Looking demons in the eye

Patient cure thyself. I think that is the right cliche but I often get my cliches in a twist.

This sounds mad I know but today I begin the last week in October remembering that a year ago it was not only the last week in the month but nearly the last week in my life.

On the 30th. October I suffered an apparently major brain haemorrhage which came out of nowhere, left me unconscious and alone at home for six hours and which was then followed by one or probably two “grand mal” fits which led to a fractured spine and a period of semi-consciousness in hospital.

Well, a year on, against some medical expectations, I am still around and quite possibly heading towards a full recovery.

The truth will be discovered on the anniversary of that fateful day because on the 30th. this October I am having an MRI brain scan which may show that the haemorrhaged blood has at last left my brain.

I have bored you all with stories of my recovery here all year but, keep patience, it will all be over soon – I hope.

A year is a significant time span. We mark their passing at drunken parties, celebrate an increase in our experience of them with birthdays and watch nature as it obeys their rules as the seasons change. I know it is ridiculous in many ways but I am forced to mark this anniversary: the imminent arrival of a date that could have been my deathday.

It is, I am sure, a remnant of the trauma which most people suffer if they have had undergo sudden unexpected and life threatening illness. Those disjointed memories are my only grip on a period which was mostly about being in a coma and later coming to terms with that moment when the lights just simply went out.

During these often wet October days when the daylight gets shorter, it is easy to feel depressed. I have not avoided grim thoughts as I look back over this time. A doctor asked me when I came out of hospital if I needed counciling and I proudly said no – I guess I thought that counciling was for weaklings. Well, I don’t regret my decision except when I think how interesting it must be to have a serious one to one session with a psychologist.

I do think though that I have been counciling myself and this week, I have given myself some advice. Don’t try to bury these irrational fears which have come flooding back at anniversary time, they are here for a reason. I have taken my own advice and embraced this often disturbing series of flashbacks.

Mixed with the gloom is a spirit of celebration because I have learnt a lot from my condition, become in many ways a new person who is now, with the passing of that anniversary, more than ready to begin a new life.

I think I have got here by looking difficult things in the face so I am not going to let these unexpectedly vivid images of a year ago come knocking me off my course. It is in this spirit that I say patient heal thyself.


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