Comments on life, the universe and everything from an aging Sixties survivor.

Location: Massachusetts, United States

Ummm, isn't "about me" part of the point of the blog?

Monday, January 23, 2012

A small profile in courage

Let us offer a bow to Gabrielle Giffords, who has had the courage to resign from Congress to concentrate on her rehabilitation in the face of a year of media marshmallow fluff. Let us also give her a pass for holding onto a resolve to return to Congress. It will keep her going.

The odds are that she won't. I don't see the long-term effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI) as closely as my daughter, who as a clinician deals with it daily. I just push the paperwork. My kid said once that the hardest part of her job was sitting down with families and explaining that their loved one would very likely never be the same person again. You have to deal with TBI to see past the hype, to understand the odds. A high-calibre bullet in the left hemisphere is a grave injury; today it takes exceptional surgical skills to save the victim of such a wound. Giffords' rehab has done wonders as well, to give her the skills she already has. One must keep trying, of course, but if this is all there is for her, it's far ahead of what many TBI patients can achieve. For me, the party of her successor is secondary just now.

This week we're presented with the full spectrum of TBI expectations. Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke has died of her brain injuries. Giffords has achieved an impressive range of skills, including the wisdom to resign from Congress. American competitive snowboarder Kevin Pearce is back on his snowboard.
That's what you can expect. It depends on a host of variables, not the puffery of broadcast journalists.

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Blogger massmarrier said...

She was solid and still rational, remarkable enough for her head trauma. In stepping back, she showed a kind of honor as well so often missing. I think of demented shells like Strom Thurmond. There there conceit was that even unable to understand the duties or bills, or make reasoned decisions, just being there with seniority was enough. In contrast, she shows some wit as well as respect for her constituents.

12:16 pm  
Blogger Uncle said...

It's reasonable to expect that she won't get any worse, as long as she follows her rehab and doesn't overload the damaged circuitry. TBI--and even more dementia--plus ego is a nasty combination, as Sen. Thurmond so vividly showed.

2:09 pm  

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