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About My New Normal

Suzanne Tobin is a former copy editor and designer for The Washington Post. At 59, in great health and working full-time as a copy editor for AARP, Suzanne was planning a trip to London to celebrate her 60th birthday, when everything changed. She experienced a series of seemingly unrelated health complications... Read more

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ABCs of Brain Injury: H Is for Humility

As I mentioned in my last post, having the humility to recognize my deficits is essential to my progress.

On Monday, I had the humility to visit my neuro-optometrist at the Vision and Conceptual Development Center for my annual checkup and ask for help again. For more information on this field, visit the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association website or look at the website of  Clark Elliott, who wrote “The Ghost in My Brain: How a Concussion Stole My Life and How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Helped Me Get It Back.”

More than five years after my brain infection was diagnosed, I have discovered yet another deficit after realizing how tired I get when trying to read the newspaper for any length of time, even just 15 minutes.

I am grateful my eye acuity is excellent, but that has nothing to do with this problem.

Early in my brain injury recovery, I had switched to audiobooks for most of my book reading, but I didn’t think I needed to sign up  for Washington Ear, the  nonprofit service for the blind that will read the newspaper out loud to you.

As a former newspaper editor, I love to read the newspaper in print.

But it’s becoming clear that I may need to adjust how I do that.

So Dr. Zeller-Manley  prescribed a new type of reading glasses that includes a prism in the lens to see if that will make it less taxing, since energy is a finite resource for brain injury survivors, even those of us with ADHD.

The humility part is admitting that, five years post injury, I am still discovering other deficits that weren’t as apparent because I was so busy dealing with the major physical ones, like speech and balance.

But reading Carole J. Starr’s bookTo Root & To Rise: Accepting Brain Injury, where she discussed how hard reading can be for survivors, planted a seed to start noticing which activities drained me more than others. Thus my new reading glasses. I’ll let you know if they help. Watch this space.

Please share any thoughts below to help other brain injury survivors or caregivers.


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Suzanne Tobin

About Suzanne Tobin

Suzanne Tobin is a former copy editor and designer for The Washington Post.


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