a black hole

I have a black hole for much of December. I can’t remember much from that period of time. Hell, I don’t even remember much of my hospital stay in early January (it went by in a blur). Sometimes, I can stare at the wall, and then look at the clock and wonder how an hour went by. That’s my sense of time and memory these days. Big black holes.

I went to speech therapy (yes, it’s called ‘speech’ but they work on memories too) today for the first time and afterwards was just nearly in tears. I say nearly because I haven’t been able to cry for a few days, no matter how hard I try to cry. This, after a week of bursting into tears very easily. Anyway, I was just so blown away at my own condition–I really just can’t remember a whole lot of stuff. Before I drove on to get my blood test done (yes, I get blood tests regularly so that my arms look like a heroin user), I just sat in my car and stared out the windows, wondering, “How the hell could this have happened to me.” Yes, I know a cliched thought, but that’s what I thought.

It’s easy to deceive myself. I can move around just fine. I can speak just fine. I can hold a conversation. Hell, I can write a blog post. But I can’t remember a lot of stuff, and I have a hard time remembering, and I’ve lost memories, and I can’t read anywhere near as much as I used to be able to. I can read 4 pages a day, as opposed to the hundreds of pages of fiction I could read before.

Then I saw a news story on The Kim family, you know the family that got stuck in Oregon and then it snowed and then the father went out to get help and died while his wife and little daughters finally got saved. I had forgotten about them, they were part of my black hole of memories. Of course it poured back, and I feel more awful than ever about it all.

So this is where I’m at–going back and forth from feeling SO much better to feeling UGH. These days I have to admit I’m mostly numb, which alarms me–am I depressed? I’m starting up speech therapy. I’ve got appointments with a cardiologist and neurologist later this month. I get blood tests every other day (hence, again, the track marks on my arms). I try to go to work once or twice a week. The rest of the time, I try to entertain myself, stare at the wall, whatever.

All the while, I wait to be able to write fiction again.

Update: Yes, I’m freaked out about needles. My first days home, in addition to blood tests, I had to have lovenox shots administered to me by my husband, twice a day. Those shots burn. I still have bruises all over my stomach from them, over a week later (hell, nearly 2 weeks later).  Don’t even get me started on me taking medication for the mastitis (yes, somehow I managed to get a breast infection even though I am childless) I still have from before the stroke.  Oh, and the antibiotics for the mastitis?  Well, they had some interesting “side effects” that I had to deal with last week.

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13 Comments

Filed under Life, The Stroke

13 responses to “a black hole

  1. It will feel like a black hole for awhile yet Jade but hopefully all the memories will come back. I was just watching Headline news about a 20 year old teacher who had a stroke in her elementary classroom. The kids got her help right away and it showed a video clip of her and the kids. Her left side was affected and she was using a walking cane but expects to be back teaching. Made me think of your situation since I had not heard of anyone being so young having a stroke.

    Sounds like your feelings will be all over the map…the highs will be higher than normal and the lows will be ugly. My advise is to surround yourself with people who can support you; people you feel comfortable talking to and of course, all “your rowdy friends” are here to listen and support as best we can.

    I have to believe you have had the thoughts: why me? why did this have to happen to me? I have taken care of myself; eaten right, exercised right, had regular physicals….sometimes it just sucks to be me. All normal feelings given your circumstances but abnormal for you nonetheless. You are not alone…keep writing. We will keep reading Jade and praying for ya!

  2. Besides having a stroke Jade, I am one of those guys that hates needles. I hate getting blood drawn. I get queasy every time. I have only given blood once in my life and nearly fainted. Yeah, I have been teased to no end over that and I know it is just a mind thing, but when it happens, the symptoms are real to me. So if you are like me that way, I can really empathize!

  3. Oh Jade. I really feel for you. This sounds so… hard to deal with. But you know your blog posts are so compelling, and moving, and difficult and interesting. Maybe you can’t write fiction right now, but believe me all these blog posts together are putting together a really lucid and articulate nonfiction piece about what it feels like to be a young person who has had a stroke. You are writing, something of value. Keep on blogging, journaling, even writing about staring at the wall is part of this unexpected and unwanted, but here-it-is piece of writing. You’re capturing something.

  4. The thing about black holes is that they stretch you in many different directions and time is all distorted. You will get through this. And as others have said, I do appreciate your courage in sharing your struggles. I’m thinking of you.

  5. Wow Jade! You must feel like a pincushion. Shots in the arm and in the abdomen and who know where else….yikes that is worse then going through a shot line in the military. I hope I never need to get them Jade, but if I do, I will take courage in what you are going through now. Side effects from that infection you have….hmmm I looked up the possible side effects on WebMd…not pleasant! Hope they have dissipated and that problem is solved. Thank you so much for sharing Jade and please keep us updated.

  6. Darling, I too hate needles. I know how you feel and I sympathize. You are being extraordinarily brave.

    And what Susan said about the value of this blog/journal.

    Bless you, Jade, and be well. This is very hard but you are coping valiantly. Continue to be kind to yourself…you deserve it.

  7. I hadn’t read your blog for a couple of weeks, and was blown away by what had happened–what a blow. I think a stroke is one of the scariest things for people who use their head–the idea of being shut out of reading and writing is hard to take.
    Just wanted to say I’m rooting for you, and for your writing.

  8. mel

    Ditto Stephanie and Susan, and everyone really. You have a lot of people supporting you, whether you realize it or not. You have friends who want very much for you to get better.

    Blogging is writing. I think it was you who told me that. So be gentle with yourself, leave freakouts and worry at the door. (or try to, please) You are here, you are alive, you are getting through this! And you are writing.

  9. I am so, so sorry. What you’ve described sounds so much harder than I can imagine.

    I agree with what Susan said about your blog posts. You have been able to articulate the many frustrated and scared and conflicting feelings you’re having in a way that’s gripping and heart-rending. Please keep on writing them—your writing here has been so honest, clear, and strong. I am in awe of you right now. And as Lucette just said: I am rooting for you, too.

  10. I work in vacational rehabilitation, and I just wanted to stop by and commend you for sharing your journey with all of us. This sort of rehab is really, really difficult, because the patient tends to have trouble understanding what is wrong and why, and the people around them tend to loose empathy because the damage is not “visable”. Your frustration is TOTALLY normal. I often witness otherwise kind, benign people getting angry to the point of violence.

    I have to say that you blog posts are, indeed, probably helping you to recover. You are exercising your brain by writing them in that you are using language to communicate, you are going over your life and recalling things. The fact that they are so well written and increasing in length and quality also points to the fact that your brain is benifitting. Keep doing these, please, both for your benifit and the benefit of others.

  11. See that, Jade? Blog as medicine. I like what Slynne says. Writing in your blog is your therapuetic practice towards recovery. Way to go.

  12. w

    We’re all waiting along with you, and with patience and warm hope. And ditto the above, and above that, and above that, and above that. I can’t begin to guess what you’re going through, but find your posts stirring. You’re writing wonderfully for yourself. Please keep going. We want you to keep creating. That’s what writing is, no? Creating some kind of order out of confusion or trauma, or feeling your way towards a discovery/enlightenment caused by this confusion. Sending you anti–side effects vibes.

  13. thank you all for your encouragement–it is really good to know you are all rooting for me. it is a HUGE deal. you are awesome.

    thank you slynne, for articulating something i need to hear at this point in my healing.

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