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.