I am very excited to be posting my first blog for my first book, Doc, I Want My Brain Back. Unlike Dante’s warning to “abandon all hope” inscribed over the gates of hell, I wish for all who enter this site to find hope and inspiration, especially for medical conditions that have been determined to be incurable. I am humbled and filled with gratitude that my story found its way onto the Veria network show The Incurables in 2011, hosted by the musician Jewel.
The title from my book came from the actual words I mumbled to Dr. Paul G. Harch, the pioneer for hyperbaric oxygen therapy for brain injury repair, when I stumbled into his New Orleans’ facility in the summer of 1991. After I was misdiagnosed by over thirty health professionals, institutionalized, and even jailed, and when I was at the end of all help and hope, my immediate family still believed that this doctor held the key to my recovery, and he did! Now, twenty-two years later, Dr. Harch continues the oxygen revolution in brain injury repair, offering hope to many people from all over the world. If you or any loved one or acquaintance has ever experienced a brain injury, or any hopeless health situation for that matter, this is the blog site for you, especially if you are looking for hope. My deepest wish is that this blog site will provide guidance, hope, and inspiration for so many souls who suffer from brain injury and/or posttraumatic stress disorder or any other hopeless medical condition.
Virginia Beach Speech
First, I would like to thank God for answering my prayers twenty-two years ago. Next, I would like to thank Dr. Harch for giving me back my brain. I would like to give a very special thanks to Mercy Medical Airlift and Ed Boyer for allowing me to tell you the story of one of Dr. Harch’s first hyperbaric miracles.
On August the 1st 1991, I found myself wearing a prison uniform in a jail cell. I stared in disbelief at the commitment papers that had been handed to me by the mental hospital where I had checked myself in for help. I had been transported in handcuffs and now stumbled back and forth in solitary confinement, mumbling in slurred speech, “God help me…God help me.” I was past the accepted time limits for successful treatment. Did I even have decompression sickness? Everything had gone wrong following a scuba diving accident at Lake Powell two months earlier, yet all 35 doctors, yes 35 medical professionals, I would see could not confirm that diagnosis, not even the neurologist to whom I had been referred by the Diver’s Alert Network. The MRIs and CAT scans showed nothing wrong; consequently, the final and most damning diagnosis was severe mental illness requiring institutionalization. Now I truly doubted my sanity.
Transported in handcuffs in a bus full of prisoners to the worst hell I would ever experience…a mental hospital where I was drugged beyond comprehension…a particularly difficult place to be as I had just recently achieved year three of sobriety. I was told by a psychiatrist that I had just made up these symptoms, including balance problems, depression, suicidal thoughts, slurred speech, memory loss, and inability to play the piano. The day my mother checked me out, I was plotting my suicide, because I had no hope nor did I wish to live in a drug-induced zombie-like existence. I told her, “Mom, they say I can teach…” funny they told me one thing, but the psychiatrist warned her about taking me to Dr. Harch, saying, Mrs. Greathouse, your son will never be well.”
My Father, Mother, and Brother never gave up on me, particularly my Father who believed that because we had put a man on the moon, something could be done to help his son.
My first words to Dr. Harch were, “Doc, I want my brain back.” He performed medical assessments, including SPECT brain imaging of the damage. Dr. Harch started the therapy, and the hyperbaric miracle began. One night my balance suddenly returned. Another afternoon, while in the chamber, I began singing loudly as the music and rhythm returned. I continued to improve in all areas with further treatments. I returned to my teaching job. I completed my master’s degree and became a professional educational diagnostician. I served as president of the New Mexico Council for Educational Diagnostic Services. I have presented at educational conferences in the United States, The United Kingdom, and Poland. I currently perform in four bands and have been sober for 25 years. I have a master’s certificate in brain injury from George Washington University. I have published numerous educational research articles, and my book, Doc, I Want My Brain Back containing the detailed story of my successful treatment through the medical genius of Dr. Harch will be released this November.
God has revealed to me that my life’s purpose is to be the patient who helped to usher in the era of the oxygen revolution—the only brain injury repair the world has ever seen. I join forces with you to hold high the light of hope through Dr. Harch’s hyperbaric miracle for all to see that there is something to repair people, especially our veterans with TBI and PTSI.