Cognitive assessment and Rehabilitation

Today has been quite an interesting day, when all said and done. Let me back up a few weeks first though; I had my last consultation with the neurologist at the MRI a few weeks ago, he was happy with my progress over the last nine months, and didn’t need to see me again, the rest of my healing would happen at its own rate and he expected would take a couple of years in all. The last question he asked of me though, was “how do you feel now”? To which i replied “How do you mean”!?

He wanted to know how i felt about life in general since the head trauma, and my honest reply was “different”. Of course i feel different though, a lot has happened over the last 9 months, i have got married and we are expecting out first child, so I’m unlikely to feel the same way i did before the injury.

He asked how i felt at work, how i was around my friends and he made me begin to think. When i first started getting back to normal, after the accident, the wedding and then the honeymoon, before i started back at work, people came to see me, i visited people and in the beginning, i felt awkward around my old friends, like i didn’t know what to say to them, it was very strange, but i attributed it to the accident, obviously, and over the following weeks, it passed, and everything got back to normal. Eventually i came back to work, i have talked about this previously, that again felt a little odd, but i settled back in, but i had to sit in on a meeting in place of my boss who was off site, and i fund myself suddenly lacking in-confidence, nervous, and yet i knew my subject, very well indeed….

I told the neurologist all of this, and he didn’t bat an eye-lid, just nodded, and suggested that perhaps i should talk to a psychologist. Now my first thought was probably the same as most peoples, brought on by watching too many Hollywood films, but i thought “why not”, could be an experience!

So, yesterday i went to the “Cognitive assessment and Rehabilitation” clinic at Trafford General, with an open mind! I guess i was expecting the whole “sit down”, “how do you feel” treatment, but instead, i was quite surprised at the course of events. First i was taken into a room, and embarked upon a serious of tests, for example; word association, memory test, word disassociation where by a word was read to me and i had to respond with a completely un related word. Quite an interesting one that, i found it quite easy, she said one thing, i stared mindlessly out of the window and replied with whatever i was gazing at. Apparently though, a lot of people struggle with this test, and feel silly, therefore it takes them a while to overcome that feeling….. What does that say about me!?

After an hour of these tests, i was given a task to complete; i was handed a clipboard with a set of instructions and a map on it, and envelope addressed to someone, a pen, a stop watch, a mobile phone and £2.50! My task required me to use the map to find the reception where i was to deliver the envelope, then make my way to the shop and to buy a newspaper making a note of the headline on page 5, and also to take a note of the price of Walker’s crisps, then to make my way to the canteen and buy something for under £1 and make a note of two of the days specials whilst i was there. Somewhere in the middle of all this, i had to make a phone call and leave a message for a doctor, and the whole task had to be completed in less than ten minutes, but if ten minutes was reached before i completed it, i was to stop the watch and wait wherever i was! Obviously tests of my brains ability to remember, multitask, observe and interact. Straight from the off, i was worrying about having to make the phone call with my lifelong rediculous apprehension over making phone calls, but i set off, dropping the letter and made my way to the shop. I then had a dilemma over what paper to buy, in case she read some political meaning into it, so i bought the local rag, made a note of the headline and the price of crisps and went to the till. She short changed me, for a moment i wondered if this was art of the test! I pointed out the error, and the lady smiled and corrected her mistake, i walked off bemused! Half way down the corridor, i bit the bullet and made the phone call, result, it was an answering machine, that was easy enough! I made it to the canteen, bought a flapjack and sat down, knocking the stopwatch off at about 8 minutes…… EASY! When my tail caught up with me and sat down next to me, i asked her about being short changed, it wasn’t part of the test!!

After all these tests, i then met another lady who sat me down and did the whole “how do you feel” stuff….. You don’t wanna hear that, it was pretty dull!

So……i get the results in a week!

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