Wednesday, January 16, 2013
A LITTLE ROUGH PATCH
I am having a few problems with my memory right now. Some events and memories that happened to me over the past year or so are there. Others are hazy. Others are just ... gone. Erased from instant recall. Will they come back? I do not know. I hope so. I really hope so.
This started happening on Monday afternoon, when I could not remember someone's name. I went back through my journals, but so much of the writing and so many of the events seemed foreign — like characters in a novel. I went to sleep that night and I thought (dreamt?) it was summer. I woke up Tuesday and it felt like a piece of dark glass had been placed over a part of my brain. As of Wednesday night, the glass continues to shroud my memories.
I was unaware of this blog until reminded of its existence. Reading it has been an uncomfortable trip.
I made this confession to Calliope (after first confessing that I was having a hard time remembering who she was), and to a few others in my world — my boss, especially, and the colleagues I remember vividly from work. I make it now to you because I have come to realize there is no shame in disclosing this bit of post-stroke news.
It is not a complete blank upstairs. I remember, for example, that I had a stroke. I remember walking with a cane. I remember sweating, and the heat of last summer, and the agonies of wondering if I would ever be whole again.
I remember Larry and Leigh and Mary from work. I remember that I am a television news producer.
Things I do not recall at this moment: much of my relationship with Calliope — the trips we took, the things we shared. I do not remember working on Thanksgiving, or Christmas Eve, or New Year's Eve. I do not remember an apparently bad-ass Halloween party, where I dressed as Einstein. I do not remember being troubled by excruciating dreams.
I do not remember the names of several co-workers, or when we met. It seems the longer I have known someone, the better the chance I have memories of who they are. But this is not a guarantee. I know I have known Smitty forever, but for the life of me, at this moment I cannot recall exactly how we met.
It is scary, the blank spaces between my ears. It sort of feels like a wrecked room. There were a couple of moments today at work when I just broke down. Broke down and cried like a baby and wondered if I am having another stroke, or going insane.
(For the record, the doctors tell me I did not have another stroke. More tests are ahead. I will keep you posted. As for me being insane: you can make your own judgment.)
I lost some memory in last May's CVA, and I have tried mightily over the past several months to fool others, and myself, into thinking otherwise. Calliope said I always had a good memory, a great one, even: "You remembered things that I wish you wouldn't have," she wrote, to which I replied: "Well, no worries about that, now." A little levity to lighten the loss. Heh.
I know it is not funny, but neither is it great Greek tragedy. It is something that happens. I am not dead. I am not in a coma (unless all of This is a coma dream, which is too trippy for my puny brain to think about right now). I am not paralyzed. I can walk, I can talk, I can recite the alphabet. I am oriented to time, date and place.
It is a little rough patch. That's all. Chin up, all that. I mean, really. I am alive. Everything else is a bonus, right?