Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Brock String and XBox

I had another round of vision therapy today, and it is very interesting. Here is the description:

A Brock string (named after Frederick W. Brock) is an instrument used in vision therapy. It consists of a white string of approximately 10 feet in length with three small wooden beads of different colors.

The Brock string is commonly employed during treatment of convergence insufficiency and other anomalies of binocular vision. It is used to develop skills of convergence as well as to disrupt suppression of one of the eyes.
During therapy, the one end of the Brock string is held on the tip of the nose while the other is tied to a fixed point. The three beads are spaced out at various distances. The patient is asked to focus on one of the beads, while noting the visual input of each eye and sensation of convergence. Techniques may be made more difficult by bringing the beads closer to the nose and by employing lenses and prisms.

Here is a video that you can watch:

Another exercise uses a XBox controller, and there are very specialized vision 
programs that the therapist use with me.  Our son is intrigued that Dad uses a 
computer and a XBox controller. Finally, my son is interested in my therapy!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Reading and strokes

I found an eye doctor who specialized with stroke and vision. I sought a doctor because I am a voracious reader, and because of my stroke, I have great difficulty reading. 

Reading was my hobby, and, for work, reading is key.

So, I have started a new round of therapy. I started last week, and I anticipate that it will take 6 months, two times a week.

Dr. Scott Lewis describes his practice in this way:  What is vision therapy? You can think of vision therapy as physical therapy for the eyes and the brain. The neurological aspect is very important because the eyes are direct physical extensions of the brain. We see with our brains and minds, not just our eyes. There are plenty of web pages which give accurate definitions of vision therapy 

Here is some related information about reading and stroke: 

People who have suffered a stroke can sometimes see the reading impaired. Calling this kind of alteration Acquired Dyslexia. This disorder can occur in conjunction with language disorders or in isolation. Different types of acquired reading disorders that are intimately related to the size of the lesion and the brain areas that it affects.

The left cerebral hemisphere (HI) is responsible, in most people’s language functions, but the right hemisphere (RH) also supports certain reading skills. This is why people with damage to the HI can recover some reading skills through the damaged hemisphere in collaboration with the HD.

The alteration of reading not only prevents the individual to enjoy recreational activities such as reading the newspaper, a book or watch a movie with subtitles, also interferes in other areas of their daily tasks like paying bills, follow written instructions or using the computer. Associated then a feeling of effort and frustration to any of these activities.

Some ideas to optimize the reading after a stroke: In some cases, silent reading is much easier than reading aloud, because it is affecting your ability to produce speech sounds. That’s why reading aloud words require an unnecessarily difficult process, because in any case the person can understand the contents of the text reading silently.

Reading aloud is awful for me. When I was elected to be on the Board of Trustees of the College of Western Idaho, I could not read aloud my oath of office. I completely understand everything, but reading aloud is so complicated for me. Everyone understands, and they always compensate for my “reading disability.” But, it really irritates me that people have to accommodate me.

I had four diagnostics tests with the doctor.  Like a doctor would – and should – he said “there are no guarantees. But it cannot hurt.”

Really? “But it cannot hurt.”


It CAN hurt if it does not work.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Our parents died last September....

One Year….

Yesterday, my brothers, Steve and Dirk, and I went to Twin Falls, Idaho. It was a quick trip.  We had to do some estate legal work, and after that, we went to the cemetery.  Our parents died in September, and we have not seen the headstone.

It was kinda surreal.  Because we live in Boise and our parents lived in Twin Falls, it seems that they are still here.  Seeing the headstone makes it real.

It seems like yesterday that my wife told me that my Mom was sick.  It was about early May.  Our step father was ill, and we knew that he would not get better, but this sudden news that both of our parents were going to die was heart wrenching.

Last summer was odd. I was recovering after my stroke (still am…), and my brothers and I went to Twin Falls every week…sometimes two times a week.  There were so many fires last year, and the scenery seemed like a burnt orange Moonscape.

Watching a parent’s demise was awful. It seems like reality was in slow motion. Mom was so healthy until ovarian cancer took her. 

Our step dad – a wonderful man – seemed to want to give up because of Mom’s condition. They were so vibrant, and then, they were gone.

Seems like yesterday, but it also seems so long ago.