Glasgow Coma Scale

The Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) is a clinical scale used to reliably measure a person’s level of consciousness after a brain injury.  The GCS assesses a person based on their ability to perform eye movements, speak, and move their body. 

These three behaviours make up the three elements of the scale: eye, verbal, and motor. A person’s GCS score can range from 3 (completely unresponsive) to 15 (responsive).

This score is used to guide immediate medical care after a brain injury (such as a car accident) and also to monitor hospitalized patients and track their level of consciousness.

Unlike pretty much every other score, the lower GCS scores means a higher risk of death. However, the GCS score alone should not be used on its own to predict the outcome for an individual person with brain injury.  It’s simply a guide, that’s pretty much all.

Can I prevent a concussion?

By its very nature, a concussion is unexpected, so it is tough to prevent. But there are several common-sense precautions you can take to lessen the possibility of traumatic brain injury.
  • Wear protective equipment. Participation in high-contact, high-risk sports such as football, hockey, boxing, and soccer can increase the likelihood of a concussion. Skateboarding, snowboarding, horseback riding, and roller blading are also a threat to your brain’s health. Wearing headgear, padding, and mouth and eye guards can help safeguard against traumatic head injuries. Wearing a bike helmet can lower the risk of traumatic head injury by 85%. Ensure that the equipment is properly fitted, well maintained, and worn consistently.
  • Drive and ride smart. Always wear a seatbelt, obey posted speed limits, and don’t use drugs or alcohol, because they can impair reaction time.
  • Don’t fight. Concussions are often sustained during an assault, and more males than females report traumatic head injuries.

WHAT CAN HAPPEN?

There many things that can be affected by a concussion.  The damage can affect Cognitive, Physical, Emotional, or Sleep elements.  Please see the diagram to the right for more, and click on it for more.

There’s an excellent book written about Concussions.  It focusses on the prevention, gives help to cope if you receive one, and “real stories” to help you understand that if you receive one, you’re not alone.

ABI vs. TBI

ABI vs. TBI
What’s the Difference?

Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)

The position of the Brain Injury Network is that acquired brain injury (ABI) includes traumatic brain injuries (TBI’s), strokes, brain illness, and any other kind of brain injury acquired after birth. However, ABI does not include what are classified as degenerative brain conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease or Parkinson’s Disease.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

“A traumatically induced structural injury and/or physiological disruption of brain function as a result of an external force that is indicated by new onset or worsening of at least one of the following clinical signs, immediately following the event:

  • Any period of loss of or a decreased level of consciousness;
  • Any loss of memory for events immediately before or after the injury;
  • Any alternation in mental state at the time of the injury (confusion, disorientation, slowed thinking, etc.);
  • Neurological deficits (weakness, loss of balance,  change in vision, praxis, paresis/plegia, sensory loss, aphasia, etc.) that may or may not be transient;
  • Intracranial lesion.
  • External forces may include any of the following events: the head being struck by an object, the head striking an object, the brain undergoing an acceleration/deceleration movement without direct external trauma to the head, a foreign body penetrating the brain forces generated from events such as a blast or explosion, or other force yet to be defined.”

Birth Trauma and Brain Injury

There is one subject regarding forms of TBI that is the source of some disagreement and that is with regard to the subject of brain injury produced by birth trauma. Generally speaking, brain trauma produced by the process of birth has been specifically excluded from being classified as a form of TBI by medical definitions. However, there are many mothers of babies being born with these birth brain injuries who are upset by that exclusion.

They see birth complications that result in these brain injuries as being forms of TBI. Some of these mothers see their children as being survivors of TBI, and they do not like that their children are excluded from this category.

Click the logo to read what does the OBIA (Ontario Brain Injury Association) say about the difference?

Visionary – Steve Jobs and now Elon Musk

This entry doesn't immediately seem to fit into this blog, because what it's about doesn't immediately fit with what this story is about. But, it is. Why? Because what I'm about is the minimizing the differences between myself, and someone who hasn't suffered an injury that's rendered them unable to drive. Put it this way, with what Elon is thinking, while the notion of my being able get into a Tesla is highly-unlikely (simply because of cost), the concept of taking one alone is impossible. However, with what he's proposing, not only will riding in one be possible, but doing so alone.
Teslas, are cooler than pretty much anything, of that there's no doubt, but they're not cheap! But, as with everything, while the price starts high, as skills/production/everything else improves, the cost to make will reduce.
Visionaries don't see the cost of making things, nor do they worry about "little things" that would get in the way, because all they see is the result.
Everything that's designed follows a 3-step process of questions, which is "what do we need?", followed by "how do we do it". At the centre is why it's being thought of. Nearly every invention follows the process, starting at the outside, and working in. Steve Jobs, who invented the Mac computers, followed it, but reversed the order. He thought of why what he's inventing is needed. He solved it, and worked out.
Elon Musk is a visionary, of that there's no doubt, because he's making going to space more of a common-thing, and now he's announced that he'll be into making self-driving taxis.
I'm looking at my computer, the where I store my info for backup, and this will show more of what I just said.
Everything that's somewhat standard now was "holy cow, that's awesome!!" when it was first launched, and cost a fortune. In a long time, cars like this will likely simply be "just a car", and the fact that it's driverless, and a taxi, won't be anything weird.

What is a concussion?

As Will Smith made evident, concussions are more than a "bump on the head", way more.  What's also unusual is that a concussion can be received with impact to another part of the body, not even the head.  What's also unusual is that a concussion can be received with impact to another part of the body, not even the head.
If you're hit on your body somewhere, that makes your head move, sharply, to one side and then back, your brain hits your skull, and it's like hitting your head with a hammer.
If your kid is hit on the head by the ball in the game, and gets a big bump, it's more often than not simply a visible injury, and not a concussion. However, make sure that you pay attention to your kid, periodically ask them random questions that take a moment to think, and make sure they're alert.
Make sure that you take your kid to see a doctor if they show:
• Persistent or worsening headache• Imbalance
• Vomiting• Memory loss or confusion
• Mood changes, such as irritability
Signs and symptoms may not be noticeable right away,
but if your headaches, dizziness, confusion, and nausea persists,
you should see a doctor.

How you can help

HERE ARE SOME “RULES” THAT YOU MIGHT SELF-ENFORCE FOR HELPING ALL PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

  1. Always treat people with disabilities as equals.  All people want to have friends, fun, and experience life to the maximum.  People with disabilities are no exception.  Never be afraid, skeptical, or embarrassed to approach someone with a disability.  People with disabilities have just as much fun!
  2. Always ask before you help.  People with disabilities have varying levels of independence.  Never assume someone with a disability has a low-level.  If someone looks like they’re struggling, ask before you help.  A person may welcome help, or they may ask that you let her be independent; but even if she looks like she’s struggling, she may just want to become more independent, which requires practice in everyday situations.
  3. Never assume someone does or does not have a disability.  Everyone is different.  Sometimes, people with disabilities may act, feel, or think differently than you.  Don’t assume that for this reason someone has a disability, simply treat him/her as an individual because all people should be treated equally.
  4. Do not stare.  Sometimes it is an eye-opening experience to see someone with a disability in public.  However, people with disabilities have lives just like everyone else.  You are certainly allowed to look, but do not stare at a person with a disability.  Simply view them the way you view others.
  5. Respect and understand confidentiality.  People with disabilities have a right to privacy.  They are not obligated to tell you about their disability.  If someone does tell you about his/her disability, do not assume that he/she is comfortable with you telling other people about his/her disability.  Always ask permission to discuss the disability before you do it.

The new liquor store – fully accessible!

Yes, alcohol can help cause a significant number of Acquired Brain Injuries, but it’s the person who uses it, not the store. The store, brand new this year, is fully accessible, a far cry from the previous location.

The old store was, by technicality, accessible - but it was by no means so.
The new store is fully accessible.
The door opens, widely, through which I'm able to drive my scooter straight in.
Not only can I drive all through the store to choose what I'd like, I'm able to pay for it, easily.

Developing the ability to multi-task with a brain injury is possible

I’ve heard, that while the damage to my brain was significant, that changes can be worked on, and with focus, achieved. A few years ago, when my aunt would basically tell everyone other than who was speaking, to be quiet, I became determined to improve.

Going to a restaurant wasn't really possible back then, because of the many different sounds, and I'd get distracted, that I'd not be able to talk to someone. I'm not fully sure what I did, but I did, and with focus.
I’m typing this with my earpiece in, listening to the radio, and the TV is on at the other end of the room. However, I’m focussing on what I’m typing, both visually and thought-concentration.

With focus, and determination, anything’s possible. Yes, my brain injury poses a challenge, but with focus, I’ll go all the way, and then some.
I’m typing this with my earpiece in, listening to the radio, and the TV is on at the other end of the room. However, I’m focussing on what I’m typing, both visually and thought-concentration.

With focus, and determination, anything’s possible. Yes, my brain injury poses a challenge, but with focus, I’ll go all the way, and then some.

I was e-chatting with my son, and learned something cool

I was chatting with my son, Connor, and learned something pretty awesome. He joined the Air Force, but told me about his interview, and what he shared blew me away.

He said that, in his interview, he was asked about his biggest challenge. He’s faced several, but what he said that he’d replied with stopped me.

He said “When I joined the military they asked for a difficult challenge I had to overcome, and I said when you got in a accident the father I knew before the accident was gone from his (your) memory to the point where for sometime you needed to relearn about your past through others.”

I’ve faced challenges, of that there’s no doubt, but I’d never thought of it impacting others, not even my family.

Smileys exist for a reason, and I’d like to use one, because I’m smiling, just thinking about it.

Types of Brain Injuries

 

Brain injuries only exist in only two ways: Penetrating, or closed. Basically, and it’s self-explanatory, either something goes through your skin and skull, or your brain is shaken, and hits your skull.

While penetrating is exciting-sounding, such as getting shot, having a harpoon go in, or something equally exotic, they’re few and far between. The closed injuries are more complicated, and far more prevalent. There’s a type of injury that’s a gazillion times more prevalent than the others, so I’ll simply mention them: epidural hematomas, subdural hematomas, and cerebral aneurysm.

Concussions are so common, and misunderstood, such that President Trump said ‘Uh oh, got a little ding on the head?’when asked about concussions in football.

Yeah, that’s real tough talk. For years, researchers have worked to show the serious consequences of those “dings” Trump dismisses (with his signature bullying sarcasm). “Concussion. Oh, oh!” — the science has found that the cumulative effects of all those dings can be deadly. In March, the NFL acknowledged a link between playing football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease. CTE symptoms include depression, memory loss and aggressive behaviour: several NFL players who committed suicide,

C’mon Trump, get serious. You’re in charge of the USA, and dismissing such a serious thing as a concussion as “a ding on the head” is an error, of galactic proportions.