fading brain


Enough time has passed such that I am unsure as to what memory deficits of mine I ought to attribute to the stroke…or to just…aging.

I know that my brain used to be a lot sharper 2 years ago, prior to the stroke.  I used to remember names and faces, and license plates, and I could balance a checkbook.  Now not so much–I am constantly ashamed of how I forget people’s names as I run into the same people over and over again at things like birthday parties and weddings.  Friends of friends that I don’t interact with on a regular basis, but still!  And I still can’t balance a checkbook.

When I’m tired, I can’t keep track of my own calendar either–I only have a *feeling* I’ve got something going on next Saturday night when you ask me if I’m available (inevitably that feeling is very true once I check).  I have gotten into the habit of never committing to social engagements without consulting my calendar.

Or I won’t remember a substantial conversation we had in late 2006 or early 2007. (I don’t remember a lot of stuff two months prior and two months following the stroke). It’s embarrassing, for both parties. If you know why that might be, then it’s all rehashed…and if you don’t know I had a stroke, well…I either have to stay silent and apologize hoping you won’t think I’m terribly arrogant and aloof, or I explain about my stroke and then that becomes the topic of the evening. Believe me, I like being the center of attention at times, but right now I’m in the awkward stage of wanting to put it all past me. And I’m not sure if you all want to hear about it.

Day to day no outstanding issues…but these little things crop up over and over again and remind me of that little black and dead spot in my thalamus.  It is dead forever.

I got a new primary care physician this week–I got to talk about my stroke in detail. It was strange rehashing it, and seeing it from a bit of distance, finally. My doctor knows I”m a writer and she asked, “Have you written about it?”

Only on my blog. I’ve got an essay-in-progress about it right now. Not easy to write.

“Well it’s understandable,” she said, adding that I might only just be getting enough distance from the experience to start really thinking about it.

I talk about my stroke anecdotally in social situations. I’m asked, “Were you angry about it?” Not really. My brain was so screwed up that I don’t think I got depressed or frustrated or angry for a few months. I was just–numb and confused and so damaged that I couldn’t even remember what life USED to be. I was just–bewildered, walking in a foggy state of mind, wondering, wondering, wondering but never really being able to process. The way I like to describe it is that all day long, I’d feel like I was in that specific state of mind when one has JUST awakened, before becoming fully conscious.

Well. The 2nd anniversary of my stroke approaches. New Year’s Eve, which never seems like it will ever feel the same again. Last year, I was preoccupied by my MFA graduation and the following transition..and this year I finally…feel like I’m looking back and processing.

I’m so confused by the entire experience. It is a part of me. I have had the great privilege and gift of learning tremendous life lessons from the stroke. And there are more lessons to learn.



Filed under The Stroke

2 responses to “fading brain

  1. I can’t believe that was two years ago. Wow.

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