First, I need to explain that to me, neuroscience is not a cold unfeeling thing. It’s as close to working with what we might call “divinity” that I can think of, and should be approached with sensitivity and compassion – even a sense of sacredness.
My introduction to neuroscience is profoundly personal.
First, there’s the fact that my own neurological system has its own set of glitches. I began my studies sometime in 2003 or so when my neurological system failed to keep me employed due to autism & its grab bag of fun.
In 2005 or so, my then-husband was plugging in a lamp for me when he suffered a freak accident; a bolt of electricity arched from the plug up his arm and right into the optic nerve, crossing the optic chiasm and exiting below his left shoulder. He was in a coma for approximately eight hours, during which I read him and the rest of the coma ward poetry and did my best to hold it together.
After the accident he lost all connection to his higher emotions and thought processes, but retained his knowledge and skill sets. He remembered who everybody was, although he had to learn to walk again. I cannot begin to express how terrifying that made him to live with, or how few options were available to us.
After the accident, he started wrenching black green fluid on a regular basis and complained of symptoms similar to those caused by nerve agents – or mefloquine.
Before my health failed me completely and utterly and the situation simply spiraled out of control and into an unending massive traumatic experience, I spend as much time as I could out of the house at the university medical library, and at home, endless hours of study, note taking, cross referencing, and observation.
Essentially, the electrocution managed to mimic the effects of serious mefloquine toxicity, including the psychological and functional effects. I did not realize it until several years down the road when I started seriously talking to veterans.
My research has spread out over the years, and includes a relatively new field called neuro-psychoimmunology – which is the study of how the neurological, psychological, and immune systems communicate, and how that is both effected by and effects the environment, and I’ve been able to share my findings with several physicians, specialists, and pharmacists.
It is my sincerest hope that something good for Canadian veterans comes out of all of this personal tragedy and that others can be spared the suffering we went through.
One truly unfortunate aspect our life together is that we received almost no financial support at all after his accident, and I was more or less responsible for his care until my own health utterly failed me, despite the fact that the incident was written about in medical journals and we were treated very shabbily by the health care system, including me having to take a leign against all future property, give up my savings bonds and develop massive credit card debt, and lost massive amounts of money to the cost of medication just to exist.
Funny things about leigns. It means that the government has the right to any property that you buy in your name if you are not able to keep the budget above the red line. But they cant define exactly what YOU personally consider to be property. Like say, when it comes to intellectual property, at what point do you define that I own what part of my memory and designs schemas?