Monday, April 4, 2011
Walks, Talks and Quirks
My wife being gone was hard and I tried to call her every chance I got. Luckily there was some secondary support, the people I was being hosted with were awfully kind and typically were the ones taking my blood pressure and pulse and making sure I ate. Also several friends from the area or not too far came by and shared their kindness.
The best man from my wedding, Gil, drove 7 hours in spent a couple of hours with me and drove home as it was the only day he could spare. A friend who lived 3 hours away, Linda spent a couple of day. I got to spend time with friends who lived right there in the city. My little brother and mother were there on a daily basis. My friend Alex would spend the second half of the week with me. With almost all of them, I’d want to have our conversations on the road while we were walking rather than just sitting around somewhere. My energy levels were still off because I was still sleeping only in very short intervals but I still wanted to be doing something physical despite the fact I couldn’t run, lift weights or play any sports so I just went walking. By day 4 or 5, I was going on 2 or 3 two to three mile walks. The conversations varied depending on who I was walking with. I’d be thankful for the company and would say that but apparently was also very repetitive. I would have the same conversation two or three times within the same walk and people would just kindly put up with it. Likewise, I would blank out on 10-12 basic words a day, each day a few more but it was a weird phenomenon where I could clearly see the item in my mind but I couldn’t come up with the word for it in any language. Words like insulation where I could see an attic full of white stuff and could state that and say the stuff that is in there that keeps your house warm or cool. Eventually rather than having people tell me the word I’d ask them for hints though for some reason I’d still miss it most of the time. The doctors had warned me about this, that some gaps would be there between the neurons and that the smart thing would be to explain it to people and have them tell you what it was rather than hiding it.
Also took a clear appreciation to people with unique names like Gil because anyone who had a common name like Joe or Jerry whenever I would think of their name, everyone who I knew by that name would come to mind immediately. It was strange because I was putting no conscious effort into it but when their name floated, a dozen or so would come into the screen of my mind. Joe Paniagua, Joe Chavez, Joe Stanley when I was talking to Joe Jones. Staying with a Jim made that particular quality interesting. However, luckily, I didn’t know any other Kianas.
I also started calling various people within a day or two of getting ‘home.’ For whenever first time I would make phone, I had actually written a list of people who had put in time and effort into being very kind and helpful through this whole process. But soon I started calling a much longer list of people and while I haven’t checked my cell phone bill to see how much I did it, clearly my memory was still off because a couple of people have called and said I called them a day or two apart and essentially had the same conversation.
During the walk and talks was when my mind felt clearest. I would talk about some highly emotional things like hoping I was going to get my job back. I talked to my little brother David about the fact that while the surgery had gone well to remember that this was just buying me time and that I was likely still going to be dead within 10 years. I had tried to have this conversation with my mother but it had gone too awkward and David stated he would have it and make sure she was aware.
My wife called rarely and briefly but still every day and said that she was sorry for not being in more contact. She stated getting back to work was stressful and distracting. I even mentioned to my host that while I wasn’t glad she was stressed, I was glad that the source of stress wasn’t me. I told her I’d help with anything now of when I got back and that I couldn’t wait until the walks and talks were with her.