Most of the news we hear about people with severe brain injuries (such as Terri Schiavo) is from a negative perspective: How long can we afford (emotionally, finanacially, and in terms of prioritizing the use of resources) to keep an unresponsive, totally dependent person alive? Would a person in such a state want to be kept alive? What does the term "quality of life" really mean, and should it be the determining factor in critical medical decisions? To whom to such decisions belong—the person (through a "living will"), the family, the doctors, the government?
Organizations that focus on the possibility of recovery from severe brain injuries through coma arousal efforts and other stimulation programs, such as the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential and the Family Hope Center, are derisively labelled as "alternative medicine" if not as outright quackery. In light of recent discoveries, however, perhaps it's time to rethink our attitude.After 19 years in a "minimally conscious state" after an accident, Terry Wallis is making significant progress towards recovery, with proven evidence of brain healing and regrowth. Now that there is clear evidence that healing of brain injuries is possible, there is no excuse for reflexively dismissing the work of those who have been saying so for years. If Terry's brain could heal itself, slowly, with minimal outside stimulation, it is inexcusable not to consider the possibility of speeding up the process.
When we lived in Rochester, New York, we had one car and could go for days without using it. We rode our bicycles to work; we walked to the grocery store, the bank, the post office, the doctor, and to church. Rochester's public transportation was (and probably still is) minimal, but its buses did get us downtown, and to the dentist, and a few other places we wanted to go.I don't claim any particular righteousness for these ecologically sound actions, as much of my motivation came from the driving phobia I had at the time (that's another story); what matters is that they were possible, even convenient. (More)
Several months ago, our local newspaper (or perhaps it was Parade Magazine; I don't recall) asked readers for their one-sentence suggestions for promoting positive change. I did not formulate my response soon enough to enter the contest, but knew almost immediately that it would be in the form, not of one sentence, but of one word: RETHINK. (More)