Left Neglected

I saw my special eye doctor a few months ago and was able to get new glasses recently. My distance prescription stayed the same but my reading prescription was changed a bit. I haven’t been reading for quite a while, so I was hoping the new glasses would change that. I am happy to report some success. The first book I selected was one I happened upon in a community library box while on a walk. It’s called Left Neglected, written by neuroscientist Lisa Genova, who also wrote Still Alice which was turned into a movie a few years back. It starred Julianne Moore as a woman dealing with early Alzheimer’s and/or Dementia. This book is a novel about a woman who has a traumatic brain injury that leaves her with the condition Left Neglect in which the brain forgets that “left” exists at all. There simply IS NO LEFT to that person. While I am missing my vision on the left side in both eyes, I am very aware of my predicament and have no problem paying attention to my left hand or foot. I am almost halfway through the book; the woman is in rehab trying to teach her brain that left does indeed exist. The author spent hours with patients and neurologists and therapists to understand how someone with this condition would experience the world and I think she’s done a great job of capturing so many things that I can relate to. I also think that she has written a main character who is very much like me in terms of sense of humor. I find myself laughing a lot because of things that I would totally think or say coming out of her character. For instance, at one point her she gets annoyed with the advice someone is giving her and she asks the person to go stand by the window, which is on the left where the person will essentially disappear. 🙂 At another point, the therapist comes into the room and asks the main character to tell her what time is it by looking at the clock. This is the exchange:

-Can you tell me what time it is?

-Eleven o’clock

-And how do you know that?

-Because you just told me I’m your eleven o’clock

Yup. This is exactly something I would say and do. In fact, I believe right after surgery, my doctor told me to look at his nose and my reply was, “I can’t, you’re wearing a mask”.

I have often thought of writing more than this blog, but I know my brain has limitations. I did go back and read some of my old stuff and I definitely make myself laugh with things I had totally forgotten I had written. Perhaps one day. In the mean time I am thoroughly enjoying Left Neglected and highly recommend it if you want to try to understand what it’s like inside a damaged brain in narrative rather than science speak. Now I’ve got Beyonce in my head…to the left, to the left…


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