I’ve been trying to pick up my writing practice again since I brought my son home from the hospital a few weeks ago. The day of Corbin’s accident, my writing activities came to a screeching halt. For the first week or so after the accident, I was in complete shock. I could barely function, and I couldn’t think past the “right now.” I lived in the moment in a way that I don’t remember ever doing before. Family members brought me books to read, coloring books to scribble in, and yarn to crochet with. I couldn’t concentrate on any of it.
After that first week, my brain began to thaw, but I still couldn’t concentrate on anything important. I picked up a crochet hook and some of the yarn that my aunt sent and got my hands busy. Crocheting is good for my anxiety. My favorite pattern involves counting to ten over and over and over again, and I find it strangely soothing. Maybe it’s my OCD.
I tried to at least pick up my journal to chronical the days during our five weeks in the hospital, but even that couldn’t hold my attention for more than a minute here and there. Most days, I would spend my mornings waiting for the doctors to do their rounds so I could listen in when they got to Corbin. In the afternoon, I would lay down and take a nap. My days revolved around catching the doctors on rounds, ordering room service, and counting down the hours until naptime and bedtime. (It’s no wonder I gained ten pounds while we were living in the hospital!)
Some days, I feel like my son’s brain has recovered from his traumatic brain injury faster than mine has. Almost losing a child is a harrowing experience, even when you are lucky enough to have that child recover as quickly as mine has. He is nothing short of a miracle, and I think about how lucky I am every day that he is still whole and still himself for the most part. It could have been so much worse. He is lucky he slept through the worst of it.
In the early days, I worried that I might not ever be able to bring him home. He suffered from “sundowning” and threw violent temper tantrums at night. He was very unkind to everyone around him during the day.
He had to be tied down to the bed for several days because he kept trying to rip his tubes out. On one particularly bad night, the nurses put padded gloves on his hands because he had figured out how to undo his restraints. Eventually, the nurses had to call security because they were worried he was becoming more than they could handle. They sent me out of the room, and I stood in the hallway listening to my son scream and fight. The doctor on call that night finally showed up and sedated him.
What if this was our new normal? I was terrified to take him home. I knew I couldn’t manage him on my own.
But after his second surgery, things started to calm down. I insisted that the doctors wean him off of the narcotics before we left the hospital. He became more and more himself. Before I knew it, he was almost completely himself again. Meanwhile, I struggled to get back to me.
My brain worked in slow motion. I went looking for a pair of clearance sandals and ended up wearing my new sandals for over a week before realizing that I had somehow bought a mismatched pair. One sandal was a size bigger than the other one, and the insides were two different shades of black. No wonder I kept tripping on that one sandal!
It’s been almost two whole months since the accident, and I’m still not feeling quite like myself. We all occasionally get up and walk into the next room to do something and forget what we went in there for. I do it all day, every day. I often spend my days walking in circles trying to remember why I got up from my chair, or I stare at my laptop trying to remember what I was about to work on.
Now that I’m working from home, I have to make a list of what needs done each day and refer to it constantly to stay on track with my job. I’m keeping a notebook next to me while I work and writing down every little thought that might be of any importance to make sure I don’t lose it. What if this is my new normal?
The other day, Corbin and I walked into Barnes and Noble and started browsing through the books at the front of the store. I found a book of 300 Writing Prompts and thought, “Maybe this is what I need to get myself writing again.”
Maybe this fog will lift if I write my way through it. Writing has always been my best therapy. Now that I’m beginning to regain my concentration skills, perhaps all I need is to start exercising them and rebuild my stamina. Yes, I would buy this book and get back to writing.
“I think I’ll get this book,” my son said.
I looked across the table to find him holding a copy of the same book that I was buying. I held mine up to show him. We laughed. I bought two copies of 300 Writing Prompts that day.
I’ve been trying to write a little something every day. I’m not pushing myself too hard. I’ll do a writing prompt one day and a little blog post the next. Maybe I’ll write an entry in my journal. I’m writing a little more each day; feeling a little more normal each day.
Some of my writing prompts have led to some good writing. I’ll be sharing some of it here with you. I’m even about to open the Word file for one of my novels in progress as soon as I finish writing this blog post. Yes, I am definitely beginning to feel like me again. Maybe the damage the semi-truck did to my brain won’t be permanent after all.
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