I have been pacing myself as I try to recover from my brain haemorrhage but knowing that I had a lot of social events around my birthday last week and a few extra things too. I stayed the course and was sociable with a lot of people but on Sunday night I was so tired that I could really feel all my brain-damaged symptoms kicking in big time.
Tiredness is tiredness in the end though and it does, as we all know but seldom understand, go away when we sleep. I have slept as if I had eaten a poisoned apple over the last two nights but I managed to wake up without a kiss from some travelling royal so, with the help of a large cup of coffee I am feeling good again this morning.
It was sobering though to find myself almost unable to speak on Sunday night with my haemorrhage-induced stammer worse that it has ever been, my hands clenched into fists and my brain going into stand-by. I made the right decision though, instead of panicking, I went to bed and slept.
One of my favourite relations asked if he could borrow some cuff-links over the weekend. A simple enough question but I found myself looking blankly at him. Cuff links? Do I have cuff links? I could feel my brain re-routing, on its own equivalent of a Google search until it found Cuff Links. Oh yes I thought…I do have cuff links. Could I borrow some? my fine and caring relation asked looking confused. Again the Google search. Cuff links. I have them but where do I keep them? My Google system is pretty reliable even if it is a bit slow. It was now quite clear to me that I was the proud owner of cuff links and that they were in a drawer next to my bed.
In all fairness I have not worn the above mentioned objects since going to Glyndebourne Opera House in the Summer of 2008 – long before my brain haemorrhage. It illustrated vividly that even though I have been so lucky in the limited damage my brain has suffered, I do have a problem, admittedly only a short-lived one, in remembering things that I have not thought of since before my illness. Luckily, having remembered something, it appears to be back for good. I would take you straight to where I keep those cuff links any time you ask now…except of course that the little rat of a relation never gave them back!
I have used this incident to reassess my mental functions and found pretty bleakly yesterday when I was having my weekly Mandarin Chinese session with my friend and kungfu instructor, Neil, that actually I remember very little of the Chinese that I learnt before 30th. October last year – haemorrhage day. It is not gone for ever but when I try to recall it I see a blank. The same process occurs as in the cuff link question. I feel like I have to re-route my brain to establish the vocabulary that I used to have by heart. Oh well, it is better to face up to this than to do what I have been doing – hiding the information from myself because the truth might just be to disturbing.
It will be a gradual process no doubt because a lot of complicated thought does actually hurt physically inside my head but I am on my way back I feel now that I know how to handle this.
I have put the scary thought behind me too which came with this realization. It is pretty clear that I was near to losing my memory when I was taken ill, just as my debilitating stammer on Sunday night showed me that I could have lost the ability to speak as well.
I suppose if I had murdered my grandmother and buried her under the kitchen floor, ram-raided an Oxfam shop or ever voted Conservative then I might wish that I could have lost my memory but I have great memories of my life and I want to hang on to them so I shall be a good boy now getting lots of sleep and keeping within my 17 units of alcohol a week until I am fully recovered.
Oh no! After accusing that fine upstanding relative of not returning my cufflinks I have just found them. Forgive me for the injustice especially as you were the person who took away that glass of red wine which I would’ve and shouldn’t have drunk if you had let me at my birthday lunch. The cufflinks were in a dish along with my bouncy ball, well, before you ask, everyone should have one to fidget with, and one of those things you get these days in flatpacks to screw in screws and which you always lose or forget about until you need them again. That isn’t brain damage that is what everyone does.