Tuesday, May 22, 2012

ANOTHER MILESTONE


"So, how was the first day back?"

Very Soul II Soul, thank you. A sort of weird voodoo spell came over me as I caned my way up and down the halls of the Paragraph Factory; it felt like a homecoming of sorts, mingled with a low-grade acid trip.

Examples:

•The 4 p.m. newscast was a one-hour special devoted to the first anniversary of the Joplin tornado (see you again in 2016, Joplin!), so the crush of a "normal" newscast didn't come into play. That'll be on Wednesday.

•Some colleagues remained unaware of what happened on May 5, and retelling the tale felt odd, especially when I saw the looks. The word "stroke" puts a damper on fun-time hallway chatter. But no one ran screaming from the fact, and everyone agreed: the quad cane sure sucks ass.

•Overall, people were kind. A couple were downright giddy to see my phiz in the newsroom, and that was strange in a good way. Emily seemed thrilled — huh? — and Brad was nice to bring up the bursts of typing/writing that are shooting out of my fingertips; he even brought up the old days when I wrote THE PULP, an alt-monthly tabloid that used to haunt downtown Springfield.

•Addie brought cupcakes. That rocked the house. And James wore a tie. What in hell was that all about?

It was another milestone (as opposed to a millstone), just as good as the day I made it a mile on foot, just as remarkable as the moment when I realized I could get my hands in sync and type again. I feel as if I've traveled a great distance from the hospital bed at Cox South.

The odd dreams remain a constant — last night's mental movie had me on a middle-of-the-night walk, talking with a friend about a book tour and how good it would be to autograph copies with my strong left hand. It really wasn't a bad dream, until I tried to grip a Sharpie and heard my friend laugh as it fell from my useless fingers. I really must do something about these dreams. They're ruining perfectly good nights of restless slumber.

So, yeah. Back to reality, or whatever passes for it these days. Summer beckons; the meteorologists say it'll top 90 degrees this weekend. I don't like the heat but hot fun in the summertime now holds a special place in my stony heart. Maybe I'll go for a walk on Friday night and leave the cane behind, just to see how far I can make it. Old habits die hard. Some you don't ever want to go away.

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