At the beginning of the week, I completed a day of neuropsychological testing. No, nothing as classic as ink blots nor as racy as electrodes. Instead, the tests were about memory, language, and similar functions. A quick look at Wikipedia revealed that I completed these tests:
Wisconsin Card Sorting Test
Trail Making Test,
Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure Test,
Boston Naming Test,
and many more.
The tests were for information gathering, to measure my abilities now. They will not allow a doctor to narrow down why my PCS lingers, to press a button or give me a drug and ~viola~ I am fixed. No, that is not possible. I said yes to the tests because the opportunity was offered, and because I love tests designed to measure mental functioning and ability, and so I can learn where I am in relation to others, now. I won’t learn the test results until the end of January – apparently they need to be filtered through my concussion doctor instead of being sent to me directly.
At this point in my recovery, I “pass” regularly. People who do not know that I have a brain injury generally do not realize I am not at 100%. They take my longer response times, my general forgetfulness and any fumbling for words as within normal human behavior parameters. Once upon a time, I was not average. I was never average. And now I am grateful to pass as average, as just another person in the stratosphere.
The books I have read about mTBI warn of the Golden Halo Effect. Humans tend to cast a golden halo over their pre-injury life, remembering the time before as perfect and their performance as always top notch. So, now, post-injury, I remind myself that my brain did not perform perfectly before. It is easy to get in the habit of thinking something is broken if it is not 100%. I was human. I am human. Some information is lost, naturally.
I have no data to compare pre- and post-injury performance. Regardless of the final test results, a chunk of me will always believe that I would have done better before my injury. Even for those skills that have already healed and are functioning normally, deep in my gut I will believe that I would have done better a year ago. I suppose the golden halo of perfection has settled around my vision of my past. I will never know when, or if, I heal completely.