Damnit. I forgot something today–reminding me that I have to keep writing things down (which is why, I think, I journal so compulsively these days…here, and in my journal–may I NEVER forget! Even though I totally do). There are things that are gone–like my appetite, and I don’t mind that at all. And then there are my memory problems. Grrr. I mind that a lot.
But still, while reading the stroke handbook given to me at the hospital, I realize I have gotten better.
My aphasia, a language disorder that affects the ability to communicate (trouble speaking, finding words, understanding what others say, problems with reading, writing or math, inability to process long words and infrequently used words), has gotten better. I can write blog posts, and can jot down ideas for my fiction. I’m going to take a long look at my fiction this week, and see if I can write fiction again. I wonder how that will be–is it like my reading capacity, which expands to a page a day week by week (I’m up to 5-10 pages a day without my brain blurring)…or will it just…TURN.ON?
I was really frustrated the first week of my stroke, trying to find words and phrases, and coming up with them…only to be told they did NOT make sense. It was the oddest feeling ever. As a writer, it was devastating for me to discover that I was not being understood and that the culprit was my words!
My diary entries from December 31 and January 1 reflect this struggle:
December 31, 2006: Something happened while I slept this afternoon. My brain’s changing somehow. I can feel the thoughts going in and out of my brain. A huge storm hit me, I went to sleep, and when I woke up, I felt half my brain far away from me.
January 1, 2007: We watched the New Year program on TV last night, and I went to bed first. My brain was too heavy, and I went to bed. I’m curious as to how my brain is doing now.
My reflexive crying (aka “emotional lability”) has lessened considerably. By emotional lability, I mean “outbursts of crying (or laughing) for no apparent reason.” I’m not a public cryer (okay, rephrase: I NEVER CRY IN FRONT OF OTHER PEOPLE)–it was real odd to find myself in tears at random moments and stare at the schocked faces of my companions in those moments. “Why was I crying! Why am I crying!?” I would say through sobs. Bleah. So retarded, yet weirdly poignant. If that makes ANY sense.
I took the dogs for a walk this afternoon–they were restless, and so was I. On the way back home, I ran into one of my neighbors (yes, I live in a wonderful neighborhood with great neighbors, but we don’t really run into each all that often if that makes any sense). In fact, it is the neighbor I consider a friend. “I had a stroke!” I waved my arms at him. Well, I didn’t exactly say it like THAT, but something like that.
It’s interesting and cool to be able to talk about the stroke weeks later, way out of the woods of trouble. I had a story–I knew the cause (PFO and a clot), the effect (see above plus short term memory problems), I had answers, I had an entire narrative. I had action items to come (PFO surgery and medication), and a prognosis.
The mind of a writer never stops, does it?