25 January 2011

Extreme Neurorehab ~ Shot Down, Now Back Up

Shot in the Head, but Getting Back on His Feet and on With His Life writes James McKinley Jr in the NYTimes about the extreme neurorehabilitation facing cranial gunshot wound victims...
"Few people understand what Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona faces as she begins her rehabilitation at the Memorial Hermann hospital complex in Houston, but Mark Steinhubl, a 20-year-old college student, is one of them. Two years ago, he suffered a similar ordeal as Ms. Giffords -- a bullet damaging half the brain, the deadly buildup of spinal fluid, the removal of a piece of his skull by surgeons to relieve pressure. He also went through the same program at the medical center’s rehab hospital -- TIRR Memorial Hermann -- that Ms. Giffords is expected to do. “She needs to realize that it won’t be instantaneous,” Mr. Steinhubl said in an interview. “She needs to set these small goals for herself.” [...] Days at the institute can be grueling for patients, Mr. Steinhubl said. Every morning patients are asked to write out their goals for that morning -- to stand a few more minutes, to tie their shoes, to dress themselves. Many of the fine-motor exercises seem simple, but they can be extremely difficult for someone with a brain injury."
The ongoing challenges and many obstacles are monumental. And yet this is also where the virtues of persistence and resilience manifest. And a crucial kind of unsung heroism. I wish much strength to Steinhubl and Giffords and their courageous peers as they fight for their future health and happiness.

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