Friday, May 25, 2018.
Dr W stopped in to see Mrs M today. Dr W and Dr B are good explainers. They give you the details without too much jargon with the intent of helping you understand what they’re doing and why instead of intending to impress you with their knowledge and expertise. I am impressed by their knowledge and expertise. It’s a question though whether I understand. But today Dr W explained the concepts of “regard and attention” and “neglect,” and I think I followed.
“Regard” is when I say hello and you focus on me and let me know by word, expression, or gesture that you are aware I’m there and recognize I said something although not necessarily what. “Attention” is just what it sounds like. You continue to focus and let me know not just that you’re hearing me but that you’re following what I’m saying or at least trying to. When Dr W came into Mrs M’s room and greeted her, he didn’t see any sign of attention or even regard.
But then he came around to the right side of the bed to examine her, she gave him more than regard and attention. She waved hello and answered his questions with thumbs ups. Dr W thinks that her lack of regard and attention when he approached her bedside from the left was due to “neglect.”
“Neglect” is the brain’s reaction to an injury on one side of the brain. Surgeons don’t like the word but surgery is injurious. As you know, the right side of your brain operates the left side of your body, and the left side of your brain is the in charge of the right. If you’re injured on the right side, the brain tends to focus on that side in order to concentrate on healing that side and forgets, that is, neglects, the left side, leaving it to fend for itself, which, without the brain giving it orders, it tends not to do. You can show someone whose brain is neglecting her left side her left hand, ask her, Whose hand is this? And she’ll say I don’t know. That’s Mrs M. Her last two surgeries were on the right side and the resulting edema is causing her to “neglect” left side. Dr W tried the Whose hand is this question and Mrs M looked at her hand with obvious indifference.
This is all fascinating. Well, as I’ve noted before. It would be fascinating, if it wasn’t my wife who was the subject of fascination.