Well, I managed to stumble my way through the holidays and I lived to tell about it (not that you would want to hear about it).
Now, here in this space, I am hoping to stumble onto something interesting to write about.
Since I started my anti-seizure medication last month, my mind seems to be as slow and weak as my body has been since my stroke. It’s kind of funny; the stroke seemed to affect my body more than my mind until this medication came along. I’ve had people compliment me on my writing, and I, in turn, try to encourage them to write. But everyone I’ve spoken with has declined, saying they can’t write. Invariably, I say to them, I can do it, and I’ve had a stroke.
I have had some difficulty lately, though.
The anti-seizure medication does seem to leave me feeling mentally duller and slower. I had intended to do a piece for the new year, about resolutions. But I just couldn’t seem to get my mind in gear to write it.
If I was one to keep a diary, I probably would have had to make several entries that read like this:
Was going to do some writing today. But every time I sat down to write, a while later, I was waking up instead. I did manage to come around once and eat some grapes, though. I like grapes a lot. One time I did get up and go for a walk to keep my circulation going, and when I was finished, I felt awake and aware enough to get some writing done. But I guess my brain went into what my friend Heidi calls battery saver mode, because after a while I was waking up again. I did eat some more grapes, though.
The first week of the new year, I had some medical appointments. One appointment was for a blood draw, and then a consultation with my primary care doctor. Then it was up to Seattle to see the neurosurgeon and a radiologist.
My seizure had set up a new round of concern with all of these people. But there were some bits of good news. Although the neurosurgeon absolutely ruled out the need for brain surgery again for my AVM (I have written about my AVM before), he still thought radiation treatments might be called for and referred me to a radiologist.
More good news: my blood pressure appears to have stabilized, so although there is lessened chance of another stroke, I still have a chance at another one. I think it was said that my AVM is a bit smaller, which would make it more treatable, and radiation might still be beneficial. But there is also the chance of radiation doing some damage, but considerably less than my chances if we don’t do anything.
So I asked if I could stay under observation a while longer to see how things go, and he agreed to that. So, no major procedures for the time being. I would do cartwheels (if I could) to celebrate that news.
But there was one other consistent good theme that all of these medical professionals touched on: unprompted, they all said something complimentary about my mind. I had commented to each about how tired and sluggish I felt mentally.
My primary care doctor told me he thinks I have a very disciplined mind, and that he thinks that it’s a key to my recovery.
The radiologist’s assistant called me a polymath and a renaissance man in my interview with her.
The radiologist called my mind impressive and called me astute.
Again, this was all while I was telling them how dull and slow my mind feels lately.
They are not mental health professionals, but at this point I will accept any and all compliments. Strokes don’t seem to be associated much with generating or facilitating brain power.
Now all I have to do is get my body in the same shape as people seem to think my mind is in.
Isaac Peterson grew up on an Air Force base near Cheyenne, Wyoming. After graduating from the University of Wyoming, he embarked on a career as an award-winning investigative journalist and as a semi-professional musician in the Twin Cities, the place he called home on and off for 35 years. He also doesn’t mind it at all if someone offers to pick up his restaurant tab. Peterson also welcomes reader comments. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.