Have a Story to Tell? Had a medical error?

This blog is about patient safety, medical malpractice, staying healthy, and preventing future errors. Help & empower someone else, Teach a lesson, Bear witness, Build our community - Email us or call 781-444-5525.

Frustrated with a health problem?

Need an ally in your health crisis? Call 781-444-5525, or learn more.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Like a genie liberated from a bottle: A stroke of luck

Here is an excerpt from an interview of Jill Taylor by Mark Matousek:

In her best-selling memoir, My Stroke of Insight, Harvard-trained brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor, age 49, tells of the rare form of stroke she suffered in 1996. It shut down the left hemisphere of her brain, where language, logic and linear thought are based. For months she was unable to walk, talk, read, write, or recall the events of her life. Remarkably, this shut-down, and the silencing of mental chatter, left her in a state of bliss. After eight grueling years of rehab, she regained full brain function, yet could still access, at will, what she describes as a state of complete peace and well-being.

Q. Can a person tap into this bliss without suffering a stroke?
A. Absolutely! When you're really paying attention to the richness of the present moment, that's right-minded awareness. The left hemisphere is preoccupied with past and future, projecting fears, contemplating ideas that aren't relevant to the here and now. Once you realize you have these two different brains, you can learn to choose, moment by moment, how you want to live. Of course, you do need the push as well as the pause to function properly.

Q. The "push as well as the pause"?
A. I use the tools of the left hemisphere to push into the world, but as soon as it becomes stressful, I can feel that in my body, and I switch to the right hemisphere to pause. I may prefer the pause because it feels better. I'm more joyful, cooperative. People like me better. As I recovered my skills, I consciously chose not to let that left-brain circuitry dominate again. Stress is a frame of mind. If I'm in traffic and there's no solution in sight, I relax and enjoy the few moments I have. Standing in line at the store, I observe rather than engage. You can say, 'If I pull the plug on this circuit, I don't have to think [stressful] thoughts anymore.'

I feel like a genie liberated from a bottle.

Indeed, the long-haired blond medical school professor looks the part of a genie….

Advice: Prof. Taylor has used her disease to cultivate a higher form of consciousness. She teaches others about this in her courses, and by writing a book. That makes her a patient safety hero. Learn from her example.

Read another stroke survivor’s story.

Thanks to Mark Matousek for the source story in the November/December 2008 issue of AARP magazine.

No comments: