|So far, it all checks out
I heard an interesting exchange on a radio call-in program this week. It was between a news guy who wondered how concerned we should be by Joe Biden's history of brain surgeries, and a millennial caller who had never heard about those long-ago events and, consequently, didn't believe that Joe had ever had a medical emergency inside his skull.
She has no knowledge of that, you see, so it must not have happened. She has her truth - her truth, her whole truth, and nothing but her truth - and no patience at all for facts that deny her truth.
That whole generational thing aside, how many American voters know that once upon a time, way back in another century, in the days before the internet itself existed and we had nothing to do for info and entertainment except read books by the light of the evening campfire, Joe Biden nearly died when a vein burst in his brain?
Well, it did. And that's just the kind of thing that usually leads to cognitive impairments later, hence the reason for concern when Joe campaigns for the Presidential nomination today.
This week, Joe's brain surgeon vouched for his mental health, although in terms that could be seen as damning with faint praise, depending upon your opinion of Joe's pre-surgery brain. Read it here: Surgeon who operated on Biden: He's better now than before brain surgery.
Joe Biden almost died after suffering an aneurysm while serving in the Senate, but the surgeon who operated on his brain says that the incident shouldn't hold him back in his pursuit of the presidency.
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At the time of Biden’s brush with death in 1988, his wife, Jill Biden, feared that he would never be the same. In a forthcoming autobiography, “Where the Light Enters," Jill recounts Joe's doctor telling the family that there was a significant chance he’d have permanent neurological damage, particularly after he suffered a second aneurysm, a condition in which an artery becomes weak and bulges out.
"Our doctor told us there was a 50-50 chance Joe wouldn't survive surgery," she wrote. "He also said that it was even more likely that Joe would have permanent brain damage if he survived. And if any part of his brain would be adversely affected, it would be the area that governed speech."
Initially, Joe Biden suffered an aneurysm that burst and required him to undergo emergency surgery. He was so close to death that a priest was preparing to administer the Catholic sacrament of last rites. A few months later, surgeons clipped a second aneurysm before it burst, after discovering it during a routine screening.
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Not everyone is as fortunate after an aneurysm as Biden was: 30,000 people have aneurysms that rupture every year, and about 40 percent of those cases are fatal. Of those who survive, 66 percent have a neurological deficit.
Should voters be concerned about a candidate in his 70s who once needed to have part of his skull removed for his own good? Are those vocal Bidenisms on the campaign trail medical symptoms or just Joe's usual charming gaffs?