Gee Whiz

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four. fresh eyes

Time passed - I can't say much more about it than already has been said. Rest, rise, routine, repeat.

Home.

I was home for ages. In the past four years I hadn't spent more than 21 days at home any one time. I like having my own space, be master of my own destiny. It's got me this far somehow.

After hospital this was the place I was gonna call home now, my home. It was foreign, everything had carried on to spite me. I had spent two weeks trapped in amber.

I'd gotten quite used to my environment in the ward - Stockholm syndrome I s'pose. It sucked but it was consistent, something I never valued much, but I'd retained my sanity.

When I returned to my ma's I wanted to be back to the old normal, but I didn't rate my chances. I was tired a lot, but I didn't really do anything, resting all the time is exhausting. I smoked a lot to take the edge off, then drank a lot of coffee to put the edge back on. I was mentally drained in the same way I was in hospital.

I wanted to do something worth doing, I get that feeling a lot now. I feel like up until this point I haven't yet done the thing that makes having been here fucking things up for 24 years worth all the effort. I hadn't tried really - writing this is another exercise in trying to find that thing. I can't hunt or gather so I'll keep painting on the walls of the cave, hopefully someone will find this in a few thousand years and appreciate it's naive charm.

Before I started writing this I tried to hash this whole mad fuckery out in my own head - it took me until now to take it seriously.

Everyone gets a knock around now and again. But having shared with you I'm kinda seeing it with fresh eyes - as if it happened to someone else. Fuckin hell it sounds wild - apart from the lying down for 2 weeks bit.

Gareth GrahamComment
iii. until further notice

Day three - hearing recovering etc.

The days go in in a very peculiar way when you're in a hospital bed.

Moment-to-moment it's exhaustingly long, it isn't just easy to languish - when the lights are out it takes substantial mental effort to do anything else.

Hanging on moments is all I really did, I did that for two million seconds give or take - but when it comes to recalling specific days beyond the first and last few, you're outta luck.

The plan initially was to write a day by day account of what went on in those two weeks - from now on I guess I'll pick days between then and today, whenever I decide to stop, since today is different tomorrow and so on.

 

Even if prompted I probably couldn't share much apart from memories a few bland meals, the time my ma brought me some cookies and visits from friends. You might be shocked to know that head injuries have a litany of side effects - I couldn't quite say if it was that, or the ensuing shame and stress that made me feel like total shit.

At some stage a doctor told me frankly, that moment had snapped me violently into a new normal. There aren't any coping strategies for that, recovery occupied a nebulous timeframe, one that ranged from "until further notice" to until you aren't alive again.

 

While the repetition did it's best to distract - there was a tremendous sense of uncertainty to my new normal.

I didn't know when I would be able to return home.

I didn't know what would happen when I was home.

I wasn't quite sure how much I wanted to be home, I wasn't well - not until further notice.

 

I went back to sleep, I slept a lot, there was fuck all else to do. For a bit I started to feel less and less like the person I was before. An overwhelming change of circumstance will do that to anyone. I fed him and brushed his hair and wore his clothes - which I was fortunate to be doing given the circumstances.

I liked the same music, and I knew the same people, I liked them, I liked this life very much, for what it's worth. I had been wrapped up in it before, and I would continue to be until further notice.

I'm not sure quite how much I have left to say - it's tough to conclude since the story is still being written, the ending isn't in sight - not until further notice.

Gareth Graham
ii. the lights are out

Day two was much like day one - hearing was recovering, CT scan, hands on chins, shaking heads. Back to bed.
On it’s own being there makes you ill-at-ease, they do a fine job of pulling you out of those moments, being offered a cup of tea at 8am every morning are something to depend upon.

Those mundanities divert your attention from dwelling on the idea that you may well have irreparably fucked up your life. These kinds of thoughts aren’t recommended for a speedy recovery, but I still do find time for them when all the lights are out.

I tried to envision what waited in future, I think I saw potential in a way - I still do; in fact, I see myself as an optimist.
In these moments I saw what happened as a dramatic method of stirring myself from apathy, it haunted me - lurks in everyone - cynicism is trendy. I despise it - but I understand it, there doesn’t really seem to be a more rational response to such a comprehensively chaotic world, and it’s unreasonable to expect everyone to replicate my method of gaining new perspective. I'm sure I wouldn't recommend it.

Life is a series of different states, you gotta always be prepared to adapt to the new circumstances that come along with them.
There’s a superset these states inhabit that only changes twice. You’re not alive, you are, then you aren’t. At this point I was.

I wasn’t frightened, because I was alive. I didn’t have the room to be afraid at this point, I had approached that final state change but I didn’t experience it. There was no value in wondering what mightn’t have been, why exhaust myself wondering about all the things I’d never get to experience? In a grim way opportunity had presented itself, merely by letting me carry on.

Besides, I already knew exactly what it would be like.

It’s probably different for everyone, but for me it was like every day prior to April of 1993 - up until then I wasn’t alive for the first time.

Gareth Graham
i. riding the storm

It's been a while - but not everyone knows exactly how I spent my summer, so I wrote it down, read away - if you don't I'll never know.
I guess this might be entry one in a series, who knows?

Here goes,

Ever fallen over? We all do, gotta get up, dust yourself off and plug away. You can't eat gravel forever.
I fell, it was really bad. I woke up and a few hours were missing, no blood. But I was in hospital, I wanted out so I gave my ma a call. Doctors don't let you walk out if you can't really walk and were found in an alley unconscious. My ma came round to see what was up - the doctor wanted to do a CT scan, I couldn't hear in my left ear and that was my main sticking point. I can't be deaf in one ear - they don't make eyepatches for ears, so you don't even look cool, I'd go blind in one eye before - already sort of am and I don't wear my glasses. There aren't many things worth reading. Not even this. 
I got the scan and sat about. It felt like ages because it was, typically a normal brain scan is fairly easy to read because there's no need for interpretation, this wasn't a normal brain by any estimation. It was bad, worse than usual.
Brain injuries aren't about the first whack, that's the best part really, it's all about the shape of the skull. The skull is like a little cave - stalagmites, stalactites and all. That initial whack is called a coup injury, it's nout, just an inconvenience but that sends the brain bouncing about - the contrecoup.
My brain was fucked.
Swelling, bruising, scarring.
The middle of your brain is supposed to stay put - mine didn't. I'm not sure that necessarily does anything, but it typically means trouble.
I'm taken up to a ward - I'd call it home for the next two weeks.

The day went on much as any other first day somewhere does - the bizarre shake up of routine, boredom, adjustment. I was finally right when I felt like I was being watched. I felt like I shouldn't be there - I didn't belong there, I was still me - that had to be enough. They wouldn't take my word for it.
I slept, sleeping in hospital is peculiar. The beds never feel right - "making you comfortable" isn't a thing you wanna hear though. There's always noise. Ticks. Beeps. Coughs. I was surrounded by other people with similar injuries but they were far worse off it seemed. The beeps were disconcerting, I don't know if they're supposed to be regular intervals or not - no beeps is the ideal number of beeps.
I didn't have any beeping machines - that was a positive.

 

That's what I got for now - hope you like!

Gee x

Gareth Graham