the same, or in some cases improved is great.
She added that she and my main concussion Dr. feel that my vision is really what is causing me to continue to struggle, and that my scores on the testing are not necessarily a true read of my current cognitive abilities, because the test is given visually on a computer screen. In timed portions, if I blink or need to refocus my eyes, I'm going to miss something. So improving my vision should improve my daily life, including my vestibular difficulties.
"Because you are making such good progress here at vestibular therapy, and most of the struggles you still have are very much related to vision, we feel you only need to come in every other week now. You'll still do the exercises I give you at home to maintain what you've already gained. But your focus should be on vision, since you've made such progress here."
I only have to go every other week? There may actually come a day, when they tell me I don't need to come back at all!! What a good feeling that is!! Praise the Lord!!