Israeli brain scientists are working on turning sound into ‘sight,’ and other innovations that activate the visual cortex.
Posts Tagged ‘disabilities’
Joining with others in the 7 Quick Takes Friday round-up hosted by Conversion Diary:
1. In a quest to discover the heritage I was was not taught in public school or college, I have been reading lots of old books, with an emphasis on classics. I am currently reading The Three Musketeers. I have decidedly mixed feelings so far about The Three Musketeers. My copy does not say when it was translated, or by who, but I am beginning to wonder if some marriage-despising, atheist, Catholic-hating, fashion-obsessed, violence-loving, bloodthirsty, intoxication-prone hippy had a hand in it somewhere. But it’s early days yet.
2. I recently ran across an old book (c. 1955) called The Answer Is God, by Elise Miller Davis, which I picked up because the cover painting looked rather a lot like Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. There was a reason for that, it turns out, because it is a spiritually-centered dual biography of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. I had no idea that they had to fight sponsors to include religious songs in their programs, or that Dale Evans wrote a book about their daughter with Down Syndrome (which wasn’t called that in those days). Upon doing some research, I find that Angel Unaware was hugely influential in ending the practice of sending nearly all Down Syndrome babies into institutions. Who knew? The King of the Cowboys and The Queen of the West, I am finding out, were in some ways bigger heroes off screen than on. Who knew?
3. The other day, my husband met a charming and spunky old lady, born in the early 1920s, who gave him this advice about living to an old age: Study. Read. Read the Bible. It’s good to learn something every day. Actually, it’s better to learn more than one thing every day. Get away from the boob tube. (Her words, not mine. If you don’t know the regionalism, “boob tube” means television.) That pretty much covered it.
4. The other day, a young college graduate, flush with his first money earned from selling things on eBay, was bragging on buying a new computer and new tires for his car. He expressed surprise that my husband, who had helped to teach him how to sell things on eBay, didn’t seem to be rolling in cash. So my husband asked him how much he spent in rent every month. None, the young man replied. My husband asked how much he spent on groceries every month. None, the young man replied, starting to get the picture. “So, when my Dad was suggesting the other day that it was about time I moved out of the house…” he mused, quite out loud. Shortly thereafter, he excused himself and headed home. We’re laying bets that he’ll volunteer to pay rent or help buy groceries. He’s that sort of kid. We’re laying additional bets that his dad will prevail upon him to move out before too long. He’s that sort of Dad.
5. Weather and health having conspired against me before this, I managed to mow the lawn today, for something like the third time this year. It having been so long since the last mowing, and the rains having been bountiful, the procedure reminded me of haying. Probably tomorrow, if it isn’t raining, I’ll have to take a rake and take care of the clippings, because they’re thick enough to kill grass beneath. I felt sorry, just a bit, for the bees. There was a splendid crop of dandelions, and they were making use of them.
6. Our pastor, who has a wonderful voice for chanting and singing, is on vacation. His wife, who plays piano for us, is, quite naturally, with him. Last Sunday, when several others were also missing for one reason or another, our church found itself with no one who could play piano, and no one who can sing respectably without instrumental help. I suspect we would have driven talent scouts to bunkers, but I like to think that God cares more what’s in our hearts. I hope so. Be that as it may, if anyone local reads this and knows of good singers or pianists who are in search of a spiritual home, please call me. We use a hymnal with some of the best hymns and canticles from the last several centuries, if that matters.
7. I have lost something just over twenty pounds in the past few months. That’s the good news. The bad news is that I have developed an odd fascination with the heft of things, which hits at sometimes very odd moments. The other day, for instance, I had to fight off an urge to pick up two ten-pound bags of potatoes at the grocery store, just so I could stand there marveling at how much weight I’d lost. Uhm. Not good. I am probably thought to be somewhat eccentric anyway, but standing around in public holding big bags of spuds with a smile on my face would have been over the top, even for me.
Update: Minor corrections were made May 9, 2009.
Our friend who was in a coma a couple/three months ago, with his parents standing between him and medical experts who thought it would be best to “pull the plug”, moved home earlier this month. The last we’d heard before yesterday was that two of the biggest problems his parents were having were, one, that he was upset they wouldn’t let him go play basketball with his buddies, and, two, he was freaking people out by asking if they wanted to feel the part of his face that was damaged in the motor vehicle accident. (gruesomeness alert) What I’m told is that the accident demolished one of his eye sockets, leaving him with his eye tethered to his head but not at all where it should be (specifically, I was told, at second hand, that it was lying on the road). The eye got put back in, and the ridge of bone under his eye got put back together somehow, and I’m told the plastic surgeons did an amazing job. (/gruesomeness alert)
I still haven’t seen “J” yet, but his family tells us via phone that if you didn’t know what had happened, you’d never guess there had been any damage to his face. Amazing. But I guess J is fascinated by the fact you can’t see evidence of what happened to him, and so he was going up to people and asking ‘Do you want to feel my face where it was messed up?’ This reportedly wasn’t going over too well, especially with people who saw him before the surgical repairs. His eyesight, miraculously enough, has come back nicely and might come back completely. Simply amazing.
Yesterday, my husband talked to J’s dad. J isn’t up to full speed and finesse, but he said he’d like to go back to work, and a doctor has cleared him for working part time, and a mill where he used to work has agreed to take him on, providing him with a ‘watcher’ at first, until they’re sure he’s nimble enough and steady enough to be safe around conveyor belts and machinery. If he can’t handle his old job, they said they’d try to work him in somewhere else.
Please pardon me while I go cry some more tears of joy.
A few weeks ago we heard that a young man we know was in a horrible road accident and although he was still alive, in a hospital a few hours from here, there was no hope of him surviving. A while after that, we heard that he’d survived but was in a coma and the doctors were saying he’d never wake up. They were, we heard, urging the family to “pull the plug” as they charmingly put it, but the family is a God-fearing one, and they weren’t having any of that.
Then we heard that J. was fluttering his eyes and showing other signs of nearly coming to, and the doctors were saying that it was too late to pull the plug now, but that there was still no hope.
Then we heard that J. had come awake, but didn’t recognize anyone and didn’t understand a bit of what was going on around him, and was totally paralyzed to boot. The doctors were saying, or so we were told, that there was no hope of him becoming coherent, and that he’d be paraplegic for life.
So, when I ran into J.’s father at the post office a couple of days ago, I braced myself before I walked up to see how things were going and to offer my condolences and see if there was anything my husband or I could do besides pray, which of course we’d been doing, along with untold numbers of others.
The father grinned. He told me that J. had come fully awake, recognizes everyone, and has progressed to using a walker. His short term memory isn’t so hot, but he’s aware and functioning and seems to be improving all the time.
The father stopped in his narrative and shook his head. “A month ago… a month ago…” He paused and took another run at it. “A month ago they were saying there was no hope…”