I stand in my office and stare at the paper in my hand. I just want to check it one last time before sending it off to the State.
That look right. I put it down, pause, then pick it up again.
Right. I pause, staring at it. Something isn’t right. Suddenly, my intellect bring reality into focus.
It isn’t 2014. It’s 2015.
Huh. Inside me, that elusive sense of internal time confidently states – No, it’s 2014. Obviously.
My intellect unequivocally states “It is definitely 2015”.
Reality suddenly shifts. This conflict between my intellect and the rest of my self makes the ground, the walls of my office bend and flex slightly in my vision. The idea that it might be 2014 becomes more possible, feels possible. What month, what year it is feels flexible, like my life is a continuum and I could show up at any point along the path at any given moment.
Things settle. I fix the error in my stormwater reports. I feel myself flush with anger, frustration, that I am still having trouble remembering the year. It has been months since I have had that difficulty.
Since my head injury, reality has been a lot less fixed, a lot less concrete. The extra energy needed to remember basic things – like the month or the year or the day of the week – sometimes just isn’t available. Or, maybe that energy gets reassigned to other tasks during the day to allow me to function. I am not sure. When I am tired, little pieces around the edges tend to crumble, get loss. Like the specific name used to refer to the machine fixer (aka mechanic) yesterday, or feeling desperately overwhelmed when faced with an unexpected task today, or forgetting the year again this past Friday. I am still mostly functional – my brain actually does a pretty good job holding it together, considering all the tasks required of it – but some of the finesse and higher functioning expected of an adult is gone.
Last week, I opened up the medicine cabinet in the bathroom and couldn’t find my toothbrush. The one that was in my usual place looked completely unfamiliar. Mary must have put hers in the wrong place. There was another toothbrush in Mary’s usual place by the toothpaste that looked similar to the one I had been using, but it was in Mary’s place so it is probably hers, right? Blankness. I was tired. No information was available about where my toothbrush went. I used the one in my usual spot (thinking I might be using Mary’s – sorry Mary) because I needed to clean my teeth. Put it back in the same place and went to bed.
It wasn’t until the afternoon of the next day that I remembered. The blue toothbrush is mine. I got it at my last dentist appointment and I have been using it for a month.
But I didn’t remember. No particular reason why not, other than I was tired. No particular reason.
It is that fragmentation that is challenging. Now that I am more functional, it is that bit of crumbling around the edges that is most upsetting to me. Most days I pass. I speak normally (usually no stutter now), I walk normally (usually without losing my balance), I think normally (linear thinking is fun!) – no one would know I hit my head 16 months ago.
But I do. Every single day, I still do.