Thursday, November 05, 2009

When the birds fly south

The migration of birds is as fascinating as what happens to Jan after a seizure. I am always amazed at the precision of the bird's flight plans. They know when to start the trip, where the food stops are, where they can catch the best tail winds, where they are headed and most importantly, when and how to get back home. The same goes for butterflies and I don't know how many other animals that year after year do the same trip, never getting lost. The migration chip and all the navigational equipment necessary is in place to do what they are programmed to do.

I observe the same meticulous precision in the workings of Jan's brain. Even with an injury, her brain maintains the same navigational tools that guide her all the way back from the land of Oz where she is tossed by a seizure, to the state we call "normal". Like Dorothy, Jan is overpowered by a force stronger than herself, which seizes her and throws her far, far away from what is familiar and clear, to a place of haze where her body stops following her commands and her words, well, say whatever they want, but not exactly what Jan means.

But the trip to Oz is more frightening than fascinating. Everything that should be under control, suddenly is out of control: movement, balance, self-control, speech, consciousness. What amazes me always is the sequence in which her functions reboot. first the consciousness, then the speech, then the strength, then the balance. Precise, like the flight of the birds migrating to the south in late Fall. In a few days, she is back to where she left. Her progress is more like three steps forward and one step back.

Her brain works hard all the time, looking for new paths, looking for the right words to express her thoughts, she didn't really loose the words, what the aneurysm did was to toss all her neatly organized lexicon all over, so when she is looking for a particular word, the task for her is like trying to find the one card in a mountain of disorganized cards, each with one word.

I don't know how her brain actually traces new paths all the time. But I see clearly how it works around and above the damage to bring Jan back in touch with her world. Thank God he created her brain in such a way that it is rebuilding itself.


No comments: