As the month of March 2019 draws to a close, Brain Awareness gathers momentum with each day that passes.
For March 2019 I want to add something very important.  Pure chance and constant curiosity led me to two professional people, one Professor Eleanor Maguire at University College London and to Professor Adam Zeman at Exeter University.  Professor Maguire explained what I now know are spatial memory problems post traumatic brain injury.  Professor Zeman who named Aphantasia explained what the Mind’s Eye is and what the absence means for the person.  This was only named in 2016.  For further details you can access my book.  In 2017 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and as a form of discipline and for memory purposes I wrote the book.  As Twitter is my main support for communication I am marketing my book through random connections via Tweets.
25th March 2019
Twitter augments my memory & is my friend. Fortune Favours the Brave eBook: Michelle Marcella Clarke, Foreward Prof John Crown … 10% to CCRT charity. Traumatic Brain Injury bipolar chronic fatigue to Breast Cancer…/dp/B07LCMPBNH/
March 14th – March 20th 2016 is Brain Awareness Week in Ireland and afar.  Jack Russell wrote back in 2008; so little is achieved but at least we have Charlie Rose The Brain Series…/Charlie-Rose…Brain-Series/43487 TED talks and TEDMED.  We have dogs recognised for their abilities to help people with disabilities.  To clarify:  having sustained a traumatic brain injury in a horse riding accident in Zimbabwe; my partner and advocate decided a dog – Jack Russell – was an essential part of my recovery. 12 years he has been with us.  Below it was July 2008 and I wrote what I thought he would say if he could talk.

July 14, 2008 22:27

‘Knowledge is no load’ particularly for those who have had a Stroke

Social Justice and Ethics for those who have sustained traumatic brain injury; or other neurological conditions by Jack Russell aka MC

You must be tired of writing Michelle so I have decided to give you a paw!

Jack Russell, the well known minder dog in Dublin 4, has good news. It gives insight to perspective and being a dog I am very alert to perspectives.

Until recently, if you had a stroke your prognosis was very poor. Your mobility invariably would be restricted and speaking could be a real problem. Communication might be forthcoming but the problem would be the level of comprehension the stroke victim has and the fact that this deficit may not be recognised by the world out there….and the patient would remain hidden under a layer of frustration that could suffocate the life’s blood out of them. (Some people refer to the ‘Locked In’ syndrome.  To know, to understand, to communicate, to comprehend – without these, frustration takes over.

Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD…/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_st…has written a book worth reading. The title is ‘My Stroke of Insight – A Brain Scientist’s personal journey’.

Jack Russell goes on to say; this woman is 36 years old, a brain anatomist and in December she suffered a brain haemorrhage, (Stroke). By the end of the morning, she couldn’t walk, talk, read, write or recall her life. Audaciously she summoned her medical knowledge, to the conditions of a stroke.

Remarkably in her book she has outlined her experiences – ‘my left eye pulsed with a slow and deliberate rhythm, she felt both irritated and bewildered’. She compares the pain in her eye as sharp, ‘like the caustic sensation that sometimes accompanies biting into ice cream.”  She closed the curtains to stop the piercing light. She then thought about her blood circulation or lack of it and got onto to her exercise bike.

She tells us of the sense of dissociation that took over. She comments on the irregular feeling of her body. She talks about a riveting sense of wonder.

When her normal muscular coordination faltered she talks about her mind feeling completely pre-occupied with ‘just keeping her upright’. She then went for a bath but had to support herself. It is the following words that I think may reassure a person with brain injury that they are understood and believe me, this is essential.

‘I could sense the inner activities of my brain as it adjusted and readjusted all of the opposing muscle groups in my lower extremities to prevent me from falling over. My perception of these automatic body responses was no longer an exercise of intellectual conceptualisation……..I was momentarily privy to a precise and experiential understanding of how hard the 50 trillion cells in my brain and body were working in perfect unison to MAINTAIN THE FLEXIBILITY AND INTEGRITY OF MY PHYSICAL FORM’

The last line…..’Ignorant to the degree of danger my body was in, I balanced my body against the shower wall……’

As a Jack Russell, with an acute sense of hearing, balance that let’s me walk on a cliff edge, smell that sniffs out the foxes when they roam on the street midway through the night and smell wakes me from my deep sleep, I really appreciate that this woman has taken her suffering, her knowledge of the brain, medicine and science, and shared it with people.

Well done. We need more interaction and rehabilitation urgently. Funding and understanding is needed please for rehabilitation and canine friends for people with neurological trauma’s to do as I do for my friend Michelle.   Wuff Wuff

Jack Russell selection of quotation:

Betrayal. Confucius (c.551-478 BC) Chinese Philosopher

‘To know what is right and not to do it is the worst cowardice’

To the medical profession and the Minister for Health.

Is betrayal involved in the commitment to health provisions for all people?

Recommendations: Ireland

Aoine Meith 20, 2008 18:11

Every head injury, we are so often informed, differs from others.

by Michelle Clarke – Social Justice and Ethics

It might apply to memory, as in my case, the loss of the senses, and over-tendency to be aggressive or in some cases passive.

I really ask that Beaumont Hospital Dublin, Cork Neurology and other hospital departments be up-graded to a standard as high as in Europe and the US. People who sustain head injuries, who need rehabilitation, first and foremost LIVE now, and for a lot longer but the brain damage can be such that they no longer are able to compete in working and family life. We need money, we need more rehabilitation, we need our university research departments fully staffed and including people with injuries on professional teams (so that insight can be gained).

The title on the front page of the Star today about the Dumbrell brothers being “evil”. Is this not stigma and ignorance talking?

One brother and so little attention is given to this head injury, jumped on a Guinness lorry and then fell to the ground and a car ran over him. First and foremost, he is lucky to be alive although, for the family of the man so brutally murdered, this is hard for them to take on board, but yet there are so many people who have medical conditions not properly diagnosed and who sadly end up in criminal situations or homeless.

But let us not forget the damage done to the brains of people night and day…..and the need for the intervention of science to gain the insight for such radical cognitive behavioural changes.

I hope that this Dumbrell man, while in prison, is willing to participate with research even by computer, to add to the widening body of knowledge that now exists re. ABI. Hope should always exist particularly in Ireland as violence increases and so many people die due to brain injury or face a life on rehabilitation.

To the Cawley family and the children –  my thoughts and a candle for Hope.

Ireland as far as provision for Neurology and Psychiatry (Rehabilitation) rates near the bottom of the EU list…….and they ask why we voted No……

Regarding Mr Dumbrell, it is quite an irony that it was a Guinness lorry when we know our Accident and Emergency figures reveal the prevalence of alcohol and illegal substances taking up valuable trolleys in A&E’s causing ever increasing chaos in our health services.

Headway do great work.  I attended a lecture a long time ago no – a passionate father stood up to speak of his son’s journey back to school (with major cognitive deficits especially the  loss of reading, maths abilities). Recognition from people present was enlightening. The father admitted that the bureaucracy hindered his son’s progress and what was really remarkable was that the father learned how to read and write to represent his son’s case. We need people like this man: this is real courage.

Winning – Mahatma Gandhi, Indian Independence Leader
‘First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win’.



25th March 2019

About michelleclarke2015

Life event that changes all: Horse riding accident in Zimbabwe in 1993, a fractured skull et al including bipolar anxiety, chronic fatigue …. co-morbidities (Nietzche 'He who has the reason why can deal with any how' details my health history from 1993 to date). 17th 2017 August operation for breast cancer (no indications just an appointment came from BreastCheck through the Post). Trinity College Dublin Business Economics and Social Studies (but no degree) 1997-2003; UCD 1997/1998 night classes) essays, projects, writings. Trinity Horizon Programme 1997/98 (Centre for Women Studies Trinity College Dublin/St. Patrick's Foundation (Professor McKeon) EU Horizon funded: research study of 15 women (I was one of this group and it became the cornerstone of my journey to now 2017) over 9 mth period diagnosed with depression and their reintegration into society, with special emphasis on work, arts, further education; Notes from time at Trinity Horizon Project 1997/98; Articles written for 2003/2004; St Patricks Foundation monthly lecture notes for a specific period in time; Selection of Poetry including poems written by people I know; Quotations 1998-2017; other writings mainly with theme of social justice under the heading Citizen Journalism Ireland. Letters written to friends about life in Zimbabwe; Family history including Michael Comyn KC, my grandfather, my grandmother's family, the O'Donnellan ffrench Blake-Forsters; Moral wrong: An acrimonious divorce but the real injustice was the Catholic Church granting an annulment – you can read it and make your own judgment, I have mine. Topics I have written about include annual Brain Awareness week, Mashonaland Irish Associataion in Zimbabwe, Suicide (a life sentence to those left behind); Nostalgia: Tara Hill, Co. Meath.
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