Madison redux. Part two.
A quick note: if you've visited this blog in the past you've no doubt read about my trips to Madison, WI, for brain therapy. Now I'm writing about my trips there again, because I never expressed how helpful the treatment was.
In my first Madison redux post I recounted how I learned about Paul Bach-y-rita, a neuroscientist who might be able to help me recover from my brain injury faster. Then I found out he was dead. Thankfully, his research is alive and well at the University of Madison, Wisconsin, and through some true serendipity, I was able to become a lab rat for the team carrying on Bach-y-rita's work.
My first visit to Madison was in early September of 2007. I would visit two more times, in 2008 and 2009, but that first trip was for me the most profound. When I showed up for my first day of intake tests, I was still having trouble walking, I had been having lots of headaches, I was very, very twitchy and I was deeply depressed and running too low on hope. I've already described the therapy I received, so I won't go into it in detail here, but what I have not written a lot about was how much that first visit to Madison helped me. To sum up, I left Madison a different person. I wasn't cured and in time, despite having purchased a BrainPort (the pre-cursor to the device I used at Madison), some of the benefits of the therapy wore off, but near the end of that week and for a few weeks afterward, I felt a little bit good. I credit the therapy in two ways: first, I think it accelerated some physical repairs in my brain; second, and maybe even more important, it gave me hope.
Hope is like a drug. You can feel it permeate you and change you and when it starts to fade all you want is more. And when it finally wears off you feel like the world will never turn again, that you are over, that life is more to be endured than enjoyed. And every day, it's this hope form Madison that still drives me to use my BrainPort for two 20 minute sessions, to work on my music and to make my relationship with Catherine ever better.
Thank you again to the whole team in Madison – Yuri, Mitch and Kelsey – who spent so much time with me and helped me more than any other medical team since my accident.