At this stage we all know that there is a super computer in your head that has a speed of light connection with your ‘whole’ body. It controls your breathing (now you’ve noticed it, aren’t you glad your subconscious is handling it!), your heart, cells, neurons, neuroglia, thoughts, sleep, feelings, emotions, let you know if you’ve cut your hand or if you’re going to make that catch.
Learning to ride a bike, fly a kite, tap on your phone, play football, read a book, get merry with your mates or fall hopefully in love. You’re creativity, brilliance, the way you think about things, your view on the world, your innovation, that unique contribution only you can make all come from that ball of grey wonder in your skull.
If your computer gets a virus, knocked about, injured or gets scarred for some freaky weird reason, you can’t get a ‘patch’, update it or replace the hardware. This one is the only version you’re going to get until the promises of Star Trek make their way to our present world. When things go wrong with your super computer, it’s hard to try to figure things out. Brain injury or neurological conditions not only literally mess with your head (MRI scans are ugly/beautiful sight in my house) your whole sense of self is thrown off balance. Metaphorically, people are thrown off their bikes into a ditch.
So there you are in the ditch and looking for someone to help you out or at least to tell you where you’re at and what’s going on and how to carry on. The Neurological Alliance of Ireland (NAI) represents different people/groups that have helped many of us with neurological conditions of different types (700,000 people in Ireland) out of the ditch. Mags Rogers and Sinead Gleeson from the NAI have stood alongside people with neurological conditions as we’ve dusted ourselves off and attempted to return to life and get back to health. They recognise the importance of services, the vitality of life and the quest to challenge the dismissive attitudes to brain health. This Government still hasn’t funded the Strategy…
Pinky and the Brain
Shutting down dissent
In the last few weeks the NAI have had their core-funding cut and are due to close soon if the decision is not reversed. In February 2013 I spoke to an audience of government TDs, Senators and representatives in Government Buildings how my life was restored with the support of MS Ireland, an NAI member group. We shared experiences and I thought I’d had some effect.
I’m not going anywhere and this chronic brain condition I’m living with isn’t going to be cured. Radical idea: how about we make the blather about Ireland being great for business, Irish people being great trailblazers and innovators, writers, messages being shouted from the rooftops, valid for everyone, with or without a neurological condition. The one thing we have in common is that lovely brain in our head. During this Year of the Brain, I’m celebrating and supporting the efforts of the NAI and others like them by campaigning to get their funding renewed.
The much lauded but not implemented Neurorehabilitation Strategy 2011-2015
An evasive answer to Deputy Nicky McFadden’s questions on the Neurorehabilitaion Strategy (2011-2015) March 2013 from the Minister for Health.
Disclosure: I worked with the NAI on their Manifesto and other campaigns in 2013
© Emma Rogan 2014