TBIs and impulsivity

A coworker commented that boy when you get something in your head, you don’t goof around. I acknowledged, yes, TBIs (Traumatic Brain Injured individuals) have a bit of difficulty with impulsivity.  This relates to the new car we bought last night.  I was only asking the coworkers yesterday about what cars they’ve been driving, how their satisfaction was.  The car process has been going on for a bit longer than that.  I liked the Passat TDI’s range on a single tank of diesel.  But electrical components started going weird.  Maybe fixing the electrical components would have been cheaper, but who knows?  Arguably, the VW repair shops could get busy for awhile.

Car salesmen sell cars.  That’s what they do.  I get that they are in this to make a buck, like the rest of us.  The TDI models of VW will likely be impacted for awhile.  Even though the particular model was not on the moratorium list, a broad brush will likely be used to paint.

I like the car, and Fran likes the car.  We got a new Honda Accord EXL.    It is a goldish color.  We had not seen that many on the road before, but maybe that will change now that we are driving around.  Probably won’t, but one does not know.

In our travels

We’ve passed by a few colleges.  One place we thought was interesting, but didn’t have time to get out and explore was Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, NC.  We were looking for a place to stay the night, and even though the Ritz Carlton in Downtown Charlotte was there, we wouldn’t have fit in.  I guess.  I wonder about colleges, and imparting knowledge to to the students.  The student loan systems and debt taken on can be considerable.  I wonder if one consolidates student debt, pays it off, can one then declare bankruptcy to get out from under that consolidated debt burden?  Who knows?  I am thankful that I did not have to take on much debt when I attended FSU.  I probably could have, but I guess I chose not to live far beyond the means of support.

I’ve heard from some co-workers that once the credit rating gets to be so bad, that getting refinancing becomes improbable.  I wouldn’t know from experience.

I suppose that people can make foolish choices when they are away at from home and making decisions about how to allocate money.

For the trip in Charlotte, we stayed at a hotel near the airport, I guess, it was near the road system, and it was comfortable.  We only stayed a night, but it was good.  I came to realize that while a pint of ice cream at the hotel might be twice as expensive as a pint at a grocery store, the hotel has location and convenience on its side.  I guess parking in downtown Charlotte could be tricky to out of towners.  Som time, I might want to walk around some hotel lobbies.  Universities try to enforce parking regulations as a way to help generate income, and whatever, I guess, probably similar with other municipalites and associated organizations.

We did the valet parking thing while in San Antonio (rental car), at the hotel on the river walk.  The city was hot in San Antonio, so we didn’t do much, but we did walk briefly around the area.  We ate at the hotel.  It was pretty good.  The breakfast was pretty good as well.  Again, a pint of Hagen Daas was more expensive, but oh well.

Hope is important


I’ve been a strong advocate for the idea that hope is an important motivator for improvement.  Having awareness that others succeed is important.  I have wanted to make use of more technology (ostensibly ipads to leverage the FaceTime app–though also iphones as well) to use the real time video capabilities for survivors to have conversations with each other.  It is a cool project.

Marty’s Story

This is a pre-production piece, but I thought that it is good enough to share here.—
Marty’s Story
On April 7th, 1982, Marleen Salo was at home cooking dinner with her husband, Al, when they glanced out the window and saw a helicopter flying low near their Ocean View neighborhood in Norfolk. Moments later, the call they received would change their lives and the life of their son, Marty, forever. That helicopter was the Sentara Nightingale Air Ambulance and Marty was the passenger.
Marty was a brilliant kid. At ten years old, his IQ was 130, he loved reading, and he was becoming interested in computers. In fact, he was riding his bike home from the library when the accident happened. Marty was struck by a vehicle on his bike and suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The driver had been blinded by the sun for a split second when the accident occurred. A ground ambulance was called but could not reach the site due to a passing train. Luckily, the Nightingale (which had begun operations only two months before) was ready to go. Marty was airlifted to the trauma center at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital where doctors rushed to save his life.
Marty’s life hung in the balance as he remained in a coma for seven weeks. Neurologists tested his brain which showed minimal response. Never giving up, Marty’s Nightingale pilot, Dick, sat with him regularly to read books aloud. With no apparent improvement, Marleen and Al faced the terrible reality that Marty might not regain consciousness and agonized over whether to take him off of life-support. One day, during a routine test, Marty showed a miraculous breakthrough as he reached up and touched his nose.
Coming home in a partial coma, Marty’s prognosis was still uncertain. Marleen remembers, “It was not until he pointed at something and said the word ‘there,’ that I truly felt there was hope.” Starting from ground zero, Marty had to learn to crawl, walk, and talk again. He went through serious bouts of depression and anxiety because of his inability to connect with other children. Against all odds and thanks to some exceptional teachers and mentors, Marty graduated high school and then earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Florida State University. He now works for the Florida Veterans Administration Hospital library.
In spite of all his achievements, Marty still struggled socially. He particularly had difficulty meeting and connecting with women. Marty spoke with long pauses between words and his motor skills never fully recovered making it difficult for him to drive. Always determined, Marty designed a calling card that he gave out to the ladies he liked. That’s how he met his wife and best friend, Fran. To make friends, Marty used internet chat rooms and message boards where he wouldn’t be judged for his disabilities. He still remembers his first Apple IIc that he used to start communicating with people back in the late 80’s. To this day, Marty is working on ways to use iPads to help TBI survivors communicate with each other and he even hosts a TBI support group on Facebook.
Marty has triumphed over severe adversity with the assistance of others. His wife, family, doctors, nurses, teachers, and the Nightingale crew provided the help Marty needed to live his life fully. Donating to the Nightingale means that you too have given a hand up to Marty Salo and over 18,000 other patients over the past 30 years. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for your contributions supporting this critical emergency service. For more information about the Nightingale Air Ambulance and to make a gift in support of the program, log onto http://www.sentara.com/foundation or contact us at 757-455-7976.

A play, One Slight Hitch, at American Stage

A play, One Slight Hitch, by Lewis Black, at American Stage. I think we’ve seen several plays centering on marriage. This particular play was acted quite well with a younger sister, and then two other sisters of similar age, one of whom was settling down with a great guy, before the ex boyfriend shows up. As it would turn out, the ex boyfriend was not to leave with woman, nor would the woman merry the new boyfriend. The father renewed vows with the mother, since they had spent so much money on the shrimp boat bowls and had guests arriving. It appeared that much alcohol was consumed in the one afternoon that the wedding would take place. Mostly by the middle sister who seemed to be a nurse who worked at a hospital. I liked the way that the American Stage production took advantage of the sound systems, and used the music of the 1980’s to have the story enhanced.

I just had a French Onion Soup from Panera Bread.

I just had a French Onion Soup from Panera Bread. It was surprisingly good. I had checked Panera several times before asking if they had French Onion Soup, and was told that no they did not have that soup, so when I checked the website and menu of Panera, I was pleased to see that they had started having French Onion Soup on the menu. Still, I needed to make sure that the local Panera in fact had that soup, so I called the number listed, and it is a good thing that they do in fact carry the soup. This places French Onion Soup much closer to the house. I am very much pleased. I picked up the to go order, while my wife was waiting in the car for me. I also got two carrot cake muffins. We’ll see. I am very pleased that my neighborhood Panera Bread place is now offering French Onion Soup, in addition to the sandwiches, and other baked goods. Previously the trip to find French Onion Soup would take me across town, to a couple of different restaurants. There was a restaurant in a nearby Embassy Suites, but then French Onion Soup slipped off the menu at that place, and I was back to crossing town for French Onion Soup.

Bohemian Hotel Celebration

We had a nice time staying at the Bohemian Hotel Celebration over the Fourth of July. We also stayed on the Third.

The town of Celebration, located outside of Disney world is nice.  At least the downtown area with the highly walkable area.  We may not stay there in the future, but the fireworks show was pretty nice.  The area was quite crowded when finished dinner.

My iPads in the hands of TBI survivors idea

I’d like to think that my little project of getting iPads into the hands of TBI survivors could be accomplished without a great deal of effort. Yet at the same time, I’m sure that it would be a much easier thing to accomplish if there were an organization that was interested in doing such a thing. I think there’s a Santa Clara Medical Center that tried applying for some grants looking at establishing a peer mentoring program. I don’t believe they were funded though, so another missed opportunity. There also may be some things going on at Baylor in Texas, but I’m not sure what exactly yet at this time. It was interesting to reach out to a number of currently funded TBI Model Systems across the country. I wonder how the Brain Injury Associations of states, and indeed, nationally get funded.

Blog Talk Radio

Fantastic Frank told me today that he’d welcome me to his blog talk radio show so that I could talk about my idea of a support group using ipads and facetime, or some similar technology.
One of the guys at Baylor health indicated that something along those lines may be happening at that institution. Someone at Santa Clara Medical Center indicated that there’s an ipad study with Telemedicine. And someone at Pittsburgh seemed to indicate that it sounded like a good idea.

I get that some of the blog talk radio stuff is oriented to the West Coast. But I’m on the east coast. I can’t really stay up late to listen in, call in to blog talk radio shows. But it is interesting. I like that I have a job, and I like that I should be able to work long enough to get a retirement. Who knows for sure how the future will work out, but I guess it could be interesting.