My post brain surgery hobby was naming things.
Usually, when people name something they are attempting to solidify a relationship. Naming a new goldfish establishes some sort of relationship. It brings you closer to Clementine, than you would be to “the goldfish”.
I guess the first name I bestowed falls into that category. The guys who drove the ambulance to the hospital in Springfield had dark hair and wore gold chains. They immediately became “the Guido’s”. And although I didn’t feel as if they were saving me on the ride from Rogers to Springfield, I would later call out for them to save me from my imagined Peruvian kidnappers.( See “A Bad trip Goes Downhill”)
The second thing I named was my aneurysm. It became known as Winston, after a saxophone player who performed with the Average White Band in the 1970s. Their hit song was called “Pick up the Pieces.” I have no idea where this fact or this person came from, Winston just appeared in a baby blue leisure suit wearing white patent leather platform shoes. When my head hurt I remember telling the nurses that Winston was stomping around in his big shoes.
Naming the thing that had caused me so much pain and anguish, was not an attempt to form a closer relationship. Naming Winston was, in fact, an attempt to disassociate myself from a part of my body that I couldn’t control. Naming Winston gave me someone else to blame; someone to cuss out.
Turned out, there were many other body parts I couldn’t control. My first words after surgery, after the stroke, were, “Whose arm is this?” I couldn’t move it, I couldn’t feel it, so it couldn’t be mine.
When I started referring to it as my little dead arm. The nurses told me I couldn’t call it that, because it wasn’t dead. So my damaged brain went to work. I came up with the name Lida, a sort of skewed acronym for little dead arm. Again I was able to separate myself from an arm I couldn’t control. An arm that didn’t respond at all. Even when I called her all sorts of bad names.
Perhaps the funniest name belonged to the first shoe I bought to wear with my AFO (ankle foot orthotic): a big plastic brace that kept my drooping foot from tripping me. It was two full sizes larger than the shoe that fit my right foot and became known as my Frankenstein shoe. This would later be shortened to Frank. Needless to say that gigantic shoe was always getting hung up. Obviously, I’d bought two pairs of shoes. I was never so glad to donate shoes to the Samaritan House.
Once freed from those bright white terribly un-Vic shoes, my left leg and foot were christened Lefty. Frank was gone, hopefully never to be seen again.