Having enjoyed a Christmas hiatus from all things medical, the buzzards will soon be circling again and I will need to have my wits about me if I'm to intercept them at the crossroads.
The journey from last June to here has been unconventional to say the least.
Imagine for a moment, if you will, suddenly losing your speech and having to resort to writing everything down. You then need to attract the attention of the person you wish to speak to - which is fine if they are family or a close friend - but not so fine when they are the person behind the deli counter in the supermarket. The shopping, the school run, the telephone, visitors; any and all interaction with the outside world, which up until now has never posed a problem, becomes a barrier between you and the person you used to be.
Over time, your speech returns but you no longer sound like your native self. You look the same but when you open your mouth another voice emerges. It sounds foreign and people look at you strangely with suspicion and unease. Are you having them on? Why are you speaking like that? Where are you from?
I'm as English as you are but I had a Functional Stroke which has changed my speech pattern. I don't know why and neither do they. Yet.
Initially, when it happened, there was an uncanny internal silence and for a while I followed the trail my mother had laid before me. Her mind washed clean by the incoming tide. I wish I could have bottled the experience, I might have made a fortune from all those seeking the path towards enlightenment. Perfect peace. No inner voice. No constant twittering's from the maniac/ego self we all share head space with. No ranting's or arguments. No opinion. My younger sister was so envious. 'You mean you don't have any voices inside your head that never shut up?!' No. Nothing. I had re-visited the place of innocence normally reserved for the very young or the very old and for a while I merely observed life, occupying a place in the world but not of the world. It was wonderful, exciting and liberating, as though I had involuntarily been set free from all care and concern.
As my speech returned, inevitably it brought the trappings which clog and contaminate our purest form of self. The muck and dirt of unwanted thoughts and emotions raced to impale themselves upon my unsullied utopian beach. Each wave of reawakened consciousness depositing debris in it's wake.
Not all gifts were withdrawn.
As I pick my way carefully through daily life assessing where and when it might be safe to communicate, people who knew me through all are rewarded with conversation. Those who know me but have only heard the headlines do their best in constant earnest to encourage me with trickling's... 'Gosh, you're doing so well. Keep it up.' They smile benevolently and I pity them for pitying me for they know not where I have been nor have the ability to see what I have seen beyond the veil.