The brain has always fascinated me, since my first psychology class in high school. How do we learn? How do we remember? How do we make choices? What’s the difference between mind and brain?
The brain is a complex structure with numerous hidden components still waiting to be discovered. Imaging technology has opened many doors into the workings of the brain, but not all doors yet.
Here is some of what I’ve learned:
- For the most part, the left side of the brain holds much of the language center, both receptive (what we know/understand/hear) and expressive (what we express/say).
- Our brains can compensate for damage on the left side by transferring some language tasks to the right side.
- When there is damage through trauma, stroke, tumor, etc. on the left side of the brain, it affects the right side of the body.
- Thankful for the plasticity of the brain. We can teach an old dog new tricks!
- For those who have suffered a stroke, tumor, or debilitating brain trauma, when expressive language is compromised, assume that the person is still hearing and understanding.
- No two brain insults/injuries are the same. Characteristics vary extensively. So do not provide ‘cookie-cutter’ responses.
- It is a long and difficult road caring for a person who has a brain tumor, brain injury, stroke, or other insults on the brain. Recovery is ongoing. Never give up hope!
No one can possibly understand the all-encompassing aspect of this situation unless you walk within the shoes of those affected. It is life-altering, to say the least. Even the tiniest glimmers of movement, such as lifting or bending a finger or twitching the mouth can be rewarding positive milestones of hope. What the rest of us take for granted on a daily basis, is a huge accomplishment to think about and act upon with those who have compromised brain function. Patience and flexibility truly are virtues we all need to experience in this particular situation. Always maintain hope.
Hope is what drives you forward in times of need.
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