The Brain Basics
| Autumn was safely in the recovery room, so the neurosurgeon took this time to talk to her anxious family and friends. the group had been praying together, but when Jamison saw the surgeon enter, he jumped out of his chair.
"So what happened?" He tried to convince himself that the grim look on her face was just typical doctor "procedure." It didn't work, and he immediately knew something was terribly wrong. Jason and Sariah seemed to sense the boy's distress, so they moved to stand next to him.
"We were able to successfully remove all of the brain tumor, but in doing that, we removed some of the--"
"What?" Lance exclaimed.
"Ain't that girl been through enough?" Jenni muttered in disgust.
"We removed parts of the language centers, which are generally thought to be left side lateralized. Because the tumor was in the frontal and temporal lobes of the left hemisphere of the cerebral cortex--"
"Speak English, doc!" Jenni said in exasperation, but the doctor didn't seem to hear her.
"...so portions of both Broca's area and Wernicke's area were damaged."
"What is that supposed to mean?"Jamison asked, clearly frustrated. The three nurses just looked at each other and shook their heads. Why did the neurosurgeon have to get all technical. While the nurses had an understanding of what he was talking about, they knew that wasn't what the family and friends wanted to hear. They just wanted to know that she was all right. They didn't care about the neurological terms.
"Therefore," the doctor continued, unimpeded by Jamison's question, "This will result in a combination of forms of aphasia. there can be problems with agraphia, agramatism and alexia. Depending on the exact location, we could see some apraxias or agnosias. It will be impossible to determine the extent until neuropsychological evaluations are conducted."
"Enough!" Jamison and Jenni exclaimed in unison.
"this makes no sense...just tell us what's going on in real language." the doctor's superior attitude changed to condescension.
"She will have difficulty with language," he said slowly, "and there isn't any way to know until tests are done." Abbie, Josiah and Sariah were able to tell that the others were on the verge of verbally exploding. Sariah, the charge nurse, quickly dismissed the surgeon, who was only too glad to leave this bunch of laymen.
"What in blazes was that all about?" Jamison asked.
"I hate it when they gotta show me their smarts," Jenni complained, "maybe that doctor has brain damage!"
"I worked on a neuro floor in the beginning of my medical career, so I can explain the stuff in a way that will be relevant and understandable," Josiah said.
"An aphasia is a problem with language--reading, writing, speaking and comprehending language. A combination of these things can be present."
"What was all the graph paper, graham cracker and Alexis stuff?" Jamison asked. The room erupted in reserved laughter, which quieted as Josiah began to explain.
"the "graham cracker" thing you spoke of is called agramatism, and it means there is a lack of comprehending and employing proper syntax--that is, grammatical rules are no longer present. the "graph paper" is agraphia, and that means the person will have trouble with writing. Finally, the deal with "Alexis" is alexia, and that's a problem with reading. Your introduction to brain basics is good, since it's something we're all going to have to understand in order to help her. However, that was a horrible way for the doctor to explain it to you."
"It's like he needed to let us know that he's more intelligent than we are because we don't have our medical licenses and an understanding of all that stuff--the brain lingo, that is," It was the first time Jason had spoken since the doctor's arrival.
"Don't worry about someone like that. Her neurologist can take over from here, and we know she will treat us with more respect," Sariah said.
"It's like he depersonalized Autumn with technical terms like that, and I won't have it!" Jason continued.
"I agree...she is not a medical journal or something. She's a person, and those big words won't change her...or the difficult job ahead of us..." Jamison's voice trailed off as he left the room to join Autumn in recovery. He was determined to make sure she was not going to be surrounded by all those impersonal things. The doctor might label her with fourteen syllables, but that didn't change who she was, nor did it change Jamison's commitment to her.
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