RANGER AGAINST WAR: Rise and Shine <

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Rise and Shine

Never, never, never, never give up
--Winston Churchill 

Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light
--Dylan Thomas

 Then I pray
Don't take me soon
'Cause I am here for a reason 
--One Day, Matisyahu

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the signature wound of the recent wars, and there is no quick fix. It is a devastating play-as-you go scenario past the initial triage, the path back to normalcy a no man's land fraught with unseen mines. It is estimated that 400,000 U.S. soldiers currently suffer TBI.

I was impressed recently with Simon Lewis's talk at the first INK conference which was published online in association with the TED conference on his medical journey after suffering TBI and the multiple, often unguessed, internal injuries pursuant to the initial concussive event. While Mr. Lewis, an attorney and Hollywood film producer, suffered his TBI in the civilian world, his experience is readily translatable to that suffered by some of our military readers. Since viewing his talk I have had the pleasure of making his acquaintance, and I believe his message and crusade to protect, restore and improve human consciousness is a vital one.

His injuries were so massive that he was presumed dead at the scene of his auto accident. Mr. Lewis then spent one month in "Glasgow Level Three", the lowest state of coma existence on the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) and one from which few emerge. When he did, recovery was a grueling process which took him from trying to comprehend children's animations back today to his pre-accident 150 I.Q. Equally as torturous was the fact that there was no clearly enumerated path back, just a continuous hit-and-miss process of brute force effort and will combined with the occasional welcome serendipity.

Reading his book, Rise and Shine, is an antidote to demoralization and will encourage and enlighten anyone on his hidden path to recovery. Being English, Mr. Lewis employs his gallows humor to good effect. He hits the right tone, and his story is engaging throughout.

A recurrent theme is the dismal reality that he must fight for medical coverage time and again before he can even begin the fight on the bodily level for his recovery. Anyone who has been in his position will understand the daunting challenges which face the patient on every front.

Of special interest to those who have or will undergo cranial reconstruction will be the unforeseen complications surrounding the prosthetic inserts.
In addition, the ongoing trauma set up throughout the body following massive concussive damage is often unexpected and not well understood. 

One of his mantras is, "no one will tell you everything"; in fact, the things we are told are often contradictory and potentially damaging. Surviving and thriving seems to hang on a wing and a prayer, many times.

Lewis has made it his mission to raise awareness of the necessity for the medical world to widen their approach to TBI survivors and employ every available modality in order to not lose our most precious asset, consciousness. If you or anyone you know has suffered TBI and is looking for a way, I recommend Mr. Lewis's book. While not a manual for navigating the medical system, it provides one man's clear and stoic efforts to regain the maximal wellness possible for him.

20 years on his recovery continues, and it is his mission to bring the message that there are many unused modalities of treatment -- many which he presents -- and that we should not be satisfied with the often low expectations attached to such diagnoses. 

As he told one interviewer, it seems in America we are satisfied with discharging accident victims after they have achieved a very minimal baseline of function and call that a recovery, with no direction for their future. (Mr. Lewis was discharged once he achieved an I.Q. of 89.)

This is not good enough.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

TBI is such a tragically cruel condition. The very tool (=brain) you need to understand your situation is compromised. Your entire reality is altered, but no one knows this or fully appreciates it because it isn't immediately seen, like an amputated leg.

Also, TBIs can stimulate the emergence of other mental/behavioral disturbances like bipolar D/O and schizophrenia; further impairing cognitive processes and further deteriorating the prognosis.

The VA's response is to treat TBI complaints as serious mental illness; prescribing heavy duty anti-psychotics and other medications with profoundly numbing impacts on cognition and deleterious side-effects. Danger from overdose is high (how is someone who's having trouble thinking right and with memory trusted to take potentially dangerous medicine as ordered?) Then a pat on the back and a "see ya next month".


Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at 1:20:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now that I have watched the TED vid, I'd like to add that it is very inspirational as well as highly interesting.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at 2:14:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Yes, avedis, TBI (whether mild or full-blown) is an epidemic today, and it is amazing how little we know re. treatment and repercussions pursuant to both the treatments and the initial trauma. Like you say, the cruel irony is that we are using the brain to understand the brain/mind, a fact which hampers both the investigators and the patients.

I'm glad you saw the vid. I was highly moved by the book, and recommend it in good faith.

Thursday, January 15, 2015 at 11:53:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Simon Lewis said...

I want to express my appreciation to this blog and everyone who helps bring attention to this cruel truth, of so many stalled lives and lost futures, when there are approaches I describe in my book that use science and skill to restore my mind. This is why I write and speak, why I feel so very honored to be reviewed and recommended on this site. I thank this readership for their service to our country and their bravery. From civilian to battlefield care, we should resource to make the most of our minds each day that we open our eyes, and feel the sun rise and shine.

Thank you,
Simon Lewis, author

Thursday, January 15, 2015 at 8:10:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you ever get your hormones tested after the TBI? There is a doctor in so cal who works with hormones and TBI, Dr. Mark Gordon, http://www.tbimedlegal.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/TBILEM201201.pdf

I have not been to him myself and have not yet been treated but have read that the impact to the head causes hypo-pituitarism.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 3:29:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Mali Cecere said...

I have read "Rise and Shine" and found it to be a deeply moving and hopeful book. Having also a friend who underwent a very similar ordeal to that of Simon Lewis I contacted him in the hopes of getting some advice. What I got back was loads of positiveness and encouragement from someone who has been through thick and thin; and my own friend is undertaking new paths today thanks to Mr. Lewis' subtle suggestions...

Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 5:53:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Best of luck to your friend, Mali.

Mr. Lewis is a fine human being and a true exemplar for us all.


Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 4:24:00 PM GMT-5  

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