Recovery of Brain Injury – My Speaking Engagement
8 Hour Expo of Cutting Edge Technology & Approaches for Recovery of Brain Injury…….THUD.
Did you ever have the nightmare where you were taking an exam for a course? Or did you ever have the nightmare where you prepared and everything went wrong? How about did you ever work hours on end to make the perfect wedding cake and tripped carrying it walking out the door?
Well between March 24th and March 25th I had that experience.
As a professional speaker, various groups solicit my services to speak or run workshops on various topics on Brain Injury. When Tammy Kuchynski phoned from the Vista Centre from Ottawa I was intrigued. She wanted me to speak on a completely new topic, which I’m passionately involved in and has transformed my life…the recent field of Neurofeedback. She asked me to present an 8 hour workshop to clinicians, staff members who work with survivors of Brain Injury, and also survivors of Brain Injury.
Brain Injury is such a hot topic right now and there is some revolutionary technology that can help dramatically in the treatment of TBI. I was thrilled and excited to present the newest hardware and software technology and approaches for recovery of Brain Injury. With the help of my new assistant, Antoinette, I prepared our list of treatments & equipment to present, got all of our vendors in order, and took care of all the little details, even purchasing a brand new laptop with enough memory to hold the new software and perform at peak speed functioning. However, as Murphy, that sly devil, would have it anything that could go wrong DID! Well, almost everything!
From January to March, I worked on the PowerPoint that included the following methods:
1) Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES): CES, registered with and regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), is a method for anxiety, insomnia and depression.
2) HeartMath- emWave, Heart Rate Variability ( HRV): Method for anxiety, anger and stress management
3) EyeQ Reading Program
4) LACE- Language and Comprehension Enhancement
5) Yourell Bilateral Sounds
6) Hemoencephalography (HEG) measures the blood flow in the brain and gives feedback to encourage blood flow to the targeted regions. This was specifically designed for helping with migraine headaches and depression.
7) Personal Roshi ( pRoshi) is a light/sound machine used to disrupt inefficient patterns in the brain. The lights flash at a constantly varying speed, helping the brain to “get out of the rut” of current dysfunctional patterns.
8 ) Atlantis 4×4 –FDA medical device for EEG/Neurofeedback
9) Discovery- FDA medical device for QEEG and 19 channel Zscore training
10) Low Energy Neurofeedback System ( LENS) This system is based on restructuring the stuck patterns in the brain and to promote a balanced flexible state.
11) NeuroField-This system allows the body to engage its own restorative systems so as to return to a balanced, homeostatic state. Specific amplitude and frequency changes can be measured for the purpose of guiding the brain so that it can function more effectively. NeuroField was designed to strengthen the body and promote healthy, balanced states
I’ve used each of these areas successfully both for myself and with all of my patients. Some of the techniques I’ve been using for the past 10 years, and the recent innovative methods of the LENS, Neurofield and now 19 Channel Zscore training on the Discovery from BrainMasters Technologies have proven to be extremely effective in treating individuals with TBI.
This PowerPoint was put on my MacBook, and when I checked it out it worked perfectly. I also had some software on this computer which I never checked out… this proved to be a Big Mistake. Pleased with the PowerPoint, I wanted to make sure the demonstration of each of these valuable technologies and approaches would be easily understood through hands-on demonstration Now I had an ACER computer with 2 G Ram that I was going to use for the demonstration of all the technology, but found out that it was not sufficient for the demonstration. Thus, as mentioned before, I purchased a MacBook Pro with 8G of Ram that was supposed to do everything needed.
In previous presentations and workshops, I’ve never checked to see if the computer would work with the projector because there is always a technician on hand. And I never thought to check out the new equipment to see if it worked with a projector prior to departure to Ottawa. Another big mistake. I think you’re starting to see my nightmare.
Meanwhile, Tammy phoned to tell me the audience that was originally 40 people was now up to 70 and counting and was made up of rehab employees, healthcare professionals, students, and brain-injured individuals. Again, I didn’t take into account the mixed audience of those who knew about Neurofeedback which is very technical and those wanting hands-on approaches, which some of the methods include.
Antoinette and I traveled to Ottawa, Ontario with all the mentioned equipment in one carry-on suitcase. With all the current security issues in the airport, I had enough forethought to ask for a letter of invitation from Tammy. Antoinette checked with the airlines and measured the carry-on to ensure we could put it either under the seat or in the ranks above the seat. However, the plane we got on did not accommodate this very small bag and it had to be place in another compartment. When we arrived I was stopped by Customs because of their concern that I was carrying explosives. They had me empty the contents and they inspected the pRoshi, the Discovery, the Atlantis, the NeuroField several times.
Once we arrived we were greeted by Tammy, who has the heart of gold. She took us to our hotel and later showed us around the beautiful city of Ottawa. We had dinner with her and the executive director, Dave Walls, where they shared all the wonderful and resourceful aspects of the Vista Centre and their vision of how to improve it.
The next morning Antoinette and I were up at 5 a.m. ready to take on the world ( and the brain injury Workshop). We arrived at the RA Centre, where we were greeted by Trish Watts, along with the rest of the Vista Centre and RA Centre staff who helped us set up and provided support during the entire 8 hours of the workshop.
While Antoinette was busy greeting people and unpacking all of the shipments from our vendors, I started setting up the presentation. That is where my nightmare started and the trouble began…but it didn’t end there…
First the brand new laptop with all of the new software we were demonstrating would NOT connect to the projector. We tried multiple adapters but NOTHING seemed to work. The computers also could not connect to the wireless internet provided in the building. So in addition to our software not being displayed because of projector trouble, one of our demos (for Infinitie Mind’s EyeQ) was on the WEBSITE and required an internet connection to show. This elicited a small amount of panic, but, as they say, the show must go on. I had to make the decision to just go with the flow and explain whatever equipment I couldn’t properly exhibit.
Across the room, while setting up our vendor tables with equipment and brochures for sale & display, Antoinette found that we were missing a package of CDs called “Sounds for Inner Space”. These CDs were created by Robert Yourell and use bilateral sounds to promote stress reduction or elimination, meditation, and personal development. We had planned on presenting these discs at the workshop because they’re so effective in helping people with brain injury, high stress, and anxiety achieve mental quiet and focus. Thus, we could add one more thing to the list which would have to be explained with a ‘Just trust me, it WORKS!’ sort of approach.
We did various demonstrations with people in the audience of how the CES machine really works along with the Emwave by HeartMath and the NeuroField.
About 15 minutes into the workshop, while mid-sentence explaining one of these demos, my body mic just died. Because of all the trouble we had setting up and getting the equipment to work, the workshop had already started late. We couldn’t stop to change the microphone batteries until the scheduled break, so I had to finish the rest of the segment using the loudest natural voice I could muster hoping that everyone could hear me.
As part of the presentation, I had arranged a live demonstration of the use of the LENS with my patient in Fort Worth, TX. Thank goodness, Tammy had another computer handy that actually worked with the projector! With her help I was able to save the day with my 25 year-old patient telling the workshop audience how pRoshi, CES, LACE, EyeQ, Zscore training and now LENS have given him his life back after a debilitating stroke at the age of 16. Everyone had a great response to this young man’s inspirational and true success story.
I wish we had more time for Question and Answers and that we could have addressed more of the needs of the audience.. One thing the audience could clearly see was the versatility and portability of the new technology. I was able to bring everything from my office, including my laptop, in a carry-on suitcase. This ability allows me to do home visits, work in rehabs or in my office. With Go to My PC and Skype, as was demonstrated in this workshop, I can do virtual training anywhere in the world. We are extremely thankful for the opportunity to present these Cutting Edge Technologies.
After the workshop was over, what else could possibly go wrong?
This time we flew to Montreal on an even smaller aircraft and had an hour layover, only to find that we needed the hour plus to meander through the corridors of the airport to the Customs facilities again. Only to go through the same procedure of unpacking and repacking all of our carry-on equipment. However, this time we did not have the extra time. While in customs, we heard on the loudspeaker our names being called out, that this was the final call for our aircraft and they would be closing the gates. We rushed through the airport and made it just as the door to our plane was about to close. Missing the flight home and being stranded in Montreal would have really been the icing on the cake.
Things didn’t go exactly as planned, but we learned a lot from this venture and I am grateful to be able to present for the first time in the world all the newest technology and approaches that are being successfully used in treating individuals with Brain Injury to regain a productive life.