I had a great time the last two weeks in Toronto and Montreal.
I was 100 per cent out of work mode. I was enjoying two great cities. And best of all, I was hanging out with Kristina and Patricia. I also managed to find time to meet up with a couple of buddies I hadn’t seen in far too long.
One convo with one of those pals got me to thinking. And the result of that brain work is this — it’s time to shift gears with the blog thing.
Over a pint, my buddy and I talked about the ways we’ve worked together in the past to help folks draw out the best thinking of people facing difficult problems and challenges. Over a second pint, we talked about using this blog to do that again.
So for the coming months at least, Brainfood is going to get more focused. I’m going to use it to tap into my network, and with your help, readers’ communities to use our collective minds to solve challenges and tackle problems of the mind.
My buddy is going to help.
You see, I’ve learned in past lives and through recovering from the stroke thing that the answers to many of the problems and questions that befuddle us are out there, well understood by other folks sometimes in other places. Sometimes it’s straight forward. Sometimes there are context issues. Other times some creativity is required.
But we don’t know what we don’t know. And what we don’t know can’t help us.
A story or two…
Back when I was at the stage in my stroke recovery that saw my comprehension improve to normal levels I was still suffering with speed. I could only read at 50 words per minute. Average readers fly along at about 200.
I had a program to deal with this problem on my computer. But when it came to books, newspapers and magazines, I was out of luck. One fix was to go to the library and pick up a book and then look for another copy on tape. Then I’d listen to some actor read the words as I followed along with the book. It was clunky.
It was tough to read for pleasure or learning using the thespian aided method.
Then while doing some research, I connected with a speech language pathologist from Chicago. At the end of our interview, I kibitzed about my book reading problem.
She asked: “Don’t you have Amazon Kindle in Canada?”
“Indeed we do,” I said.
“Then get yourself one. It has a text to speech program.”
Indeed it does. Who knew? Lots of people, just not – until that day – anybody that I knew.
I’ve been reading books, magazines and newspapers with my Kindle ever since.
I’d also been frustrated that I’d never been able to talk to anybody else facing my kind of brain buzz from a stroke. None of the strokies I’d met had lost their ability to read and write, so none had had to relearn their ABCs. Then one day I had the TV on to BBC while I was doing some work and a Toronto writer named Howard Engel was featured. He’d had a stroke. While it wasn’t like mine, it had caused him to lose his words, too. And he’d battled back and kept writing.
Even though our issues were different, it was inspiring to hear about a guy like this who I could relate to.
I looked Mr. Engel up in the phone book and was able to chat with him a few times. He was a real gentleman to me. And a great inspiration.
It would be fantastic if more of these kinds of connections and the fixes to problems and inspiration they bring could happen by design rather than by chance. That’s what I’d like to help spark with this blog.
That’s what I’m going to do, that is. With your help.
We’re going to identify some of the problems that are driving us crazy. And we’re going to use some techniques and this blog to find the answers. We’ll spark conversations that will help us act as one big brain to fix problems. Small problems. Complex ones. Frustrating conundrums. Whatever.
We’ll pick them off a few at a time.
But, like I said, I’ll need your help.
Shortly I’ll post a blog that will flesh out more details. But basically, I need you to come forward with some initial problems. Then I need you to help draw in your networks – docs, therapists, patients, families and friends, support works of all kinds, researchers – folks with any interest and experience with the brain work that’s going on out there.
From all over the globe.
I’m looking forward to this!
I posted this on FaceBook in the groups Stroke Support Group With Flint (whatever that means, I don’t know) and Stroke Talk For FaceBook. I’m the survivor of a hemorrhagic stroke nearly 4 years ago, and I’m very interested in your project. How can I contribute, exactly?
thanks! I’m developing the plan and will connect asap re contributing.
Would love to take part. I am Mom to my 28 year old stroke hero. Hemorrhagic stroke at age 22 due to a rare disease called DADA2.
I’d have love to have you take part! Stay tuned.