Sunday, December 11, 2011

Two months

It's exactly two calendar months since I had the first of my many strokes, and I have much to marvel at. First, that I took so little damage; if ever there was a successful save vs. Death, I made it. Beyond that, I find many of the changes to my body quite interesting. I don't yet understand why my right side should so much weaker than my left, but it's giving me very practical insight into the workings of the muscles of my limbs especially.

I'm thoroughly bored of the destruction I wrought on my visual cortex. I knowit will eventually fix itself; I know it could have been much worse, but at this point, I really don't care. My double vision can go screw itself sideways with a rusty shovel. The necessary lack of depth perception (I have to keep one eye covered to avoid staggering around like someone epically shit-faced drunk - I chose the ugly squinting one) is also deeply boring and hampers me in a million different and unexpected ways; I liked and admired my friend with one glass eye before, now I hold her in the highest admiration.
Most tedious, though, is that my balance is still totally shot. It's a combination of new weakness in my core (especially on the right side), and something related to my vision. If it were related to my inner ear, I'd feel dizzy constantly, which I fortunately do not. No, my vision holds the key to balance and walking, to reading with my former ease, to typing quickly, to neat handwriting; essentially to all the prerequisites to getting a damn job and returning to society as anything more than an occasionally amusing burden.

One of the biggest changes, though, has been in my mind. I don't mean that there's been any cognitive impairment; as best we can tell there has not: I'm still mentally the same person I was on October 10th, only without the headaches. I mean that just over two months ago I had been living in New York for over eleven years. It was, and is. the place I think of when I think'home.' But since I had my 'brain events' I've been in institutions for all but one day at home and one overnight transatlantic flight. New York and my life there has begun to take on the features of a dream that I recall unusually well. Now, as I fight to walk down a corridor, or wrestle to force my hand to my will, my horizon has become so near, I am so focused on the next minute goal`that it's been increasingly hard to raise my eyes to "the only real citycity" as Truman Capote had it. Lunch with the demented denizens of this establishment is hardly the Algonquin round table, nor Thursday thali at Bhojan.

It's not by any means all grim, however; silver linings abound, if you know to look for them. For example, if I happen to forget your name, or your spouse's, or brood, or some significant event in our shared past, something that was not infrequent, I no longer have to frantically cover, nor wrack my (very much intact)memory. I just say "sorry, stoke damage, I'm afraid" with a meaningful and preferably lopsided look, and you will never know.