Monday, January 10, 2011
The shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the crapshoot of brain damage
When I first heard Rep. Gabrielle Giffords had been shot in the head, I was shocked and saddened. How could this have happened? Why? Whywhywhy? Next thought: I wonder what kind of brain damage she'll have. I hope it's not too devastating.
As of today, she remains in intensive care, unable to speak but responding to doctors' inquiries by moving her fingers.
Exactly where the bullet zoomed through her brain could mean the difference between whether Giffords will be able to walk and talk again. It will make all the difference in her cognition, her ability to use her hands and fingers, her ability to eat and even sleep.
Brain damage is a crapshoot.
I know something about brain damage because of Max's stroke. Crapshoot: Max had a bilateral kind, so both sides of his brain were affected. Crapshoot: His brainstem, which is critical for functions like breathing and movement, was spared. Crapshoot: So were his basal ganglia, also vital for moving as well as learning.
Crapshoot: That my child had a stroke. That Giffords was shot. That six people died that day, including Christina Taylor Green, the nine-year-old who'd gone to the meet-and-greet because she was interested in politics.
I've been thinking about what the future holds for Giffords. And I'm desperately hoping luck lends a hand.