Life In The Slow Lane...
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San Diego, CA, United States
This is a commentary about the slow lane, about the slowing of time since I suffered a severe brain injury while skateboarding with my dog. This is a blog about recovery; about our '82 VW Westfalia. It's about writing, surfing, camping, married life, bleeding ulcers that make you feel old at 32; about family, friends, and my dog Artie; it's about cruising in fourth gear, getting passed by every car and learning to appreciate every second of it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Brain Game

Everyday the same questions rattle through her mind: "How are you feeling? Do you have a headache? Are you hungry? Can I get you anything?"

And everyday the same concerns fill her day, concerns about seizures, about the swelling in my brain, about rehab, about hemorrhages, soreness, depression, and fatigue, about me not getting enough rest.

Every moment for the past two months, her mind has been occupied with worry, stressing over my damaged brain and frail body.

Of course, there's also work to be done, money to be made. She often goes late into the night, staring at the computer screen, editing pictures and sending emails. Throw in chores around the house, heading to the grocery store for fruit, leaving little time for herself, for those selfish thoughts, the kind that everyone needs to ponder, the kind that makes us into individuals.

In the past month, I have seen her cry just twice, this for a person who tears up when she sees an elderly man show love for his family, when she sees an animal without a home, the list can go on forever.

And throughout this whole experience, she has suppressed her emotions as a way to show strength, to show control, all for my sake.

Last night, a small fraction of those emotions surfaced. She was hungry, tired, and stressed. There was a knock on the front door. Our dinner had arrived. I remained seated as she answered the door and made the transaction. She walked back towards the kitchen flustered, arms loaded with a pizza box and plastic bags full of food.

"I don't know what your doing but I'm eating," she said. I could see the frustration in her eyes. The look sent me back to before the fall when I cared more for myself, when I took things for granted, and let her do all the work.

I stood up, put my helmet on and walked towards her.

"Are you all right," I said.

"No, I have chores, work, we have to start paying these medical bills, I'm hungry..."

The conductor in my frontal lobe still unconscious, I reacted.

"What do you want me to do? I can't handle this now. I'm worried about my surgery, about going back to that hospital. Is this what you really want to do? My brain is damaged and I can't handle this."

She looked at me, her eyes welled up from tears, and she apologized. I understood why she was worried, but I couldn't forgive her, my mind wouldn't let me forget. I get that I am not the only one that has had to deal with this. I just couldn't fight the sadness and stress I felt.

We sat down for dinner. Several times she looked in my direction, her eyes full of tears. She apologized each time she looked my way and each time I was silent.

After dinner I left the living room to write. She went outside for a glass of wine and a smoke. I sat in my office, computer in my lap, staring at the wall. Tears streamed down my face, not because of my condition but for putting the woman I love in this position, and because I am still not able to show how much I appreciate her, how much I love her. And while the reason for my ungrateful attitude is now strictly physiological, nothing to do with selfishness, it is still there and it weighs heavy on this swollen mind.

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