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.

End, Middle, Beginning.

End.

I had my final exam on Thursday. If you recall, I had ten days to prepare four case studies, and two case studies would be in the exam. The case studies were mild/moderate learning disabilities, rheumatoid arthritis, schizophrenia and traumatic brain injury. I was hoping to get the LD and TBI case studies, but alas, neither were on the exam. I’m sure I passed, but I would have felt more confident answering the questions if I could relate to my experience working with brain injuries. Having never worked with someone with a learning disability, I don’t know why I wanted that case study, but then I’ve never encountered RA, nor have I really worked with someone with schizophrenia.

Middle.

The next few days involved trying to reestablish occupational balance. I started reading for pleasure again. I decided to try catching up with some of my TV shows. I played a strategy computer game with Flan and my brother to exercise my brain in a different way. My face is already starting to look clearer from the drop in my stress levels.

Then today I started working – temporarily – at a school in Newbury. I loved it! It’s too bad that I have to drive all the way there and back, and that it’s temporary.

Beginning.

I have to really start looking for an OT job and figuring out the magic formula to get to the interview stage. I think I’ve found one just inside the M25 down the M40, so I could commute (yeah, I hate driving, but I love Oxford). It’s a paediatric centre, and they need a Band 5. I think I have a better chance getting an interview for this one than I have most jobs on offer, as I have absolutely no acute experience, nor orthopaedic, nor stroke, nor community. On the other hand, I did my dissertation on using video games with children with cerebral palsy, I had an adolescent mental placement, I had my final placement in a school for children with dyspraxia and I am now working in another school. I think paediatrics is the way to go! Plus, I might get to venture a bit into assistive technology, hopefully!