91 percent


I like to say that I’m “Ninety percent” these days–not all the way recovered, but pretty much all the way back to my old self. Sure, I take it easy, and I can’t write fiction like I used to, but I can write nonfiction and my stamina’s up and I’m able to handle social gatherings and I can cook a meal now without walking out of the room mid-prep and forgetting I was in the middle of cooking a meal until I return to the room and wonder, “Why is the mixer on? Why is the water boiling?”

So yah, I’m back, I’m pretty much all the way here. I get tired, but who doesn’t get tired? I have my limits, but I stay well within them.

Today though, I had the exciting, perplexing, disconcerting, humbling experience of hitting my wall again after having gone weeks without hitting my limits. I learned about the remaining 10 percent of my recovery from the stroke in a rushing torrent of confusion and discombobulation.

My mind felt like a sieve; I just could not “hold” thoughts.

It happened at work. It happened suddenly. In the middle of a one on one! I was listening to someone talk about their concerns and thoughts–one minute I took in the words and processed them, and found them easily retrievable…and one minute I could feel my mind slip. I couldn’t hold onto the person’s words–what did they say ten seconds ago? I couldn’t remember. What is that person saying right now? The words flew by like a speeding powerful waterfall. I couldn’t catch them.

I had to put a stop to things–I remember wrapping up as smoothly as I could–“You can always email me or ping me, just talk to me when you need,” I said. All the while, I kept trying to repeat the important things they’d said to me–could I remember? Could I talk and remember at the same time?! I knew that the items had made it into my head, but could I retrieve them later? Keep repeating, keep repeating, don’t forget, keep repeating, keep it at the forefront of my mind. I was maxed out.

The person smiled. “Oh! I remember one more thing, now that you’ve told me to reach out to you. I had forgotten. It’s this thing that’s been bothering me–”

I had to negotiate with myself. I could remember what the person had said beforehand and not listen to what they were about to say….or I could listen and retain the one thing this person was about to say to me but then forget everything previously said. Like I said, my brain was maxed out–I had choices to make.

So I dropped the previous memories and focused on what they had to say. I remembered the new thing. And the other things? I hope that tomorrow, I will remember them all.

I don’t know what led to this brain meltdown–maybe I need more rest, maybe I pushed myself too hard today. It’s likely that I did push myself too hard. Or maybe I have been under stress and that’s affected my recovery. I ventured into the last 10 percent…and found myself meandering.



Filed under Life, The Stroke

4 responses to “91 percent

  1. I felt the same way yesterday. Instead of taking naps and watching movies, I sorted out my photos all day on my computer (and I mean ALL day, like 11 hours) and then, when people came over for dinner, I couldn’t focus on anything they were saying, couldn’t focus, couldn’t listen. For me it wasn’t to do with my memory, though, just fatigue.

  2. the other night I felt incredibly torn…reporters, photogs and random people interrupting conversations I was having…trying to get my attention. While I was reviewing one reporter’s story, another pinged me and asked me to do the same for her. maybe in the news biz…people can’t afford to wait their turn. but i felt so drained from splitting my attention and i woke feeling bummed that i couldn’t focus on producing a quality show.
    and sometimes, I feel if I ask people to wait and give me space, it’s a sign of weakness. I don’t feel like I can afford showing weakness at this stage in my career.
    so yes, a trying day and an exhausting week.

  3. I’m glad you have an idea of how I feel–and yes, it’s a lot like extreme fatigue for people. But I didn’t actually FEEL tired at all, and it came on very suddenly. Very odd!

    If I had been exhausted, I would have known to take it easy–so humbling to have my limits just come down on me.

    Today I am going to take it easy because apparently I need the rest (even though I’m not physically tired).

  4. I’ve forgotten I was cooking before. I burned a salad once. 진짜 바보!

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