Archives for the Month of October, 2011

No Weapons of Mass Destruction

Brain 1523 / Wellcome Images

Brain 1523 / Wellcome Images

My brain surgeon emailed me: “I saw your films. They look fine, although I think you’ve aged a bit. No evidence of vascular malformation. No evidence of life on Mars. No evidence of WMD.”

 

Battle of Bureaucracy

War of Bureaucracy / Wellcome Images

War of Bureaucracy / Wellcome Images

After 5 calls, a certified letter, an email, faxes, a talk with a supervisor and several talks with a manager, my health care company admitted that they made a mistake and will reprocess everything. In the war of health care bureaucracy, I win this battle. Don’t mess with me.

Active

Voyage à la Lune / Library of Congress

Voyage à la Lune / Library of Congress

There are all kinds of athletic equipment for the disabled. At my rehab hospital, they had bikes that didn’t need arms to steer. They were recumbent bikes, where you just wiggled your hips to steer, right or left, like a disco dancer. There was a dock where patients could check out modified boats and paddle up and down the river. Paralyzed? You can still windsurf.

Monsieur Leborgne

Brain 1878 / Wellcome Images

Brain 1878 / Wellcome Images


One famous brain in neuroscience is that of Monsieur Leborgne. In 1861 he had a stroke that caused him to lose speech but not other skills. When he died, an autopsy revealed a distinct lesion in his brain’s left hemisphere. This showed that different brain areas affected different functions: speech in one area, motor skills somewhere else.  Until then, many thought the brain was an orb that did everything at once.

Monsieur Leborgne’s brain is on display in the Musée Dupuytren in Paris.

More on localization…

Gifts

Rhinoceros / Wellcome Images

Rhinoceros / Wellcome Images

When I was in the hospital, my friends decided I was not a teddy bear type.  Therefore I received a stuffed animal kangaroo, flamingo, ostrich, three-foot-long rhinoceros and iridescent iguanas #1 and #2 (the first one mysteriously disappeared, so another was provided). I don’t know why our society gives adults stuffed animals when they’re nearly dead. But they were appreciated nonetheless.

Field Trip

Panda / Library of Congress

Panda / Library of Congress

At the rehab hospital, on Wednesday afternoons, some neuro patients had a field trip.  We went on the subway and practiced riding up and down escalators.  We went to a shopping mall and practiced ordering ice cream and counting change. We went to the airport to learn about how disabled people travel. We went to the zoo to see the pandas.

Crawl

Front Crawl / Library of Congress

Front Crawl / Library of Congress

At the gym, I invented an exercise. Lying face down on a gym bench, I practice moving my arms in wide circles, like freestyle swimming. When I started, I couldn’t lift my stroke arm up behind my body. Now it goes all the way around.

Swim

Swim / Library of Congress

Swim / Library of Congress

I used to swim a lot, but after my stroke, coldish water freaks out my right arm. In the water, it wants to bend inward, as if my body needs protecting.

At my first rehab facility, they had a hot pool, and I was eager to try it. Until one therapist told me about all the incontinent patients who used the pool. Skip.