I think that if we just keep going a little longer, we might be able stop this madness.

5 Marathons in 5 Days!

This is how to stop it: click here to do what you can!

Colours by the Bonny Men sung in Wheelan’s yard, recorded who knows how, sent to Pádraig by his friends – I’ve been playing this song for Pádraig, and tried to sing it with him, a lot of mornings since he left hospital. Maybe that made all the differenceJ!

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I really really would like to jump up and down. Grab the person beside me by the shoulders. Shake him. Shout out loud. At him. Why??? – Or maybe better: Why not??? Tell me! Tell me now!

I won’t do it.

Not just because you don’t do stuff like that on the plane. Unless, of course, you want to be restraint to your seat, while the pilot is looking for the next airport for an emergency landing.

I won’t do it, because I know the person beside me wouldn’t have an answer for me. In fact, I very much doubt that anyone could answer that question. (Be patient. I’ll let you in a minute what the question is.)

There was I, ringing Pat back in the apartment in Hamburg, just to say that I had made it to the airport on time, despite a 40 minute “Verspätung” (!) by Die Bahn (Ireland is everywhere!). When she said she wanted to tell me something about Pádraig and Maria (Maria is “Frau L.” to everybody else. Pat never warmed the “Frau” and “Herr” business in Germany.)

Maria is Pádraig’s OT. She is absolutely great. Not just that. She has also established a ‘connection’ with Pádraig. They understand each other. And today she told Pat, that she thought, in fact, she was pretty sure, that Pádraig’s got a problem distinguishing between green and blue – while he had absolutely no problem recognising red, yellow, and green.

Yes. I was as shocked as you are now (most likely, and especially if you’ve followed Pádraig’s voyage over the past two years plus).

We were shocked not so much because Pádraig has this problem with green and blue – but because here is a therapist who has been working with Pádraig for just a few weeks and decided to check whether he can distinguish between colours. As one would do.

I’m writing this being breathless.

Because up to now, more than two years after his accident, no one has ever bothered to check whether Pádraig could actually see anything. Anything. (And we were almost afraid to find out.) Never mind recognise and distinguish between colours. (I had been planning to use an eye tracker with Pádraig but haven’t managed yet to get it setup for him.)

We are, of course, anxious, doubtful, can’t believe it. Maria has, of course, no doubt about what she and Pádraig found out this morning. That he has a problem distinguishing between green and blue – but no problem whatsoever recognising red, yellow, and green.

So here is my question: why, why did it take so long to do this? Was Maria the first therapist who thought: let’s try colours? Or was today the first time that Pádraig was able to see the difference between colours? Maybe he has improved so much? So there was no point in trying earlier?

Whatever the answer is: it is absolutely and categorically fantastic! And knowing Pádraig, he’ll get over the green/blue business pronto. No doubt.

And here is a final piece of new news: The cover story of Der Spiegel this week is “Schnell im Kopf. Hirnforschung. Wie Bewegung das Denken verbessert.” It’s a long and detailed report on brand new studies, some of them unpublished yet, amongst them by the Max-Planck-Institute for Educational Research in Berlin-Dahlem, demonstrating that there is a very strong connection between our muscles and our brain, developed over 2 million years of evolution, meaning that regular exercise can help brain development and recovery. It can, amongst other things, support learning, lessen the effects of depression, prevent dementia, Alzheimer, stress, hyperactivity and many more brain-related problems and diseases. – While the author of the article did not specifically mention it, there is no reason I could see why these finding could not also be applied to the brain and the recovery of brain functions of persons with acquired brain injuries.

We all know what the opposite, withdrawal of physical exercise and neglect, can do even to healthy persons (never mind the sick and injured) – just remember what happened, for example, to the young Romanians kept in orphanages not so long ago.

There cannot be any justification for leaving persons even with very severe acquired brain injuries without very frequent and very regular exercise and therapy. None.