– Encephalitis – Time to Make Some Sense –
Before continuing my story on the brain-affected illness called encephalitis that hit me hard in my early twenties, some twenty-eight years ago, I want to give a brief overview of what I have covered in my posts thus far.
I had an unexpected seizure on December 20, 1990, causing me to spend over two weeks in the hospital. It took the doctors a few days to realize I had been hit with encephalitis, an illness that affects the brain and, often, other parts of the body.
After being there eight days, I showed the first sign that there was hope, hope that my brain was on the long road of improving, hoping to get as close to normal as possible. However, it wasn’t going to be easy.
After two weeks, I was physically almost back to normal and ready to finally leave that hospital. But because I still needed much work to improve the function of my brain, I was not able to go home. Uncertain what most things around me were used for, let alone what they were called, it was obvious I could not yet go back home and be a wife and mother of two small children. After all, how could I if I wasn’t even sure what being a wife or mother even meant. That second hospital, to focus on my brain’s ability to remember the many necessities in life, was a must.
But, before I get into explaining what took place after getting to that second hospital, I first will share a bit more about my illness. With encephalitic, it depends where in the brain this illness hits to what effects will show, and to what extent. Thankfully, because of where it hit, it didn’t affect me as hard as it could have if it had taken place elsewhere. Because of where it did hit my brain, two of my senses were noticeably lost: my sense of taste and my sense of smell.
So there I was, not only forgetting what food was called, where and how in the world food even came to be, but not being able to smell it either. Even if food—or anything, for that matter—was brought right up to my nose, giving it one strong sniff, I smelled nothing. Add all that to losing the best part about eating—tasting—you then can understand why I lost some weight, being eating didn’t make it to the top of my list of things I wanted to do.
In my last post, I talked about me getting excited about McD’s french fries and ketchup.
Read it if you haven’t (*1), because as you read, you’ll notice I loved them because I remembered them! I did not say I loved them because of the taste. How could I if I was unable to taste them. I loved them because I remembered those long things with red stuff on them.
Losing my sense of smell also made no sense to me (no pun intended.)
Food, no. Soap, no. Perfume, no. Flowers a few people brought me, no. My then seven-month-old daughter’s dirty diaper, no. But it wasn’t really that bad. I mean, why would I miss the smelling of things if I wasn’t able to remember what I missed or what they had smelt like before. Make sense? (Pun intended.)
But, overall, that part of life in that hospital wasn’t all that bad. I was still like a little kid, trusting all those doctors who told me what to do. But I was also an adult who was doing my darndest to show improvement, knowing there was a normal-thinking twenty-three year old wife and mother named Marianne, soon to be found.
To be continued.