In Brief—A recounting of the author’s ongoing experiences in The Old Folks’ Home. It’s not all dull routine.
Let There Be Light—
Following thorough testing, four specialists tell N. that she doesn’t have long to live. She reads Dr. Norman Doidge’s recently published book, “The Brain’s Way of Healing” and contacts Dr. Fred Kahn in Toronto who invites her to undergo treatment using non-invasive low-intensity lasers. One month after her intensive treatments in Canada she returns to Sweden in good health. Her doctors are astonished, but tests confirm her good health. Thus, the Doidge book has led her back to a full life.
A close friend refused to believe that my operation had condemned me to give up pottery to spend my remaining days in the Old Folks’ Home. Seeing the transformation of his family friend, N., my friend gave me the Doidge book in the hope that there might still be some pots in my life.
Since I am a bone-deep skeptic, I accepted the book to humor him. “I’ll read it,” I thought, “but it’s probably more of the same woo-woo stuff that that made self-help gurus rich by offering hollow promises.” Before I had finished Chapter 4, I was doing research on not just Dr. Doidge and Dr. Fred Kahn but on low-intensity laser therapy to treat neurological problems.
I learned that low-intensity laser therapy was not just in use for treating minor sports injuries and cleaning teeth in the dentist’s office, it was being applied experimentally all over the world to treat neurological problems. What’s more, even the medical sites reported no unwanted side effects. I discovered this is serious stuff.
N. sat in front of me. In glowing good health she cheerily responded to the many lawyerlike questions I shot at her. “What was your diagnosis?” “Could your return to good health be the placebo effect?” Smiling, she answered my many questions and related her experience during the month of intensive daily treatment she underwent in Toronto. The fatigue. The aches. The bursts of energy. And the constant adjustments that were made under Dr. Kahn’s supervision.
At the end of my questioning, when asked, N. reluctantly agreed she’d treat me with the professional equipment she bought and brought back with her. Preliminarily, she requested me to contact Dr. Kahn with my experiences and deficits since the operation in 2011. He would either agree or not after reviewing the information.
Two days later, Dr. Kahn contacted me saying he would guide N. through the treatments. Thus, with N.’s technical expertise and Dr. Kahn’s guidance, I became a guinea pig in the cutting-edge research being carried out on brain plasticity.
Long-Distance Treatment Commences—
Treatment began on September 28. N. set the parameters at the lowest levels she first received. She didn’t want to subject me to the higher levels she subsequently received. After all, my brain had been damaged nearly four years ago and part of my skull is missing, so let’s go easy.
As revealed in the earlier questioning, my initial reaction to the low-intensity laser light treatment was one of fatigue. I felt like I was walking through molasses and slept a lot. After only four treatments, I broke out in shingles around my mid-section. “Oweee!” They hurt like crazy. Though the pain is now diminishing, they still hurt. In answer to the question that popped into your head, shingles is related to chicken pox. The virus hides in your brain and never leaves your body. Get that shingles shot, partners.
Dr. Kahn said the shingles should be treated before we returned to treating my brain. The parameters were reset, even the rate of the treatments was diminished. So it goes to this day. N. reset the program and parameters in the computer and regularly consults the manual. Along with Dr. Kahn’s guidance via Internet, the shingles are disappearing. Can’t be too soon for me. They hurt…and I notice I sleep more. “Listen to your body,” he says. I’m listening.
In addition to what I have related before, I make an effort to walk—uhh, shuffle—outdoors for exercise every day. Dr. Doidge’s book recommends walking. Good exercise no matter what age you are. We’ll see if some of the other deficits respond to the light therapy.
If you are interested in how I spend my days here in the Old Folks’ Home, I now have light therapy along with the other elements I have described earlier, but you can ask anyhow. I’ll let you know how the life of a guinea pig goes. Routine now includes research. Excuse me, Readers, it’s time for my next treatment.