Friday, March 13, 2015

A Very Smart Vegetable

I find this situation funny. PVS is a serious disorder. To say I'm not aware of my surroundings takes away from that.  "I really don't think there ever was PVS" I appeared PVS, though. "A persistent vegetative state is a disorder of consciousness in which patients with severe brain damage are in a state of partial arousal rather than true awareness." I was not conscious as perceived by the diagnosing physician.The diagnosis was true then, but not permanent. I was not misdiagnosed. There wasn't human error.

"What, neurologically, makes a savant?What happens is that there is an injury to one part of the brain—most often the left hemisphere. And there is what I called a recruitment of still-intact brain tissue elsewhere. The brain seeks to correct the imbalance and will find an undamaged area, most often in the right hemisphere. There is then rewiring to that new area, and then there is the release of dormant potential, which can be at sometimes an astronomical level. So it's the three R's: recruitment of still-intact tissue, rewiring, and the release of whatever capacity is there."

When I woke from a coma, getting skills was slow. I eventually used my left arm to propel a manual wheel chair. By this time, I had been deemed PVS. Time constraints make the status permanent. "This diagnosis is classified as a permanent vegetative state (PVS) some months after a non-traumatic brain injury (3 months in the US)."
Now, me using that left arm means I still had right hemisphere. Of note, I am using my left index finger to type this.

The right side of the brain controls muscles on the left side of the body and the left side of the brain controls muscles on the right side of the body

My primary diagnosis says I am not conscious. Anything added thereafter would still be not conscious. If something like Savant Syndrome is added now, I am still unconscious and become a very smart vegetable.

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