Monday, December 10, 2012

All that you have is your soul

Found a good set of of slides last week. Tedd Judd, neuropsychologist, gave a presentation on TBI five years ago. Wondering what TBI looks like to a trained professional? You could start here.

He must be one of those neuropsychologists who treats people, tries to help them recover. Because the one thing missing from these slides is skepticism. He gets it. For the first 3 years every health professional seemed hell bent on discrediting me. They drove out of their way to pin my symptoms on something else. It was baffling, infuriating. It's still a relief to find validation.

Someone asked me why they don't want to help. The short answer is, because they can. The long answer is really about numbers:
  • Our culture is suspicious of and aggressive toward people who need something. Collectively, we fear dependence and deny our own connected-ness. We have an idealized, childlike view of ability. We choose not to see that what goes around, comes around.
  • It is completely legal for insurance companies to treat those who make claims as cheaters by default. To deny, delay, and defend every claim based on a slight possibility of fraud. We do not punish them for this behavior. On the contrary, the profit motive rewards it.
  • Doctors and neuropsychologists who make extra money testifying in court follow the insurance industry's lead. They are unwilling to risk their professional capital on any case that might not be a slam dunk. Yes, they are clever but also greedy and self-serving. No one manages them or holds them to a higher standard. There is no oversight.
  • These same professionals were trained 10, 15, 20 years ago. They all were told 95% of mild TBI cases resolve themselves fully within 1 year. I don't know where this data came from but it's  inaccurate. However, it results in more skepticism and fewer dollars paid out to victims. So it persists as the standard. 
  • If you're in the miserable minority, 5% or 33%, it does not matter. For you it's a 100% thing. 
Slide 22 says that fully one-third of TBI survivors still have symptoms after a year. The "miserable minority" is what Dr. Judd's profession calls us. One-third sounds about right. That's an expensive number, too.

And that number was out there, all along.


  1. Maybe that means the young pups will be less skeptical, since they're trained more recently?

    1. Yes! The young doctor at Valley Medical, Dr. T, is not skeptical.

      There's another issue I didn't mention. In my experience the older doctors have better hard-core reasoning ability. The young ones are way more dependent on imaging, as our culture has become image-oriented. What's needed is a way to see brain injuries. Easy to say...apparently hard to do.

      And empathy training is happening in some med schools. But not enough of them.

    2. Most doctors (neurologists in particular) don't believe that the brain can heal. They have already given up.
      Humans are really effective at molding the world to meet their expectations. Soon you're acting as if there's no way to heal.

      With no visual proof of injury, they try to get you not to fight for your insurance claim as well. There was some research that showed TBI survivors who had to fight legal battles, insurance battles, and battles with their employers had worse health outcomes. This myth has also been recently debunked.

      Go away, heal-if-you-can-whatever, and do it without $$! Hmmm...