Posted on March 10th, 2009 by Scraps.
Categories: Music.

Five months ago, in early October, I had a stroke. I took stupidly long getting to hospital care -- maybe three or four hours -- the power of denial and ignorance. I almost died, and a month was spent locked up in my head. Nighttimes of nightmares, vivid and frightening, with occasionial lucid daytimes, scattered. My sister and my mother were probably my first memory, soothing and tranquil, my sister calming though even then I could catch the undercurrent of crying. Velma, my wife, was there every day, even when I tore out the catheter and feeding tube, even when I was convinced I was eighteen, even when I slapped her wildly. I didn’t know, didn’t remember. I was forty-four years old.

Gradually memory came, and with it despair. My right leg and right arm were paralyzed; worse –- even worse –- my brain was fried. My speech was gone, my reading. Tongue-tied, nearly mute, everything gone, or nearly. Forty-four, reset.

Slowly, agonizingly, it grew better. Despair gave way to determination. Five months and I see a light, though it’s way off; two years, three. My arm still lies there, and it maybe still will. My leg, better; maybe fifteen percent. My memory is best, though still two, three, five years; still hard, very hard, my memory. Maybe ten percent. For instance, it’s very hard to work at the computer.

But I’m trying. Soren DeSelby, mark two.

(time composed: 3 hours, 10 minutes)



Comment on March 10th, 2009.

Kick its ass. I hate that fucking stroke.


Comment on March 11th, 2009.

My God, how frightening. I wish you all the strength you need.

Pat Cadigan

Comment on March 11th, 2009.

You rock, my friend. Thinking of you, today and every day.

Cathy Doyle

Comment on March 11th, 2009.

Soren it's good to see you posting again and see the improvement in your writing as time goes on. I know that it still takes forever and a day to write even the smallest note, but they're getting so much better that I can see the improvement day by day.

Hope you'll be home soon!


Comment on March 11th, 2009.

Welcome back from the grid! I'm really glad to see you made it, it's not a good place to be.


beth meacham

Comment on March 11th, 2009.

So glad to see this! It may take you more time than it used to, but you are still finding the exact right words.


Comment on March 11th, 2009.

I echo Beth Meacham's gladness to see this—these are good words and they make me glad to know you.


Comment on March 11th, 2009.

Yeah, Soren! Following your recovery via Selma's LJ and sending you lots of healing thoughts!!


Comment on March 11th, 2009.

Thank you very much. I am surprised at anyone still reading!

beth meacham

Comment on March 11th, 2009.

Velma posted a pointer. And I'm certain you have subscribers, who would be notified when something new was posted.

Laurie Mann

Comment on March 11th, 2009.

Welcome back! We might not have met, but I knew Velma back in the day. Best wishes for continuing recovery.

JB Segal

Comment on March 11th, 2009.

I ended up here via Velma's pointer, too, and have been following along from there for the whole thing.

I'm so glad you've made it as far as you have and am continuing to wish you the best the rest of the way!

(And, for the laughter: My captcha word to make this comment is "NARF"!)
(... I think so, Brain, but plastic pants chafe me so!)

Madeleine Robins

Comment on March 11th, 2009.

Welcome back, Soren. You still sound like you, although I know the effort is hard. Keep moving toward that light.

Debra Baker

Comment on March 11th, 2009.

That's tremendous progress in just five months, and you're not done yet. Keep working.

(Pointed here from Velma's livejournal.)


Comment on March 11th, 2009.

Just another random FOAF completely thrilled to see you writing again.

Terri Senft

Comment on March 11th, 2009.

Wherever you write, we will read. Love you.

David Harmon

Comment on March 11th, 2009.

Best of luck, dude!

scott pgwp

Comment on March 11th, 2009.

scraps, I only know you from trading comments on the web, but I'm glad to know you're fighting. Thanks for sharing this. Wishing you the best.


Comment on March 11th, 2009.

You've got more readers than you might think. Loads of people are pulling for you. It's great to see you come this far, keep it up!


Comment on March 11th, 2009.

Lovely to see you again, Soren. *hug*


Comment on March 11th, 2009.

It's so, so good to see you again, man. //hugs you

Brad Jones

Comment on March 11th, 2009.

Scraps, I've been thinking about you. Get well, man.

MoXmas (MoNo)

Comment on March 12th, 2009.

It was excellent to see this post show up in my RSS feed. I look forward to reading you obsess about songs again on this blog, Scraps.

Ashmoe "Schmidtybooger"

Comment on March 12th, 2009.

I was so impressed by the progress you've made when I saw you this past weekend and I know you'll continue to get better and better.
Love to you.

Jane Hawkins

Comment on March 13th, 2009.

Love you, Soren.


Comment on March 13th, 2009.

You're here. Keep on coming.

We are here. With you.

Scott U

Comment on March 13th, 2009.

Fight on, Scraps.


Comment on March 13th, 2009.

Couldn't be happier to see you making your way back. Everyone at Popdose misses you terribly.

Jeff Giles

Comment on March 13th, 2009.

You're an inspiration, Scraps. It's so good to read your writing again.

Jon Cummings

Comment on March 13th, 2009.

We're pulling for a quick (as possible) and full recovery, Scraps. Keep fighting!

Peter Hentges

Comment on March 13th, 2009.

Good to hear you're up and fighting.

Linda Blanchard

Comment on March 13th, 2009.

I started a letter to you -- a really long letter, but then read that you preferred short letters. I'm always at the wrong end of things. You probably have enough cheering stories about stroke-recovery though, right? Which is part of what I wrote about (my mother had a series of strokes almost 10 years ago). You are often in my thoughts; if there's anything I can do from this long distance, let me know. Keep writing, we'll keep reading.

Ken Shane

Comment on March 14th, 2009.

Great to hear from you Scraps. Keep fighting. You'll get there.


Comment on March 14th, 2009.

Amazing post Soren. Your fortitude is inspiration us all.


Comment on March 14th, 2009.

You're still a good writer, and that counts for something.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden

Comment on March 14th, 2009.

I've known you were still in there, still yourself, since the morning after your stroke.

It was like you were temporarily forced to live in the hall closet of your large house. You were still there, and the house was still there, but most of it was closed off: not gone, but inaccessible. Now I watch as you slowly reinhabit it, space by space.

Neurology. You know the drill.

Love you dearly.

Lydy Nickerson

Comment on March 14th, 2009.

I find your blog post incredibly encouraging. It must have been a royal pain to write, and probably took forever. You sound like you, though. Best of wishes from far away.

John Hughes

Comment on March 15th, 2009.

Welcome back!! We miss you at Popdose.


Comment on March 15th, 2009.

I love you, friend.

I'm waving at you from afar.

Melissa Mead

Comment on March 15th, 2009.

We've never met, but I've followed your fight on Making Light and it's good to see you posting.


Comment on March 15th, 2009.

I just wanted to cheer when I saw you'd done a post. God, I know how hard it must be, but thank you.

(And my captcha word is "STOAT". It's a comedy word.)

Mary Dell

Comment on March 15th, 2009.

Jesus, Soren, your writing is beautiful. The compose time is a lot, yeah, and I'm sure it costs you large energy reserves to write like this. But from a reader perspective, the stroke doesn't show in your prose. That's astounding.


Comment on March 16th, 2009.

Another person here who doesn't know you and whom you don't know but who has been sending warm wishes you-ward by way of Making Light these last few months.

I thought you might appreciate knowing that the t-shirt you were wearing in a picture Teresa posted of you has brought the song "Friday I'm In Love" into my life. Which means a lot of smiles for me and for several other people whom I've passed it on to. Thank you! (And isn't it an amazing earworm?)

And Mary Dell is right: you write wonderfully and I wouldn't have known it was so hard to get the words out if you & others hadn't said. Wow.


Comment on March 16th, 2009.

Even with a stroke you write better than 99% of the WRITING populace.

We are with you on this journey.



Comment on March 16th, 2009.

much love, and peaceful progress, you are a wonderful writer! Thank you for taking the time.
from Terrintokyo (distant Making Light family)


Comment on March 16th, 2009.

I'm here, too, Scraps, reading and more glad than I can say to see your phosphors. Love you lots.

Michael Fortes

Comment on March 16th, 2009.

Welcome back! Very happy to see you're walking towards that light. We missed you.


Comment on March 16th, 2009.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. It's hard, but well-wishes make it easier, especially on a bad day.

(Captcha words in this program are my choice. Especially "stoat".)


Comment on March 17th, 2009.

I love your captchas.


Comment on March 17th, 2009.

Words cannot express how much I miss Name That Tune. And your brain at 10% is still better than mine at 100%. The world was simply dumber after you went down. Get better, man. We need you.

Kip W

Comment on March 19th, 2009.

60/100 of Scraps in the blog
60/100 of Scraps
Each day there is more
We soon can hope for
80/100 of Scraps in the blog!

So glad you're beating this thing. You'll come all the way back.

Don Keller

Comment on March 20th, 2009.

Very happy to see you this much recovered. (Very shamed and embarrassed I haven't been in touch sooner.) Keep up the hard work; looking forward to seeing more of your writing.

Anti-spam word: gronk. A good one.


Comment on March 23rd, 2009.

The words are coming back, and so are you. I think of you every day.

David K. M. Klaus

Comment on March 31st, 2009.

I don't know you and you don't know me, but I see how others write of you, and how much they care for you.

When Robert Anton Wilson was in dire circumstances, he received a surprise telegram from Timothy Leary:

"You are surrounded by a web of love and strength."

And clearly, so are you.

Lucy Huntzinger

Comment on April 2nd, 2009.

I never doubted you'd be as fierce as a lion in the battle to reclaim health and self. I am so glad for your progress.

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