This blog was originally about my life as an aspiring novelist. Life, however, sometimes changes in ways we never imagine. But, Even the most dramatic life altering interruptions don’t change everything. Despite emergency brain surgery and the stroke that followed, I’m writing again and this blog will now chronicle my journey toward complete recovery.
In the past year, I’ve come a long, long way. The stroke rendered my body paralyzed on the left side and damaged my brain. I slowly learned to walk again, just like a baby learns to walk, with the additional handicap of my numb, unresponsive left leg and arm. It’s amazing to realize all the things your mind and body do automatically. For instance, in relearning to walk I had to consciously shift my weight from one foot to the other. This is something most everyone does without any thought whatsoever . Once super easy actions became mentally and physically exhausting trials.
For me one of the strangest and most worrisome after-effects of stroke is called Left Neglect. My left eye could see but my brain did not acknowledge the sight in the left portion of my vision. I called this blind spot my Bermuda Triangle. It was a place where things disappeared.My left neglect became very obvious and troubling in a speech therapy session. Speech therapy ought to be called mind therapy. My therapist gave me a sheet of paper with scenarios written on it and quizzed me about how I would handle the described situations. The problem was, the sentences did not make sense to me because I was not seeing any of the words on the left side of the paper.
This was the first time I cried in speech therapy. It was not the last time but the most memorable. I was terrified that I would not be able to read again.
I had spent a good portion of my life reading, I read for entertainment, I read for information, I read to become a better writer. Not being able to read seemed a most terrible fate, maybe worse than being confined to a wheel chair.