Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Excuse me while I kiss the . . . ground?

By nature I'm not a planner, so I didn't have a definite schedule for the post-recovery part of my UFE medical leave: to hang around Bonjour, a rare pleasure on a weekday; to write reviews of two books I finished a month ago and which I hardly remember; and to catch up a bit on my current reading. That's it.

So far, I am 0 for 3.

I did go to Bonjour Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday (closed Monday) and to the university bookstore on Monday. I've made a little progress in Mansfield Park, and I watched Pride and Prejudice (Olivier/Garson) on demand. Yesterday, however, I had a little setback. A painful setback, one that I have to get over.

Research shows that the elderly can stave off depression and dementia, and their effects, in a social, engaging setting. I believe this, and that it's true not only for the elderly. In my current state of loneliness and withdrawal, I find that my mind tends to turn inward and that I feel fuzzy and unfocused, almost like my thoughts have to be retrieved from the depths and redeployed. If someone speaks to me, it takes me a while to process even that they are talking, let alone to form an answer.

This occurred to me yesterday for a couple of reasons. First, I had what appeared to be a duplicate charge on my debit card from a jewelry vendor, which seemed unlikely. The depths of my mind remembered that I had made a purchase since the jewelry, but I couldn't recall where although it should have been obvious. All I could do was remind myself to check it again today, when it should have moved from "pending" to "completed." It did. It was for the university bookstore, where coincidentally I had spent the same amount as I had on the jewelry. Oh. Now I remember.

Second, while I was sitting outdoors at Bonjour, an elderly woman, having difficulty holding onto a thought, finally remembered that she was looking for a place to make a copy, and a man had asked me about Alphasmart Neo. I had felt unequipped to engage either of them in conversation, so for the most part I had answered, "No," and looked (and felt) confused. This same sense of muddledness was still plaguing me when, on the way back, suddenly and quickly, I fell smash on my face and front teeth on the sidewalk by the back door here. Miraculously (praise be) my teeth are intact, confirmed by the dentist today, and I'm okay except for a bruised knee and lips and some general soreness. Given how hard and where I hit, I was very lucky. But I'm not sure why I hit.

Even the trip downtown to the dentist disoriented me further. I felt like I was in the world, but not of it. Even when it turned out the digital X-ray was on the fritz and even as the assistant scrambled to borrow film, get the old machine to work, and take the film to be developed. I felt detached if amused. I even took the news that the nerve may die in time from the trauma with better grace than usual.

But when I came home, I ate and crawled into bed directly, which normally I hate to do. I couldn't face going for an eight-block round-trip walk, which in this case is the equivalent of getting back on the horse. Involuntarily I cringe at the thought, seeming to relive the moment when I hit the sidewalk—which had been a waking fear-thought before the accident. I wonder if I will be able to return to work Tuesday and how coherent and functional I will be. I'll regret that I didn't enjoy my time off more. I'll wonder where the time went—I already do.

Already, much of it feels like a dream that is happening to someone else—the time in the hospital, the recovery, even the weekend and the past few days.

As much as I love the summer weather and the freedom to do what I want when I want, I wish I were awake.

1 comment:

  1. Even though you weren't under general anesthesia, you likely were given some meds to make you "relaxed" - ie: dopey and out of it, with a side of mild amnesia. This can, depending on your tolerance, cause some fuzzy-headedness for some time after.

    Also, no idea what they've given you for pain management, but I've learned that narcotic pain relievers are known to increase depression.

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