Next: Science is now so complex that we can no longer ask What? We can now only wonder Why?

This Blog used to be about the question: What is Science?
Now, it asks: What is Happiness?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Man Alive!

This is the the inside story of an extraordinary brain. The lighter parts on the right side of the MRI scan represent the damaged area of Christo Jooste's Left Parietal region, after an extensive ischemic infarction of the brain on the 28th October 2008.
This critically includes the Brocas Speech area, vital for speech and writing and also deeply affects the ability to move the right side of the body.

This is the start of the outside story of a remarkable journey, with western medicine, art and music, photography and compassion all playing pivotal roles in a Jota of Joy and Life.

21st December 2008
It's as though the old Christo is back in force, barely a week after the doctor and therapy boffins decided that he was 'not capable' of being therapized. Funny how we tend to tread so carefully around their hallowed opinions and mutter under our breath how they dictate the truth with big technical words and 15 minute assessments. I wonder if they even heard me trying to tell them that here was a man with an extraordinary brain and thus constituted an extraordinary opportunity for any practitioner in this field to have a really fascinating challenge. But nobody heard me, nobody bit.
Yesterday when we took Christo for a baseline checkup, his family physician was amazed to say the least! From an assessment of "It's the biggest stroke I have seen in 16 years of practice...the prognosis is not good at all",

to Christo playing chess ..
.. and doing the barbicue (braai) this evening,
...I can only only ascribe it to a good mixture of the right drugs, western medical technology and lots of love and empathy (and MUSIC!!!).
Today was a day of firsts - his first little nibble in the form of a tree berry from his garden.
His first letters put to paper (strange new language, but letters nevertheless)...
..his first walk around the block...
Understandably, at the end of all this he was was Ida.

But the best of the lot was that, while I was outside yogaring and Ida was inside helping Christo dress, he motioned her away and SAID....yes, SAID...."budgie....come!"

Bla, bla, bloggety bla, splishety, splosh, a whole lot of stuff happened and next thing we are all with wonder physio, Melanie Wessels (not an M T Wessel, this one!). Christo rediscovers blondes and the rest of us, the power of the committed specialist.


Have a ball!

Saline Hookah

...and finally, my advert for free stroke rehab support services and documentation.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

God smites then saves..

This is a real cool story. For days now I have been teasing Christo that, once he is up and running I am going to challenge him to a chess game. 5 days ago he was diagnosed as having such severe Apraxia (inability to translate ideas to actions, initiate co-ordinated motor actions and plan a sequence of motor responses) and Aphasia (unable to properly process sensory input). So, I naturally thought that the great chess challenge was still well in future dreamland. I told him that I was going to practice against myself in the meantime and to illustrate the point, I hauled out his chess table and introduced myself to myself by swapping sides. He looked at me, looked at the board and then arranged the King and Queen correctly, as I had reversed them (give me a break - it has been a while!) Then he pinted to me and to the board. SO I moved Kings pawn 2 to KP4...and the game was on!

That was 2 days ago. Today I bought him a glass chess set and in a blink we had renewed the challenge. Today, I was a lot closer to losing to him. If he had not slipped up with a vulnerable queen, I would have been the one biting the chess dust. But spotting the gap, I carefully closed in on his cornered king and with the humility of a man who has played a thousand or more chess game years, Christo conceded defeat. I am pushing for daily games because I know that it cannot be long before I lose my temporary advantage.

The latest image is at the top....Today Christo took the tiring 270km journey from Eugen Marais hospital to his home in Polokwane....tiring but it surely makes me recall the words of Neil Sack, who, with but a few months to live had the following to say - "Never has music sounded so sweet nor colours been so vivid. I have further come to the conclusion that my problem is people, not cancer, as I only experience discomfort when in the company of people I do not like."

Isn't nature wonderful! A 5 legged stick insect is insisting on climbing all over me attracted no doubt by the brilliance of my Laptop screen, here in the middle of the African night. What happened to its 6th leg, dog only knows but it had certainly recovered. And recovery is a hopeful but slow process for one Christo Jooste, my bru-in-law traditionale. If you want the whole storie check out my udder blog -