Thinking with a damaged brain

brain damageMy entire brain, the organ by which my very consciousness is controlled, was reorganized one day ten years ago. I went to sleep here and woke up there; the place looked the same but nothing in it worked the way it used to. I am also easily overloaded. I cannot read the menu or converse in a crowded, noisy restaurant. I get exhausted at Portland Trailblazers basketball games, with all the visual and aural imagery, all the manufactured commotion, so I stopped going nine years ago. My hands are scarred from burns and cuts that occurred when I tried to cook and converse at the same time. I cannot drive in traffic, especially in our standard transmission pickup truck. I cannot talk about, say, the fiction of Thomas Hardy while I drive; I need to be given directions in small doses rather than all at once, and need those directions to be given precisely at the time I must make the required turn. This is, as Richard Restak explains, because driving and talking about Hardy, or driving and processing information about where to turn, are handled by different parts of the brain and my brain’s parts have trouble working together.Poignant article written by Floyd Skloot, whose brain was attacked by a virus that left it filled with tiny perforations and scar tissue. I highly recommend V. S. Ramachandran’s book Phantoms in the Brain which Floyd refers to; it’s a fascinating discussion of brain damage, its effects, and how it is being studied to understand how undamaged brains work.Link to Gray Area article

2006.03.08