I was lost—I had no frame of reference. I didn’t understand the rules that governed the new world I found myself in. I had no idea how to navigate through it. I had to find a way out of the chaos that was now my life. But where to start?
During my early days into recovery from the brain surgeries, the daily battle to survive was tangible, but I persevered. As I progressed, every struggle validated my aversion to the term acceptance. Every time the word came up, my hackles rose. I associated it with malingering and I was no malingerer.
I mentioned my attitude towards the term to my neuropsychologist. He leaned back in his chair. “I interpret the term acceptance the Buddhist way—learning to live with it.”
I could live with that interpretation. I could learn to live with the bloody brain.
He added, “It’s the feisty ones who do best.”
Yes, that would be my way. I was a fighter.
I didn’t recognize my inner wiring—my mind was a stranger to me. It didn’t work as it should, some parts didn’t work at all. Choppy thoughts came and went, entangled, incoherent. I felt disconnected from my inner being, out of sync.
I love birthdays, whether mine or not. Birthdays make me happy. To me, celebrating life is always a good thing, even with social distancing, even when gifts are few, even without a cake or candles, even without balloons.
When I thought about it some more, I realized that physical, cognitive, and psychological recovery weren’t all there was to my journey. The pieces of the puzzle started clicking into place—I was finally ready to admit to the fact that the bloody brain had damaged me at all levels.
Why red carpet? Why not blue or purple? And how on Earth does one walk down it? Certainly not stride, unless shod in combat boots. What about meander? Or stroll? Sashay? Sashay sounds good. And what should I wear? A suit? A tuxedo? Somehow that doesn’t feel right. Certainly not a dress. I don’t own … Read more
I read the first sentence: “An island is 2 miles due north of its closest point along a straight shoreline.” Oh God! What the hell does that mean? “Closest point along…blah blah blah” There was no way I could figure this out. About to panic, I took adeep breath. What if I drew a picture? … Read more
This past summer was filled with lasts. It was my last stint as director of our REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates). I ran my last TA (Teaching Assistant) training workshop. The summer was my last summer as a college professor. And today was my last first day of an academic year.