Thursday, May 13, 2010


Today's six months post op and from the outside I think most folks would assume I'm "a hundred percent" back to "normal."

But inside, it's still new territory in some ways and I still find it fascinating. The ways my mind connects thoughts and thinks about some familiar stuff has changed. I've already cited too many times the loss of my compulsive list making and my change in taste when it comes to Meryl Streep (everyone finds that one weird, as do I).

I still have more trouble writing and playing the piano than I did for most of my life (U started havin—woops I'll leave that to show you what I still have to take time to correct it seems in almost every line I write, I meant of course: I started having trouble with both those skills months before the operation, as they turned out to be symptoms).

I had a funny thing happen the other day. I've been doing graffiti style writing for envelopes I put birthday and other occasional cards in, from the bubble lettering my sisters did on their book covers (anyone remember the days when kids used brown paper bags as covers for school books?) to the 1970s NYC subway car graffiti that's still around in this part of the country.

I always just winged it and ended up making it work, at least to my satisfaction. I never—NEVER—in all the years I've been doing that, over half a century now, had any trouble fitting the names on the envelopes, I just always had a good sense of space and proportion.

But last weekend my youngest asked me to "write Nana in graffiti letters like you do" on the envelope for a card he bought for his grandmother and I started writing these bubble letters and ran out of room. For a four letter word! Never happened before. All I got on in a row were the first three letters: NAN. I had to write the final "A" underneath it (and my little guy added a bubble hyphen after the "NAN").

No big deal. Understand I am not complaining or saying this doesn't happen to other people who haven't had brain surgery, I'm just reporting, because I find it so interesting, this obvious change in my ability in this one area since the operation.

Lots of little stuff like that. But the good news is my brain made all the right choices for me when I did that reading last night and it was like I wasn't thinking but just letting my brain direct me and realizing only afterwards what happened. If that makes sense. In other words, I was overwhelmed by my inability to organize my thoughts and what I should choose to read so I just let my brain tell me, as if it were being controlled remotely by some other force, which I guess in a sense it was, and then watched to see where it led me and was amazed as it edited pages I held in my hand and led me to the conclusion that seemed the perfect resolution without any premeditation or even simultaneous cognition, it felt like I was just along for the ride.

Good to know that a lifetime of doing readings, all that experience, found its own way to connect whatever brain cells and synapses it would jerryrig together to get me to do what experience had trained me for. If you get what I mean. Not easy to describe, but a total kick to experience. Anyway, happy spring everyone (except those down under) it seems to have finally arrived after yesterday's winter weather and last week's middle-of-summer spree.


Elisabeth said...

Half a year since you went 'under that knife'. How amazing.

I think I met you on your blog within the first few weeks. I remember being so impressed by one so articulate in such a short space of time post brain surgery.

My how time flies.

Lally said...

And thank you for joining the rise Elisabeth.