OK NOW I SEEM TO BE ON THE ROAD TO RECOVERY!
At least I was thinking so, I seem to be getting to the point where I could be trusted to be left without constant supervision. I think the biggest point to show that is when I became separated from the group on an outing. Because of me being blind on the left side, I did not see the group I was with go down a set of stairs. I was looking the other direction, then suddenly finding myself alone on the upper floor! I walked completely around the circular floor and never encountered them! I finally heard my handler calling for me from the floor below. I looked over the railing on the floor I was on and there he was walking calling my name. So I shouted down, “ YOU who!!!! “ and waved at him.
He looked up and shouted “Rick STAY WHERE YOU ARE!” I shouted back, “WHERE WOULD I GO SINCE I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE I AM!”.
It is part of my sense of humor and a statement of how lost I was feeling inside. Still not having a real understanding of the why’s and how’s I came to be in Tulsa or in the recovery unit.
I was not about to run off or mean to get lost in a strange city. I did not even have a real idea how to get back to Nero-Restorative! When I would get to go out I would often either not watch the outside or even if I did. Could not recall much of what I was seeing if it had been some time. That damnable hole in my memory was not allowing much to be retained as it was.
My mind was working so hard at coming back, it was not noticing much more then that!
I was trying to build a memory on nothing, without a foundation to hold to or associate with.
What I was reminding would be so distant that it could not reach that far ahead. Plus it was so busy with trying to remember that it would become lost. So the time had to come when I would stop the trying, I needed a rest. So I got where I was not so focused on recovering my past and more on remembering my present, I had to stop trying to recover the past and think about the present and future.
It was so much easier to let someone else do the thinking for me. At the time it was my handler. When I finally came home it was Joyce, I needed the time to recover myself, I knew I was in there somewhere. I just had to have the time to find myself once again, so I finally just decided to play along and give them the answers they were wanting. I would listen to what they would say and how they would say it. Getting from that what they were wanting me to say or do at the moment. The main focus to me was to get home. I just knew that is where I would get answers and start rebuilding me and the present. But until then, I had to get them to accept what I did and what I was saying. For now they were in control of my life and well-being.
Once I did start to listen to what they were wanting, I soon noticed that I was getting more freedom and less interference from them. It was working and the real me started to gain in control and thoughts. But sadly it would only be for the right now, as time would pass it became no longer a matter in my mind. And I still could not at least recall when things would happen again like I should have been able to. The work had to continue, it had to be a work in progress every minute till I could finally get to go to bed.
Once in bed and allowed to be alone, the mind would strive to recover and finally go to sleep.
Waking refreshed and feeling calm, sadly though it was not long after waking that I would be hit between the eyes. It was always some staff member that would suddenly ask a question and once again I was lost for an answer. Thinking was not so much a problem it was recalling that lead to the problems. I could make notes, but then what was important enough to do that? I just did not know, but it also depended on how soon after the incident that I would be asked. Something’s were sticking in my mind. Perhaps that was a sign of recovery? At the time I just could not tell if I was recovering or not?
From their action it seemed I was, judging from how much freedom I would get or how close my handler was to me. also, I was getting to know them better, like Albert I could talk to him and he was not so forceful as some of the others. A few of the other handlers I came to hate being in their charge. They did not seem to have patients or the ability to talk to me in a way I could understand. They would more order me around, not giving me the space to learn and grow in my recovery, I had not proven to them yet I was not a threat to me or others. All I could do was work with them to at least stay out of their way. Not interact with them more then I had to, I would only ask a question when there no other clues for me to see. I was pretty good when there was a clue to lead me where I should be or the answer I should give. As time would progress, I got better at it or at least maybe it was a sign my mind was working at coming back.
But that was not how it was feeling, to me it was more like I was playing a game with them.
I had to fool them, I had to go along in order to go home where I belonged and where I could get the answers about my life. I was not even sure though that once I did get the answers. That I was going to remember them, it was just seeming so hard to remember things! Such memory was just being so over powered by the gravity of the hole in my memory. It was sucking so many of my thoughts, I had to at least remember the simply things to get along. That were going to be the key to my release, to getting home again. I was not going to get back to being me until I could get home again.
I was not sure what to expect when I did go home, at the very least I had figured out that it may not be the same world I could remember! All I was feeling was that my recovery was not going to happen there! There was so much more involved in it then what they could provide. specially since the very information I needed was being used by them as a marker to judge my recovery. Their questioning every day about what was the current date and day was only being a distraction to me.
In a real sense these are things that changed everyday, I so needed that which I had forgotten and it could not be changed. It was that which was missing and more important to me it was the foundation on which my tomorrows are built.
Our today’s are built on our yesterday’s, it is the way we make sense of the today’s. Without them it is hard if not impossible to understand and relate to our today’s or tomorrow’s. It is like every morning you wake up a totally different person. In their life’s and with their problems and solutions, always such an alien world to you. Imagine if five days a week you were going to a totally different job. With the different responsibility, nothing you could relate to and only the past experiences to judge by. But what happens when you do not remember those past experiences?
At least not the fresh ones that could tell you how you got there and what lead up to being there! I was being so hampered by the lost of memory, for awhile I just was not able to connect the today’s with the yesterday’s. It seemed to be taking so much time before I could! That missing space was if not haunting me was standing in the way. Figuratively speaking, I was running a race and missing half of my foot! I had no time to adjust or figure out how to adjust to the missing appendage!
All I could do was hobble along and try to keep up with the pace. And not doing a very good job of it!
So all I could do was my best, as sad as that might be till I had the ability to affix at least something to that foot to take the missing part’s place. Something to function as that memory, I was just at a loss at the minute to know what that might be? Pushed and pushed to run, not knowing where I was going or where it lead to? I thought I just had to have faith in them, as much as it was feeling that it was not helping. Such a hard thing for me to do! It was like if someone asked you to take their hand. As they were walking toward the edge of the cliff! All you can see is the open air, there is nothing it seems to be in front of you!
I just had to have faith I would in time ether recover or at least adapt to it, learning to live with it. But in Nero Restorative it was not happening, I was not able to think about a different way to adapt! By the time those treatments were over I was just really too tired to think anymore! All I wanted to do was get lost in some TV or talking about other things with the patients I had came to like. ANYTHING EXCEPT FOR THE HOLE! Sometimes I would be so tired that all I was wanting to do was go to sleep. It became not so uncommon for my handler to suddenly notice I was not in the dayroom and come to my door.
Calling my name then come in to check on me, if I seemed OK to them I could just go to sleep. Sleep for me became a real escape, I could settle into my mind and have nothing to distract it from where ever it wanted to be. Home that I could remember, with Joyce or places and people I knew. Somewhere I was comfortable being, my mind could rest there and not be so alarmed. Asleep I could be me again, or at least whom I remembered! Not this person whom could not figure out where his room was at times. Not the prisoner of missing thoughts and knowledge, I could relax and be me!
The outing were helping with that in a sense, even through I found it easy to become lost from the others. We seemed to move so fast, turning a corner without any turn signals would leave me suddenly alone. I was even having trouble telling which way was South, North, East or West. It would happen every time we would be in a building for sometime without windows. Not being able to see the Sun, I would lose my sense of directions. A plague at times that only seemed to make the being lost even more difficult to deal with. That only solution for me was to stand still until someone notice I was no longer with them. Then when I would hear my name being called, to call back to them!
I would guess that to them it showed I was improving, or at least was not being so lost. Who knows? Since I could not always know what I would to be thinking, how could I know what they were thinking? But I did start to notice that I was getting a little more freedom and allowed to go my only way to a certain extent. Not to much though, the job of my keeper was to watch me when we were out.
And it was so easy for me to seem to be able to get lost at a moment’s notice did lead me to try to stay within eye sight of the group. It did make it harder to see what ever we were there to see, so sometimes I got where I just wanted to stay in the unit. At least in the unit there was little chance of me getting lost and confused. Or even if I did at least it would mean that I would not be somewhere I could not be found easily.
The unit would become boring to me, I so wanted to get out and see things and experience things. So I was willing to brave those thoughts and go out as often as I could. Being solely in my mind was not going to do me any good. Since my mind was being trapped in such a dated time frame, that was not going to help me get my life back. I just seemed to know that, no one had to tell me it was needed for my recovery. Besides, it did seem that they were going to interesting places that I wanted to go to. Such fresh and different places and things, even if it was to go to some Mall I just could not take the risk of not going. For some time there I did not even know if I had any money I could spend, but still it was new places and experiences!
It also seemed to help me get myself back, for every time I did come back feeling improved.
I was starting to remember more of the current and that started leading me to start to remember a little more of my past. My brain was working, though most of the time slower than I wanted it to,
At least it was working in such a fashion I was wanting it to, or so I was feeling it should at times.
It was when I was awake that my mind would seem so troubled, asleep I was feeling normal and quite happy. It was not being troubled by arrant thoughts or misguided one either. But about the time I would be feeling in control, I would be awaken. Suddenly and rocked back to the here and now.
As shocking as that always seem to be for me, then I had to once again rectify just where I was.
It really was like I had to repeat the same morning over and over again.
But in a sense that become the normal for me, I got where I could recover much faster.
It did seem it was taking less time to get my mind to once again accept and understand where I was. But it was still being troubled by the most burning question…Why am I here? This was not normal and I so needed it to be normal in order to regain the lost parts of my memories. I NEEDED TO GO HOME TO Joyce!!!
YES IT SEEMED A BAZAAR WORLD, BUT I HAD TO LIVE IN IT!
being lost and confused was not helping me any in order to get home so that had to stop! Something had to be developed in my mind. I had little need for note taking since my days as a Law enforcement officer. But that is what I had to start doing in order to get home, so I started making sure I had a writing instrument and a note book with me where ever I would go. Taking notes and remembering to read them often. Even if it was not something I was needing to remember at the time.
I soon was actually told to start doing it, then surprised them when I put out the notebook and ever-sharp!
The most difficult thing about that was having to carry something in my hand. I often needed to have both hands free. I just did not have anything that I could use to carry the notebook, since my balance was so off. The only solution I could come up with was to carry my notebook inside my shirt.
So there I was walking with a square bulge in my shirt, as if I was not already looking kind of odd while walking. Again I guess it was showing them I was improving since they actually told me it was a good idea. That made me very happy, I knew I needed to show improvement in some fashion. Even if it was so small that normally it would be overlooked. But this was a test of me, a test of everything I was or in this case could be,
In many ways I was such a blank slat, my head often felt so empty of thought. I could generally tell when I had to go to the bathroom. And how to use a spoon or fork to eat, but much more thoughts then that I could easily become so lost! The inputs I was receiving were coming so fast and hard. I just could not seem to slow them down enough to think about them. And about the time I did, it would suddenly change to something I could not relate to. Or if I could relate them to something I managed to be able to remember. It would change suddenly right before my eyes to something I could not.
The World just seem to spin too fast for me, People spoke to rapidly for me to be able to truly understand. Often speaking of something I could not see or could not relate to? The knowledge I could summon often was too outdated to apply, I was not speaking up for myself yet, never sure what to say and afraid to say anything. It always hurt more to be told I was wrong, at this point I was more wrong then right! The damn hole in my memory was gaping and seem to suck almost everything in to it. Before I had a chance to understand things, or relate them to something I could understand.
I looked forward to going to sleep, for some reason it was when I would be asleep that I felt normal some how? Or at least the world seemed more normal in my dreams then when I was awake.
Awake I was in madness, awake I was surrounded by unfamiliar things and people. My mind was not normal when awake. It did not function as it use to, clogged with arrant thought and imputes it could not handle them as fast as they seem to come. I either had to adjust or give up totally, it seemed to me to be easier to give up. But deep inside, I just could not let myself do that! I little voice that I could not hear all the words was telling I just could not give up!
Soon I started to note little changes, at first they seem to be in the staff and Doctors I dealt with. Not in such words, but more in noticeable freedoms and allowances to me. Not so quick to ask where I was going or doing? Consciously, I did not always know what was changing. But soon I was noticing more obvious changes in how I was treated. I liked it, though I could not always truly understand why. Or what those changes were meaning for me, I just knew I was liking them for me! I was starting to notice things, what would change and how it would change. It was still awhile before I was understanding how to read them. Some so slight they would be hardly noticeable, but once I did start to really pay attention. They were there and I could tell it was at least getting better.
THE WRITING ON THE WALL.
On a certain wall would be posted the week’s schedule for every patient , by name and room number. The week came when because of practice, I would not just check this weeks and write it down. But if there the following week was posted that too, to my surprise many of the other patients had a following week’s schedule but I did not! “Could it mean? maybe just maybe? .. I was going home the following week! I had made too much progress I thought to be sent somewhere else, I was working far to hard for me to be sent somewhere else. So it had to mean I was going home, at least that is what I was thinking or hoping.
It just had to mean that! I could not let myself think about it meaning anything but that!
Being that I was so lacking of the answers I was needing, home I figured I could get those answers.
It is where my life is, it is where my soul lived on this earth so home it just had to mean for me.
Marking off the days became so much more important to me, As the week progressed, the excitement was almost too much to contain! I did not want to get my hopes too high, in case that was not what that meant. But I wanted it so much, I needed it so much. Longer might have meant there was no recovery. It was almost like missing a leg, I was so stumbling and falling that I never seemed to get balanced!
At least that was the way it was mentally, though physically I was also having some problems.
I had went from having to be pushed in a wheelchair to having someone holding to my arm at my side. to finally using something like a cane to balance on. It was so odd to me that my legs seemed to work fine. Yet I was having so much trouble just standing or walking in a straight line! I knew I was not just needing Joyce to help me mentally but to lean on physically too! The hole so felt all consuming. A large and gaping hole that would consume my every thought and actions,
I had no idea what to expect when I did get home, at that point I did not actually remember the house we were now living in. I just knew I had to get back to it in order to regain both my sanity and my memories. It was too much like a guessing game for me to try and remember the more recent parts of my life. Though educated guesses, still the margin of error was too high to feel comfortable with. And it was not like they were going to fill in the blanks, since they used those answers to judge my progress. No it was only going to be when I got home, back to my life and things in it. That I would I have what I needed to recover the memories and my life.
So the fight continued, the struggle was on to not just regain. But to remember the current as what they were wanting from me. Having someone to talk to and whom in a real sense understood what I was experiencing helped. Will and Diana having both having unexpected heart attacks and Diana also suffering from memory lost. They became my allies in the struggle, someone I could talk to that was not judging or evaluating my every thought or impressions. Sometimes I so needed that, just to be able to speak out loud and not have to go in to a greater detail. They did not know my history so they could not actually make me feel worse by correcting it. But could understand what I was talking about when I talk about the feelings of having come to be there.
I will have to admit it, but once I discovered these friends and allies that the place did not seem bad to me. It could actually be kind of fun to be there, I was finding my place there. The person I generally am would come out. Also since I was having an idea what others were going through. I was becoming someone who could understand and also not judge or try to dismiss what they would say. At times I would assume the role of the protector. sometimes explain to the staff what they were going through and how it makes one feel. That helped me too, since I was having many of the same problems. I could explain them in a personal reference to my overseer and the councilor. Becoming more verbal and speaking thoughts. I soon was moving on past the hole and into what would have to be the future for me.
That future had to come later, for now it had to be the present and what it was holding. Understanding the present, accepting would be the course of the day no matter what day it would be!
Not that it was easy for me, the present was so strange and out of place to me. At times I just could not relate to it. Starting to take notes was helping, I then had reference to go to and explain the happening. The passage of time was a real problem for me as days would often melt into each other.
I had to depend on an outside source to tell me what day of the week it was. Often it would have to be the board on the wall or even the one in the day room. Both were being updated often, my handlers were pretty good at that.
But once I did notice the lacking of a next week schedule for me the week I was in seem to drag. And I dire not say anything! I did not want to endanger being released by making it plain I knew when or so I was thinking. The last week I did my best to always be where I was suppose to be and doing what I had to do. Checking for changes in the agenda often so it would not appear I was missing anything I was to keep track of. But on the morning of the release date, I had packed up all my stuff and was ready! I am thinking that was the first real hint they had I was aware that would be the date!
So when I saw Joyce come through the door I rushed to my room and was already carrying some of it out. I will admit though, I did have some fright as to what would happen next. I could never be sure of my thinking or thoughts. Besides, there was always the possibility that I might simply be going to somewhere else and not home.
I AM GOING HOME!
It did in deed mean what I was praying for, I did go home with Joyce! They loaded me in a wheel chair. And my things on a cart and both were taken on the elevator to the ground floor. Joyce pulled the car up the ramp and everything was loaded into the car. So there I was, heading off to my life again. But still not truly knowing just which life that was? The one I could remember or some life I had forgotten? I got filled in on the way home to some things I would ask about. But I would be totally surprised when we did get home and pulled into the drive.
I was having no memory of this house? It was not ether one I could remember! If I had been simply dropped off at the city limits. I would not have had a clue of how to get to my own house! Since it was a part of what I was missing, it might have meant that only if I happen to pass it would I suddenly go “Ah there it is!”. Oddly once we did get home it did feel so familiar to me, though when I had the first chance to explore on my own. I did go through the entire house, from the first floor to the other end of the basement. That really was all it took. just once I saw it I did remember it!
Funny how that worked, I found many things I had forgotten was that way for me. All it would take would be for me to see them again. Then it was like I had seen them for years, I had to just set back when we would go somewhere and look out the window. But some places had to wait till I could drive myself. IT would not have made sense or it would have maybe alarmed Joyce for me to ask to be driven by either house we had lived in before. Since I could remember them and where they were. They were sights and information I was not needing to regain. And that list of what I did need to remember was long enough.
Fortunately not all that much had changed in Augusta, so I could feel comfortable there. I did not have to be told much about it or where we would go. Only the very new places might it have to be explained to me. And the changes in the places I could remember happened years later. Well after I got back home and had been able to drive myself again. (I still on occasions like to just drive around looking at the older places). I was not going out of town by myself, I nether felt comfortable or wanting to be all that by myself. Besides, spending time with Joyce I enjoyed, I had so many years to be caught up on. So talking and asking questions helped and she could see what I seem to have forgotten. Then fill it in, so I could know and understand the depths of my memory lost. I truly did not understand how deep it was since I had no reference point to compare what I could remember with what I was missing.
It did amaze me how quickly I was picking things up, often just a reminder of something I had forgot. It seemed that it was still there, just not for me to access unhesitatingly. It could be maddening to me since it was important to my life. To being with Joyce and a part of the daily activities of life. Plus to be somewhere else would have meant that I would have missed out on so much. Though that can mean it would be overwhelming, often leading to more confusion and worry.
It was still better for me to know and be aware of what was changing and how it was effecting things.
I was being very protected, a life that may sound to be quite good on the face of it. But that is not much of a life in the end game.
So there I was, struggling to adapt and understand while still dealing with my menial handicap. For the first few months, I was well protected and taken care of almost liken to a toddler. Allowed to walk on my own, but being watched so I did not get into harm or go too far from sight.
There was some treatment after getting home, medical did not take all that much concern but the memory and mental did. The struggle to regain short term memory was proving to be much harder then I would have thought. It was proving to be near impossible for my mind to do on it’s own.
The physical was easier, it was to work muscles and retrain muscle memory in the mind. Since physically there was nothing wrong with my legs or other parts of the body.