3 LBS is a new CBS drama that focuses on a superstar neurosurgeon who sees his patients as mechanical vehicles driven by brains that are nothing more than 3 lbs of "wires in a box" and has a bedside manner to match, and his new apprentice who, in addition to being an outstanding neurosurgeon in his own right, sees and warmly treats his patients much more holistically.
In last Tuesday's episode (it's on opposite Fox's "House," and several critics have lambasted it for being an insipidly unoriginal amalgam of "House" and Grey's Anatomy"), a woman with no history of epilepsy begins convulsing from a grand mal seizure in the middle of a store and is subsequently diagnosed as having a tumor on the left side of her brain. Her doctors don't want to operate because if they do, the woman will lose her language ability. They want to zap the tumor with radiation instead to minimize damage to her language faculties, but she refuses because she's pregnant and doesn't want to irradiate and destroy the fetus. When her doctors discover that she has uncommonly strong language capability in the right side of her brain, they offer to do the surgery. They tell her that she'll never be able to speak afterward but might well be able to process language to some degree in her right brain to make up for what she loses from the surgery to her left brain, and that if she doesn't have the surgery, she'll surely die.
I've long worried that I might be struck someday by an injury or disease that severely damages my left brain, permanently depriving me of my modestly superior language ability, and leaves only the grossly inferior non-verbal abilities of my defective right brain in its wake. If this were to happen, I would surely want to die, for what would I have left to live for? I would be of absolutely no use to myself or to anyone else. I would be little more than a mute or incoherently babbling idiot.
I pray that this fate never befalls me or that, if it does, I will have the strength and means to do what needs to be done. But, more importantly, I pray for the willpower to do my best with the abilities that I have for as long as I have them.
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