Chasing the Neuro-Highway Dream

Chasing the wind. That’s what my ex called it. I live my life chasing the wind. I live my life in pursuit of a dream, an ideal that I found as a damaged child. One which now consumes my entire being; one my ex said I may never be able to obtain.

Yet here I am.

I stand on the precipice of realizing my dream, and as ecstatic as I am, when finally I can have my “I told you so” moment, I find myself very much alone. This moment is anti-climactic in a way.

Let me explain; I am paralyzed from the waist down. I was paralyzed as a child in a car accident. My father, the great Dr. Blaine, was driving. He was a brilliant scientist, having worked on many top-secret projects, most of which are still classified, but he was arrogant. Was. Past tense. He was also an alcoholic.

Which leads me to my wheelchair. He drove home drunk that night. He never listened to anyone, especially not my long-suffering mother. She begged him not to drive, but he ignored her; no surprise, really. He killed her that night, along with the sheriff’s deputy he plowed into. That’s the same night he took away my ability to walk. He spent the remainder of his miserable days confined in prison. He was murdered 6 months into his sentence. Arrogance has no place in prison if you don’t have the ability to back it up. Pissed of the wrong people.

Serves him right.

I was left an orphan at the age of 11. I fought for my education, graduated high school by 14, college by 17. At the age of 21 I received my first PH.D in bio-engineering, my MD by 25. I could go on, but you get the point, I’m brilliant, smart, and almost as arrogant as my damned father.

I’m now an expert in robotics, electrical engineering, bio-engineering, and medicine, specifically neurology. I’ve been looking into ways to tap into the neuro-network, to integrate man and machine. I’ve almost got that locked up.

Now may be a good time to let you into my personal life. My ex I talk about is my partner in my experiments. She is also my ex-wife. I drove her away pursuing my dream of being able to walk again. Yes, she still works with me, I can’t afford to lose her, but I managed to lose her as the only love of my life. But as much as I love her, I find myself so close to finding the secret to walking again, I had to sacrifice love for my dream.

As such I studied and I researched, looking for a way to unravel the complex maze of neurons, to map the synaptic highway. I wine and dine whoever will fund my wild fantasies, and thus far my research has led to many innovations in medicine. For example, just one of our patents is now worth several billion dollars. My donors are pleased.

Still, I want to walk, and I have had countless surgeries performed by the best doctors in their respective fields. I am still stranded in a chair; confined by the unholy arrogance of a man. No, I continue undeterred. I continue to research, to push the boundaries of knowledge. I refuse to be constrained by either the ethics of the religious or the fear of the weak. I persist unafraid.

Stem cell research only took me so far, and neurosurgical intervention would be of no use. What I have suggested has been suggested by sci-fi for years. My solution is bionic, to be crude about it. I am, or I should say we are on the verge of creating a prototype of a bio-mechanical prosthesis to replace my damaged legs. I’ll have to replace the damaged section of my spinal cord, and replace that with an engineered neuro-electrical conduit. Think of it like the wiring inside the walls of your house.

That’s an over-simplification, but all that you need to know for now. If we are successful, we will be well on our way to curing paralysis. Also, amputees will once again be made whole, with a combination of their own biological make up, some electrical and mechanical wizardry, and just a little hocus-pocus. I don’t want to give away the magical secrets; at least concede all the secrets.

Walking. That’s the wind I have chased ever since that tragic day 29 years ago. That which seemed uncatchable is now maybe tameable.  I may be on the verge of finding the answer that unlocks the pathways leading to and from our own brain. One thing is for sure, if I do succeed, the world will be on its way to a better future.

The birth of the cyborgs? Perhaps, but one crazy step at a time. Right now, I just want to stand tall, to be the woman I should have been. And then who knows, maybe find myself a new wife. All in good time. Right now I prep myself, to be my own guinea pig. If it works, I will do what no man has been able to do; I will make me whole. If not, well…there really is no room for failure.

© 2012 Joe Hinojosa

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