fMRI used to communicate with man in presumed vegetative state.

BBC News – Vegetative patient Scott Routley says ‘I’m not in pain’.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is fascinating. And tonight, it will be on Panorama here in the UK.

fMRI has been used to further investigate just how ‘vegetative’ patients are. One man who was presumed unaware and unresponsive for twelve years has communicated with doctors to say that he’s not in pain. fMRI isn’t anything new, really, but the applications for it are numerous. This particular use is quite important to me, as my first placement was working with people in minimally conscious or vegetative state, and I always wondered whether the people could hear and understand me when I spoke to them.

In fact, I was at the hospital featuring in tonight’s programme, which, by the way, was amazing. It was where I first encountered assistive technology and highly customised wheelchairs, and all the staff were wonderful at their jobs, and to me!

So tune in tonight if you can, or watch it on the BBC iPlayer when you have time. And, if you’re feeling generous, you can even support the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability in Putney by donating, buying Christmas cards and/or sponsoring someone’s time in the computer room so they can find ways to communicate.

My final placement, a bittersweet ending.

Hi all,

I know I’ve taken a while to update. I finished my final placement over a week ago on the Friday, and it was a bittersweet ending.

  • Leaving my students without a proper goodbye, as the final day ended with the Christmas concert, so all the kids simply got off the stage and found their parents. BITTER
  • Finally having some time to relax and sleep and read and play computer games with my Flan and my brother. SWEET
  • The realisation that I now have to focus on my dissertation before the final term starts. BITTER
  • Having six weeks before the start of the final term. SWEET
  • The realisation that I now have only six months until I have to enter the ‘real’ world. BITTER
  • My supervisor confirming that I am, in fact, great with technology and should possibly pursue a career in assistive technology. SWEET
I’ve learned a lot over this placement – a lot about paediatrics, but even more about myself. In the second half, I had to really be honest with myself and work extra hard, and I think I made great personal gains. While I didn’t do as well as my perfectionist self would have liked when I initially began working at the school, I did much better than I expected. Paediatrics is tough! I’m quite proud to say I made it through the fourteen weeks.

The Juggling Act. Edited.

I wrote a post a couple of hours ago that was very emotional in nature. My darling Flan was quick to warn me that it might be misread and that, now that one of my lecturers knows who I am, it might reflect poorly on me professionally. I have since made it private, as I don’t want to simply delete the post. It was a very helpful exercise for me, and I experienced a burst of productivity after posting it. I should use the private post feature more often!

The gist of the post was that I’m currently very stressed due to problems at home that are impacting on my occupational performance within my OT student on placement role. However, I need to keep pushing through until December 9th, when placement is officially over and I can relax for a bit (before sinking my teeth into my dissertation).