hey. (hey!)

Posted on December 3rd, 2015 by Scraps.
Categories: Recovery, Stuff.

[I'm going to post -- in fact, I've done it! -- just once for my new blog, Doukipudonktan. If you follow me, I'll see you there.]

→ Hey.

It's been a little more than a year ago since I posted in my blogs. I did occasionally comment in Field Gulls (a very good Seahawks blog), and really occasionally in other places, but mostly I didn't write. Second, writing is really hard now (since my stroke, in 2008; if you don't know about it, if you stick around* it's my largest subject). First, my beloved Velma died of cancer; that would be my supreme subject, but I still mostly can't write about it. { . . . }

Well. In the last month or so, I'm discovering that, even though writing is hard, I want to write about my everyday stuff now. I don't think it's going to be interesting to many people, but Since My Stroke™ I'm forgetting things constantly, and I want to write stuff down for me, even though this is not good writerly stuff anymore.

So. There are many many things to write about in my head; this is an introduction, I guess, from me to me. My last blog, Parlando, I decided was not right for this new tiny thoughts. (I'm probably going to resume posting to Parlando, too, for mostly music thoughts.) This is a new WordPress blog, Doukipudonktan, for everyday things (and also slowly learning again WordPress stuff).

Whew. I'm a little bit tired (again, writing is hard now). This introduction is going to pull several directions if I don't stop. Soooooo....


* if you don't, it's okay.**

** three "if you"s! wait, four!


1 comment.

can't let the last post stay up on top

Posted on November 19th, 2014 by Scraps.
Categories: Life, Memory, Recovery, Stuff.

Every time I choke up.

Helen (Velma's sister) called yesterday as the day was approaching the end. She told me that Velma's New York memorial had gone well, and she told me specific things that made me feel good, as much as possible.

Velma, she said, would say it went passably. I laughed. Laughs are [few and far between]*.

*Myles [looking over my shoulder].

1 comment.

i didn't know that!

Posted on October 27th, 2014 by Scraps.
Categories: Boring Posts, Life, Recovery, Stuff.

Sure, grief is natural and proper, but it's healthier for the survivors to move on.

--a writer who usually says more sensible things


identity, cracked

Posted on September 4th, 2013 by Scraps.
Categories: Memory, Recovery, Stuff, Words.

Charles R. Pierce, in a scathing piece about the NFL and how it bought out the concussion lawsuit and what it means to the public, as an aside wrote:

(As a writer, I have to admit, there is something darkly compelling about Alzheimer's because it attacks the two things most central to a writer's craft — language and memory, which together make up an individual's identity. Alzheimer's makes a new character out of a familiar person.)

Strokes, also. "Language and memory, which together make up an individual's identity." (Now I'm struggling to say what I need to say.) (Again.) (Well. I'll put it up because it's very true, for me. Maybe eventually I'll find the words to add.)


depressed moment*

Posted on August 17th, 2013 by Scraps.
Categories: Badness, Life, Recovery, Stuff.

Every once in a while -- well, really, every day -- I read Twitter (for instance) to catch up on my old friends, and someone is writing about bike-riding, and suddenly I can feel it so much . . . I will never ride a bike again.

So many things.

Well. Then I pass on, thinking of something else. You can't dwell on it. But you can't make peace with it, either. (At least, I've never learned.) So think of something else.

* You can skip this.



Posted on May 26th, 2011 by Scraps.
Categories: Boring Posts, Recovery, Stuff.

Velma is gone for eight days, helping Elise run her table at Wiscon. (And having fun.) And Jane is off seeing a friend. I'm alone, sniff. Maybe I will have a seizure; that would be fun. Except I couldn't call an ambulance, because of the temporary muteness I go through. Adventure!

Although I could play my music -- my favorite thing to do, twelve hours a day -- really loud. I think I'll begin. (It's nice to live in a house.)



Posted on May 22nd, 2011 by Scraps.
Categories: Boring Posts, Recovery, Stuff.

It's been nearly half a year since I last updated this journal. Since then, I've moved to Seattle with Velma into a lovely house in Wallingford, living with Jane Hawkins; I lived with Jane nearly thirty years ago in a house next door to this one, so it's old home week for me. Very nice, very comfy, and all three of us are happy.

Writing is still hard; harder than it looks. I have to ratchet it down to reach such simple thoughts now. But frustration is easy; I still have to live my life, including expressing myself. Post-stroke, I have learned a certain amount of calm. (Certain amount: three-fourths of a cup of placidity cut with a dash of impatience.) Also, I experienced two seizures a month ago, the first time in more than a year; that set me back a little. But I think I'm still improving.

My life is, mostly, coping. I'm writing it down here because what the hell. I really don't mind if you take me off your reading list. (Formerly I went into an incoherent rage.) Hey hey.



Posted on August 28th, 2010 by Scraps.
Categories: Recovery, Stuff.

I forgot something last month.  (Sometimes I think every post by me should be started that way, with "month" being a variable.) I was seeing my doctor, only my regular doctor was on vacation, so I was seeing a substitute doctor.  He was voluble, which was nice.  When he was getting up to speed on my stroke, he whistled.  "Jeez," he said, "your bleed was two by two by two a half inches.  You should be dead." He looked at me. "I've seen some who had bleeds that big and survived, but not walking and talking. You are lucky."

I'm not used to being called lucky in regard to my stroke, but I guess I am.  

1 comment.

the book

Posted on August 27th, 2010 by Scraps.
Categories: Recovery, Stuff.

I got myself an ipad about two weeks ago.  I watched Patrick with his, and I guessed it would be good for my half-paralysis.  After one day, I realized it was not good; it was superb.  I now carry it with me everywhere, taking notes, look stuff up on wikipedia, and (especially) reading books.

People ask me, is it worth it?  And it definitely is: for me.  But I'm an one-handed person, and it's a godsend for me.  In fact, I've taken to calling it "The Book", which Velma, at least, understands.

I've read, in the last few days, a complete book, my first since the stroke (I think; my memory is shot still): Right Ho, Jeeves.  It's a reread -- in fact, it's my favorite Wodehouse, and I was astonished to find it's out of print [edit: I meant "out of copyright". duh] -- and so's my second read I've reading now, The Sea Fairies by L. Frank Baum.

I'm happy (as Velma implied before).    


fear of dying

Posted on August 13th, 2010 by Scraps.
Categories: Recovery, Stuff.

"Dying isn't so bad," said Roger Ebert today; "it's getting sick and dying that's the hard part." It’s true. Having a stroke has a host of bad effects (he said mildly), but curing the fear of dying is a surprising blessing. I realized, very soon after almost dying, that, for me, the memory was not there; there was no bright light, no flash of recall, nothing. There was a fall in my apartment in front of Velma, and then I woke up a week later, my memories wiped. The main memory of dying was no memory. That was immensely soothing; I told my friends, if they were worried about me, dying was easy. It took me a while to realize that it was not me dying that they were worried about. The pain of the living is what the living are worried about. Me potentially dying was sorrowful, even horrifying (because it would have happened at 44); but what about Velma, who lived through my dying in front of her? Of course my dying was (theoretically) easy. Living goes on; that’s the hard part.


one of my many language weirdnesses

Posted on July 9th, 2010 by Scraps.
Categories: Editing, Recovery, Words.

My spelling is coming back -- that is, thoughtlessly, automatically -- but I still sometimes forget to spell "n", especially in a consonant blend. Maybe it's a "quiet" sound. I don't know why, but forgetting "n" is about half my spelling mistakes (until I look up and see it).

1 comment.


Posted on July 6th, 2010 by Scraps.
Categories: Badness, Recovery, Words.

I'm probably going to write again. Probably. It's very hard now, but I'm realizing that not writing is harder; so I must. Writing is my self-definition, and even though I suck right now (don't argue, it's true by my own definition), not writing would mean I'd be a different person, and, really, I don't know how.

My thoughts are scattered still. I'm sitting here, trying to gather them. They're mostly outside my grasp.

One thing: Sometimes I am very depressed. That's going to be my favorite thing to write about. Well, not being depressed, but the specific manifestations of my stroke. I certainly don't mind if you go away.


watch what you write

Posted on June 23rd, 2010 by Scraps.
Categories: Recovery, Words.

It is almost dizzying how much better my life is workwise and logistically now than this time last year; so much better that the edge isn’t really in sight behind me (barring health catastrophe).

--Me, less than six months before my stroke

1 comment.

the message

Posted on January 18th, 2010 by Scraps.
Categories: Recovery, Stuff.

Tomorrow it's the important doctor's appointment, with my neurologist. I've careful written down the message:

"So I tried Keppra another six weeks, with Gabapentin gradually tailing off until it was done. It’s better without Gabapentin, but the Keppra is still bad.

"It’s still, all the time, twenty-four hours a day, dazed, dull, sluggish, and a little bit stupid. I hate it, all the time. I can’t find the words. It’s been two months since the seizures; I was improving, but now I’m not – if anything, I have regressed -- and I am frustrated.

"I have a theory. I think Keppra is all right if the stroke didn’t affect the language part of the brain (or not much). Maybe the medication is making me dull and dazed, but theoretically it’s fine because my language is still fine.

"But it’s not fine; my language is very much affected. I need that part of the brain. I value that part, so much so that I can’t do without. Please, can we try something else?"



Posted on January 14th, 2010 by Scraps.
Categories: Recovery, Words.

Another: My spelling is still 100% good -- when I'm presented with the correct word. But my spelling function -- "spell it out" -- is horrible. In other words, if I get presented with five variants of a word -- say, "fortunately", "fortunetely", "fortunetelly", "edgar", and "fortunatelly" -- I will pick the right one every time. But if I'm asked to spell it out aloud, I will be dumb. And sometimes I can't spell even writing -- not speaking -- simply, I can't find the word; for instance, I can't think of the variant "fortunately" -- the right one -- and I'm helpless. Once I've found it, I know it.

It's really hard to explain, that one.


my mind, etc

Posted on January 14th, 2010 by Scraps.
Categories: Recovery, Words.

Samuel Beckett, Rough for Theatre: "There croaking to the winter wind [rime with unkind], having lost his little mouth-organ."

I literally can't parse "rime with unkind". I understand perfectly the sense of it, but my mind skips, every time I try to sound it out, the winter wind rhyming with unkind.

addendum: It's not Irish. It's not the words.

I understand perfectly how "wind" rhymes with "blind" and "mind". But my hearing mind doesn't understand it; it's broken.

It's weird.

1 comment.

function words

Posted on December 29th, 2009 by Scraps.
Categories: Recovery, Stuff, Words.

Today my head speech therapy guy, Luis -- it's between semesters, there is nobody who is a student and therefore usually speaks to me, so it's up to Luis (don't get me wrong, he's very busy, and I'm a free -- Medicaid -- therapy case) -- anyway, Luis said the neurologists and speech doctors in charge of me had a meeting. They were worried that I had regressed -- which, of course, I had, since the seizures -- and they wanted to keep me pointing forward, so I am -- probably -- going off the maddening Keppra, and going on something else. (Unfortunately, Dr Benjamin, my head neurologist, was not there.)

We talked about homework; specifically, we talked about the homework that was going to do any good to me. I asked about function words, because those are words that were particular problems for me. Unfortunately, he said there were no homework -- things? jobs? this is how I write, casting about for words -- he said, well, my mind is ahead, even though I can't grasp it. (And I can't, today.)



Posted on December 27th, 2009 by Scraps.
Categories: Recovery, Stuff, Words.

I went to speech therapy today, and she felt confident of my sentence completion skills that she sent me home with homework. Last week I was numb; I was just staring at the paper. So today I was writing; still can't write like two months ago -- before the seizure -- but slowly coming back. Especially humor; grade-school humor, but still.

I'll show you some. It's mixed with humor -- not wit, that's coming, I hope -- and, well, despair and anger. (This is what Velma has to put up with.) The all-caps is the part I'm completing:

2. I DON'T LIKE cell phones BECAUSE they're difficult to hear.

3. THE TROUBLE WITH POLITICS IS, well, nothing. Politics is compromise; you can't necessarily get what you want, but you get something, if you participate. Unless you're talking about corrupt politics; to many, corrupt politics are the only politics. I think that's a copout.

4. YOU LOOK LIKE a patient woman.

6. SHE CAME LATE BECAUSE her hair fell out, and she had to glue it back on.

7. I WISH I had my language back. Also, I wish I had just one more hit single.

8. IT UPSETS ME TO have to write eighth grade sentences; and that I know I have to.

9. FLOWERS ARE funny. Particularly daisies; I don't know why.


intellectually exhausted

Posted on December 20th, 2009 by Scraps.
Categories: Movies, Recovery, Stuff.

One of the changes in my life is movies. Reading is now very hard for me; I can read, but it's ten times as laborious -- still -- and it's exhausting. But movies is easier. So I've begun, late in my life, teaching myself the classics. One of my lists is Roger Ebert's 4-star movies. So far, I have watched The Thief Of Baghdad, In a Lonely Place, 12 Angry Men, and The 400 Blows.

I watched The 400 Blows yesterday. And I discovered another dismaying thing: if it is not English, I have to expend translation time -- ten times as hard, basically -- trying to keep up, flickering my eyes up and down, everything watching, not comfortable, not lost in the movie. By the time it's ending, I'm again exhausted. The 400 Blows is really good, but I've going to have to watch it again, tomorrow, because I was literally lost for much of it.

The ending shot was powerful, though.



Posted on December 13th, 2009 by Scraps.
Categories: Recovery, Stuff.

I have a sore left (good) leg. That's because I left the apartment alone yesterday good and mad -- both of us were mad -- and walked, walked, walked. Do you know the distance between lower Park Slope and the Verrazano Narrows bridge? I walked it there and back. There was fine; back was grim, and getting grimmer as I approached home. Velma met me about a quarter mile away, and I stumbled and staggered across the finish line. When I was healthy, I walked often, and far. So I took a grim satisfaction that I could do it, even though I took about six hours.

Today Velma and I are better. She's off to sing, wearing our derby hat. I'm preparing dinner. I'm making chicken hearts, slow cooked, with Indian jalfrezi sauce, red onions, green pea and lentil sprouts, and a mixture of wild and white rice. The only thing was hard was getting the jar of sauce open; that took five minutes.

My language is better: I mean it's better even in twenty-four hours. Maybe Dr Benjamin (my neurologist) is right about Keppra. Well, good. I still feel it, like a blanket around my head, numbing; but the words are forming, and the keyboard is not attacking me anymore.

Time composed: twenty-five minutes.


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