Illness - Encephalitis

Tired of Thinking?

Hospital patient with drip
It’s sort of funny how our brains work. Raise your hand if you have things you have to think about day after day. Yep. I bet you all raised your hands. How many of you, as the hours of your days go by, can sense your brain is loading a few too many thoughts? Well, of course we all do.  Thoughts about family, friends, work, sports, that grocery list, paying bills, solving irritating computer problems, who you needed to text, whatever, et cetera, et cetera. You know what I’m talking about. And what do all those thoughts make you by the end of the day? TIRED OF THINKING.
What I went through twenty-eight years ago, December 20, 1990, at the age of twenty-three, caused me, a married mother of two, to lose the ability to do that type thinking. Go back a few posts here if you need to read what happened when I was hit by a terrible brain-affected illness called Herpes Simplex Encephalitic. Man, was I messed up.
Like those doctors who cared for me learned, I thankfully didn’t lose memory of everything. Much of it, yes, but not all, and the doctors needed to learn ways on how to get my brain back to working as close to normal as possible. Not easy.
“Marianne, we are so glad we can tell that you are better, but we want to see how much you can remember. I am going to ask you a few questions. Can you tell us what a car is?”
“No. That word sort of sounds familiar, though.”
“Can you tell us what this is?” as one held up a picture.
“Isn’t it some type of animal? I grew up with one, I think.”
“Yes. It’s an animal. It’s called a dog.”
That’s an example of what my brain was like. Many things looked familiar, but I didn’t know what they were called. Or if I recognized what something was called, I still may not have any idea what it was or what it looked like.
Many times they actually held something up. One time the doctor held up his tie, asking what it was called. I didn’t say a word, but acted just like a baby, reaching out to take hold of it, pulling it toward my mouth. Glad I can giggle thinking what that must have looked like. Once they showed me a bar of soap. Thankfully they got hold of it before I tried to put that in my mouth, too. Sounds like something a little baby might do, doesn’t it?
Now all this may sound terrible and, well, it was, but compared to those  eight or so days in that hospital before I ‘woke-up’, it was refreshing.  Most of those days before I was silent or speaking gibberish. (1*)
From the Medical Doctor’s notes it was written how I was those first days:
Over the past several days she has had diminished level of function in her speech. She has continued to have a high fever. I cannot get her to talk to me.  She nods her head ‘yes’ in response to every question, including nonsensical questions.  She frequently repeats the same questions she asks on several occasions within a few minutes. Complains of severe back pain with movement in bed.
Of course all notes from the hospital have tons of other technical wordings of what was going on, but I thought I’d do us all a favor and just leave those out. The last sentence from this one of many sources I now have stored for keep-sake ended with . . . Thank you for allowing me to share in the care of this very challenging patient.
So if you think about it, those first few days after ‘waking up’ were actually great! Talking somewhat normal was refreshing and hopeful for all those doctors. I was like a curious little kid, noticing lots of interesting things around me, with the doctors all glad there was now hope. So what if I did try to put candy in my mouth before taking the wrapper off? At least I finally showed a sign I was daring and wanted to see what something was. And big deal if I didn’t know what that thing was that the doctors often held: a pen. All were just happy that there was finally a sign I might one day be using a pen myself.
Little did they know, a pen to write my story.
1* – Click here to read about the day I ‘woke up’.

Marianne Petersen’s book God and My Pillow is now available in book or PDF form from the Author herself using Paypal, or purchase through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and more.

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