The moon is glorious tonight. I watched it rising over the ridge opposite my little cabin, clearing the cluster of dwellings wherein lie the miniature dachshund family, the hound dog puppy that is growing bigger and louder every day, the chicken lady and her chickens, many fewer roosters than there used to be because they shot (yes, shot) and ate a bunch of them (they had 8 roosters, far too many), the guinea fowl that shriek like banshees…in short, the small village full of critters and the people who take care of them, that live in the little hollow across the road from me.
I have been attempting to jump-start my brain tonight. It doesn’t want to kick into gear. I try to think about something, and the next thing I know, I’m not thinking of anything at all. I start a task, and what seems like moments later I find myself doing something entirely different, and it’s two hours later.
How does this happen?
One advantage is that I can’t seem to get too upset about it, because my brain can’t stay on task long enough for even that. Well, that’s a blessing, I suppose. I have to thank G-d for that, because otherwise I’d just go from being insane to being crazy.
Speaking of labels, I’m astounded by the level of stigma that still exists out there. I see it everywhere in the media. Maybe I’m just paranoid. “Just” paranoid? No. It’s real. It exists. As real as the nose on my face.
The other day a family friend visited us. This friend had a cancerous lesion on his nose and his ear, and he had to have quite radical surgery to remove the cancer. He has subsequently had numerous surgeries to reconstruct his face.
His surgery team did a great job. You really can’t see any sign of the reconstruction unless he’s in direct light. Then you can see the “seams” where they put him back together.
But he’s hyperaware of the difference between his face now and his face before the cancer. He feels like people stare at him. His wife shared a story about some rude lady who did notice his scars and said, “What happened to your FACE?” Isn’t that everybody’s worst nightmare? To have your face look wierd, and have people notice it?
I feel that way about my brain. If people could only see the way my brain feels to me, they’d say, “What happened to your BRAIN?” And I find myself wondering, “Can they tell? Do they know how weird my thinking is right now? Can they see my Face, the one with all the scars? But that scarred Face is on the inside. The one on the outside seems to look perfectly “normal.”
In a way, it heightens my connection with my dad, who has dementia as a result of his 50-plus year dance with diabetes. Unlike people with Alzheimer’s-type dementia, Dad is very much aware of the malfunctioning of his brain. It causes him great distress. Dad is a brilliant man with a broken brain, and he knows it.
We spend every Wednesday together: it’s Mom’s day off. Dad and I very much enjoy our Wednesdays. Some days are better than others, of course. And that depends entirely on how both of our brains are functioning.
This past Wednesday we had our little moments, when neither of us understood the other at all. This led to a bit of mental scuffling, as we each tried to wrap our warped brain around both our own thoughts and the other’s. But we got it worked out. It was all because I had to get Dad to take a shower and get dressed, ideally before Mom got home, because they were invited out that night. And I only had five hours in which to get that accomplished.
It was a little like steering a boat in a quarter sea. The boat pitched to and fro, and side to side, and my job was to keep it going straight, on course. Well, we did get there. Not exactly on time, but close enough for jazz.
Dad used to give me a very hard time about why I wasn’t “doing something with my life.” Before he got sick himself, he just didn’t understand. He thought that I had somehow turned lazy, content to do nothing and “live on the dole.”
Unfortunately, now he knows all too well why I never seem to get anything done.