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.
I've written about the fatigue that results from Traumatic Brain Injury, actually I've written about it several times and I have discussed the feeling thousands of other times during the past month. I've explained how debilitating it is, how it sucks every living thing out of me, like a leech that feeds on emotions, initiation, and desire. I've posted pictures when the leech is fat and happy and I am left spent and sad. Those pictures show drooping eyes, a pulsating bulge on the right side of my face flanked by the crater-like indentation from where my skull was removed. This is the reality of recovery; the pain, the fatigue, the depression, all unfortunate parts of the painful experience.
Fatigue, my unwanted companion, knocks on my proverbial door often. In the morning before rehab it knocks loudest, or before I need to perform some remedial task like getting a fresh cup of tea, filling up my water, or just walking a few steps to the bathroom to have a piss. The level of the knock changes, at times its louder than others, at times softer.
Rarely does the knock begin days before the event. I say rarely because the knock has been loud and steady, rattling my mind, sending tremors into my arms and fingertips for days now. I don't need a cup of tea, or a glass of water, and I just took a piss a few minutes back. The knock is in anticipation of my upcoming visit back to the operating room, back to the intensive care unit where I nearly died on more than one occasion, where I stabbed a nurse with my IV after tearing it from my right arm.
My visit will consist of doctors reattaching the missing piece of my skull; a time to get my head back together. Today the date was confirmed. On Tuesday morning at five a.m., I will stumble back through the hospital doors and back into an uncomfortable hospital bed for a two day visit full of surgery, pain, and worry.
My neurosurgeon, therapists, all tell me the hour and a half long operation is routine, nothing to stress over. Sure, there's a risk of a brain hemorrhage, of infection, but what doesn't have some element of risk. Oddly enough, the risk doesn't bother me. Going back to the ICU does. What bothers me most, however; I can't stop the knocking in my head. I can't control my nerves, my anxiety. I feel as if I unable to prepare for the surgery, for more pain, for upcoming bills, rehabilitation. Most of all, I am scared that I've lost all rational thought. These anxieties are what fuels the knocking in my head, they are the heartbeat of the leech and there's nothing I can do to stop it from banging down my door. The saddest part is, my brain created that leech, it hatched from my brain and it's my mind that will need to destroy it.