into the ether


I am so distraught. I am feeling alarmed, angry, down on myself, depressed, hopeless, and frantic. I have been reminded, once again, that I am not at 100%, and perhaps will NEVER be my old self again. Everytime I think the stroke is behind me, I am reminded that it is not BEHIND me, it is a PART of me. That the black dead spot in my brain will never regrow itself.

I slept all weekend–out of 48 hours, I think I spent almost 30 hours sleeping. This is unusual for me.  I couldn’t get enough sleep. I would wake up, wander a bit, maybe garden and then feel very exhausted and sleepy by noon. Then I would sleep until dinnertime. And eat, maybe watch a movie (I watched Vicky Cristina Barcelona this weekend–I loved it). And then go back to bed. It was a very mysterious thing and it reminded me of the early days of my stroke recovery when I would require at least 15-18 hours of sleep each day/night (depending on how you looked at it–because at 15 hours of sleep per 24 hour period, I’d be sleeping night and day).

But now, not so mysterious. I clearly needed the rest. My brain needed that rest. My brain clearly bonked and hit its limit by the weekend.

Because–because! I misplaced a folder full of papers that I CANNOT FIND. It is for my community college job, and the folder includes one doc that another teacher entrusted to me, to scan and copy for others. It was her ONLY copy. I am so freaked out and upset. My husband walked me through the entire Friday afternoon, step by step and I COULD NOT REMEMBER.

Had I brought the folder home? I *think* so, but I can’t remember. Where was it on my desk before I thought I picked it up? What did I do with my backpack and purse and folder once I got home? I DON’T REMEMBER. I don’t remember any details from Friday late afternoon and evening and night. It is a BLANK. Like someone came and erased the whole blue folder from my mind, ala Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.  It’s as if my brain overloaded by Friday afternoon and it just shut down, much like an electrical blackout.

And no one accepts when I say, “I never used to be like this before the stroke!”  I know myself.  I was NOT like this before the stroke.  I didn’t used to forget things IN THIS KIND OF WAY.  Not in the whole “black hole never existed” kind of way.

Now I feel totally fucked up. Did I even bring that folder home? If I did bring it home, did someone tidy up behind me? I don’t know. I DON’T REMEMBER. I am going out of my mind–frantic, angry, panicked. Combined with feeling hopeless about my ultimate prognosis. I am worthless, I can’t even remember where I put a folder and I let someone else down. I want to scream.

I will never be the same again.  Fuuuck.



Filed under Life, The Stroke

15 responses to “into the ether

  1. Don’t feel bad about the loss of folder. Part of being a prof. is being asked to do a million tasks with a million folders (for no extra pay, might I add) and then inevitably one or more folders get lost. Just deal with it…because it will happen again and again and again over the course of your teaching carreer, stroke or not. That’s my “word of wisdom” anyway. It was her fault that it was her only copy, not yours. I feel as a teacher, that I am constantly recreativing the wheel with useless paperwork. It can be maddening at times, but don’t let it get to you. (I know–I’m one to talk…I let it get to me all the time).

  2. omg, wildguppy, your words make me feel better. i was having apocalyptic thoughts, i felt so distraught. i’m still super bummed out though.

  3. Amyable

    Perhaps another way to look at this (perhaps not a better way but different) is this forgetting incident. My memory is amazing and I scare people at work often because of the way I can recall information. However, I’ve noticed that sharpness of memory fading a bit lately. In the last 3-4 months, I’ve had incidents where I simply cannot remember at all. My husband insists events happened but I cannot remember. None. Nada. Zip. I haven’t had a stroke like you and I think my brain fart is due to 1) increased stress and workload in my life, and 2) I’m getting older.

    So, maybe if you think about it in those terms and not relate it to your stroke, you won’t be so distraught? The “reason” behind the forgetting is what I guess is upsetting you the most.

  4. Hi Amyable…yah, ppl suggest that this is just old age, even though the change in my memory capabilities is dramatic at times. Somehow, getting older as a reason isn’t comforting. 🙂 🙂 As u prolly understand, the shock of losing one’s capability is like a strike to the gut.

  5. Ummm…. I have days like this ALL THE TIME, and I have not had a stroke. I swear. I lose stuff. I forget that I do stuff. I forget to do stuff. When I read your post I tried to remember what I was doing Friday night, and guess what: I couldn’t remember. I still can’t remember. I looked at my calendar for a clue but it said nothing. So I really have no idea what I did last Friday.

    I think the least distressing response to events like this is: “Oh, well.” And keep going.

    I know I would be upset about losing a folder with irreplaceable stuff though. That’s rough. But what can you do?

    My kid thought she lost her iPhone TWICE. Major drama, upset, tears. (we have a one-iPhone limit per person in our family!) Once, she found it in the pocket of her computer bag. The second time, it was in the glove compartment of the car where she’d put it for “safekeeping.” So it happens to young people too. It took 2 weeks to find it the 2nd time.

    I’m sure the blue folder is somewhere. Well, it IS somewhere. I think if you take some deep breaths, rest on it a bit it will surface. Maybe late, but eventually.

  6. yah, i guess i ought to calm down. the world didn’t end…

    • Oh Jade, I know this panic well — it’s a kind of losing-plus event. You’ve lost the thing, PLUS it means something beyond losing the thing, which is where the panic, and anger and grief comes in. It’s really beautiful out there today — I say you should go take a walk if you can. Or drink some tea. And will you e-mail me when you have a chance (oooo, send a Facebook message!) — I’m around this weekend and I’d love to take a neighborhood walk with you. xoxoxo

  7. oh bloglily–you nailed it on the head! a “losing-plus event” is exactly it. i did go out and browse through Big Longs (it’s my weird comfort place/activity), where i go when i feel lost and uncomfortable and need distraction and anonymity and space to sort my emotions.

    i will send you a FB mesg soon. 🙂

  8. anonwupfan

    JP we must be on parallel tracks, I just lost an envelope with several irreplaceable things in it (things from my great-grandparents.)

    This is one of the harder things about living with a cognitive disability, the “not knowing” whether it’s just you or what happened to you. BL is right, it’s a haunting & awful path to go down, trying to live up to what you know you should be (and I don’t know about you, but the “Before Me” seems to get more handsome, charming and intelligent by the day!)

    On the bright side, I’m glad you got some rest and did some shopping (browsing?) therapy.

    • a lost envelope with things from great-grandparents beats my folder full of docs. that’s awful. 😦 i hope you find it and that it will turn up just when you need it. (I’m about to go dumpster diving in my trash cans in desperation).

      I did get some good window shopping done at the mega-big-longs drugs in our neighborhood (it’s about the size of a walmart), and almost bought some plants but refrained.

      Here’s to the “After the Before Me” life.

      • anonwupfan

        Thanks for your kind thoughts, but I’m not so sure I want to top you on this one!

        If an envelope turns up I hope that it’s yours (or even better, you turn it over in a blogable, madcap dumpster adventure 😉 ) Thankfully, I remember my GGPs pretty well and they doted on me bigtime (as only great grandparents can?) So I’m frustrated and a little sad, but sure they’ve forgiven me and that makes it feel OK.

        If nothing else, I think we both have a guilt-free trip to adopt a new plant in our future.
        (Hmm… I’ll have to ask Mrs. AWUPF if she knows about the Mega-Big-Longs, I was always a fan of regular-sized Longs…)

        Keep after it JP. And thanks again.

  9. Lucy

    I’m sure you thought of this, but just in case, didn’t that lasagna/bagel eating housekeeper come on Friday? Couldn’t she have decided to “tidy” it? I’ve lost things for 8 months that the cleaning lady just put in a place I’d never think to look for it.

  10. Lucy: we’re thinking that right now, and rifling through the trash cans outside. We’re thinking she may have thrown it away (it’s happened before)…

  11. Hugs and best wishes! I know I can’t being to imagine what it’s like for you to go thru this…but I just want to say I’m hoping for the best.

    Don’t stress too much, ok?

  12. I think I have to accept it’s gone and it is what it is. Even so, I woke up to a nightmare about the G*ddamn folder! I had to coax myself back to sleep. Woo!

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