The weeks in the hospital, turned into a month and I discovered that the hospital had lab top computers one could use and I put a request in immediately. I had never used a laptop and I was surprised that I learned quickly, even only using one eye. I was even more surprised that I remembered all my convoluted passwords and other's birthdays. Most importantly, I reopened my blog and posted my recovery progress daily.
Typing was a chore, but I had decided this was a recovery exercise. I wrote in a manner that was not always straight forward, using many allegories, and metaphors, and similes. What I wrote enunciated both the struggle and the hope I had.
Slowly, I improved and was able to walk with mechanical assistance (a walker in the hospital and a cane after). It was coming on two months being in the hospital. The swelling in the back of my head was still there, the double vision was still there and my swallowing problem were still there.
I wanted out and began to try to hide the swallowing issue, for I had been told that if that did not improve, I could not go home.
I had two clear MRSA tests. The hospital wanted a third, but I wanted out, so my doctors released me and after almost two months I was finally home.
There was therapy at home, helping me to regain my balance and to walk better. The therapist at the hospital gave me a simple wooden cane to use and it kept me from falling many times.
There was still the issue of the swollen head and the neurosurgeon proposed implanting a shunt to help remove the excess fluid. I had heard of those devices and agreed to it just before Halloween. It was day surgery and removed the excess fluid before I left the hospital. I had hoped it would improve the double vision, it did not. I began to prepare for a somewhat normal life and felt it was time for my mom to go home. I could only see easy going from here. She was old, and as much as she wanted to help me, I felt it was I who needed to help her. She insisted that she stay for my birthday, a bit over a week away and then she left.
In my blog, I began writing about headaches, fortunately, I do not remember this. I "blogged" less, but always wrote about the headaches. I cannot recall much of this, for while the excess fluid around my head was gone, the shunt was still working, draining more cerebral spinal fluid. I was unaware, but slowly my ability to think was becoming severely reduced. That strange scientific number that I used as a touchstone to prove my mind was still working, not only could I not remember, but could not remember why it was important. I was beginning to lose my ability to perform the simple task of making my bed after a nights sleep. My housemates were always helping me. I do not know how I functioned at all, but I think I was operating on my heart, not my mental capacity. It was during this time, I took a long walk by my self to buy a gift card for an upcoming birthday. On the return trip, I collapsed on the pavement in front of a gas station.
There are strange pieces of memory, but nothing complete. I do not remember falling, but was told I just folded up onto the sidewalk. I remember a woman's scream, the flashing lights of a fire rescue truck and a paramedic's gentle hands lifting me onto a gurney for the trip to the hospital.
This time in the hospital was full of partial memories, nurses cleaning me, my primary doctor visiting me, a neurologist I had known when helping someone else years ago. I am told there were many tests, but remember none of them.
My family and the friends who visited were horrified. My speech was slurred, my manner slow as someone who had severe brain damage. It took numerous tests before the neurosurgeon came and from a MRI, saw that my brain was concave from too little cerebral spinal fluid. He shut of the shunt and I awoke, cognoscente of my surroundings again.
I was shaken by the entire thing, for I have no other word to describe it. I had lost the last thing that I relied on, bringing me to the realization that our entire existence on this earth is very, very fragile.At the same time, I was very, very thankful, for while I had lost things I considered important, things that I was proud to have, I saw that anything we have or are could be taken away in an instant. I began to see this time, not as an ordeal, nor a trial, but of an adventure. It was one that I could not foresee the end of, for it encompassed the rest of my life.