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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Memory Lane

Writing feels impossible these days. I once looked forward to processing my day's events, no matter how obscure, by writing about them.  Although, up until recently, i lacked the self doubt part of processing things.  I hate admitting that,  and doesn't mean I'm unwilling to do things, it just means that instead of stark nothing, where my mind was once blank,, I think, 'I probably can't do that.'  That sounds negative, but it's a great surprise to me when I can actually can do something I was not sure if I could.    It's also unbelievably variable, because my physical and mental abilities differ day to day.  The closest relatable experience I have,  is to say it's like growing up again, although, this time I already understand the process, and seem to be overly sensitive to my mistakes.  

On the upside, I've finally begun reading again.  Audiobook are a great substitute, but nothing is quite as pleasing, as holing a book, marking the pages with notes, or folding the page, to mark the place I left off.  I read a lot growing up, and I appreciate the physical experience of reading, the way the paper smells, turning the pages.  I read on the kindle too, but the act of swiping my finger across the screen, to turn the page, just isn't the same. Now, I just found  Senator Elizabeth Warrens biography, and can't put it down.  My reading is still frustratingly slow, but it's leaps and bounds ahead of where it was a year or two ago.  This recovery is a day by day thing, one day at a time.  I have to look for the small accomplishments, and pretend that's enough, because right now, that's all I have.  

I recently abandoned my cane.  It had 4 tiny feet, or prongs, for greater stability, and it helped me attain more confidence in my mobility, as I would use it to catch myself, or on steps, and curbs.  Although, this spring I started tripping on it, because I failed to pay enough attention to where I had it, or it would touch my leg, as I walked, and I'd jump, and fall on it.    I recently decided to try not carrying it.  My shoulder pain is better, and my confidence in my stability grows everyday.  I still fall from time to time, but that's my reality to face, and now I'm no longer falling on the cane, it left some very bizarre bruises. On the subject of bruises, I've revently had 2 very awkward domestic abuse conversations.  At the end of April we had a very warm week, and I got my shorts out, forgetting about the 6" black and blue mark on my thigh.  I'd fallen somehow landing on the cane.  When I put on my shorts, I saw it, and thought about changing, but didn't because these are my scars, I'm not willing to be embarrassed by the fact that I trip myself, a lot.  Although, it never crossed my mind that people might think someone else had beaten me. Oops.  Note  to self, 'I'm now too old to proudly display my 'battle scars.'

At some point, almost every day, I find myself envious of my peers, but then I realize everyone struggles, just in different capacities.  Relearning life at 23 certainly isn't an enviable predicament, but here I am, 7 years in, still trying to get a handle on it.  I'm happy to have the opportunity to rebuild, as long as it takes, one day at a time.  Summer is here again, and this time I no longer need my cane. It's all about perspective, I may not know where I'm going in this life, but the way I see it, it can only get better, I just have to keep moving forward.

Last night my friend called to preemptively  apologize for being out of touch for the next month, and I realized in that moment, what a thoughtful action that was, because that would never occur to me to reach out and notify friends, I'd be out of touch for a time.  It was a unique realization to me, in that I now seem to be processing others actions and reactions, whereas, it all used to float by, the good, the bad, the indifferent. I had no ide about how to react to things, or process them.  It's like when you're a kid you do what you're told, unless, some ridiculous idea flys in, and you do that, and then pay the price, for not doing as were instructed. It's as if someone flipped a  switch in my head, and my ability to process and empathize is more my own now. Looking back, it reminds me of playing 'follow the leader.'  It just takes time to deal with, and process all the  new, again experiences.  I remember back in the hospital, people would often ask what the last thing I remembered from my previous life was, and I'd say, 'Belize'. That was about 5-7 months prior, so not great, but not terrible either.    No one ever pressed me me for more information, but really I only remembered that I had been there, at that point, I didn't know why I'd been there, who I was with, or what I'd been doing there.   Fortunately many friends, and classmates filled me in, and the more I heard, the more visual images came into my memory, and the more I was able to remember.  I had this incredible boyfriend who stuck by me throughout my 7 month hospital and rehabilitation tour.  At first I couldn't remember him, at all, but as I continued with rehab, the more he filled me in, and the more I remembered.  I knew we were close, but I had no idea how we had met.   early on if you told me anything I'd forget it ever happened within the hour.  My mom would tell me who'd be visiting that weekend, and I'd be in dumbstruck shock when they arrived 2 days later. Funny, that I remember all this now, it's strange to look back on that time.  At that time, I was fully blind, although,I did recognize voices of family and friends.  When I think about my stays in the hospitals, I barely remember any of the. doctors and nurses.  That seems seems weird  to me.  I remember the first time they stood me upright, in some kind of walking simulator, at Spaulding in Boston, and the endless hallways of Crotched Mountain rehabilitation, where I painstakingly learned to walk again, with a walker.  I actually do remember a lot more than I thought, it just takes time to pull it out of hiding.

Moving forward, these are all pieces that I've had to process mentally, within the past year or two, because I wasn't fully there earlier.   I had no way of realizing it then, but I feel so fortunate to have the ability to more fully recall the earlier aspects of my journey. Of course it's been difficult for all involved, and I want to say thank you to all who've been there, and helped me along this path!