The night-of, or the night-immediately-after the last post I made the world changed.
I’m not even sure how – and don’t even know where to begin.
I was installing four good quality surveillance cameras around the Secluded Desert Bunker…
Then found myself on a slow walking trip through California. Stopping at Chinese restaurants, larger and larger, trying out their most flavorful “secret-recipes” for what-ails-you.
I watched – helped even – the Chinese chefs prepare each dish. For weeks upon weeks – months even – to see if this dish would be sufficient enough to wake me from this weeks- no, months-long eternal hell.
I tried bowls of soup, dishes, pungent smelling plates and platter.
I raised and slaughtered a duck because I thought – too – that it would help.
“Your brother wants to come see you…”, came a disembodied voice in the distance.
I caught fragments of stories throughout – becoming clearer with the passing of each day: only as if dreamed – of being moved to Spokane for better care.
“Amy is coming to visit…”, the voice said again.
I kept re-living the weeks and months that led to that moment. Future. Past. Present. Time had no meaning. It was all “now”. My trip to Austin. My home in Moses Lake. Assorted adventures around the world at Pearson’s request.
“Mike send his regards…”
I watched as the night fell – and with each night, the distant voices became increasingly quiet. Until, eventually, several months in, the voices all fell silent. The dishes and restaurants had been exhausted. There was nothing left to try, nothing to complete.
I could tell little of how much time had passed from then on. Days? Weeks? Months? Guesswork.
Then suddenly I awoke. Groggy. Restrained. But I was awake.
My wife was there – but part of me was there and elsewhere.
I mustered the courage to ask her – what I was sure must’ve been the hundredth time, “What happened?”
Daisy went patiently through it once again… but this time, I was fully conscious and capable of listening – if in my present state somewhat limited – as closely as I could.
It was nearly impossible.
But I heard the parts that mattered.
My voice made no sound. No, really. I simply couldn’t hear myself talking.
“Hello?” I would ask. “Yes?” came the reply.
Then many answers – and a million questions. But why was I so tired? Are these the right questions? My vision is so blurry. Follow the instructions of the nurses. “Okay.”
Then came a greater flood of information – and an even more restricted ability to question.
I had been in a coma.
It turns out that I really was out for two to ten days. How they’re counted depends on which Coma scale is used to measure. Ten days seems pretty reliable to me.
“Traumatic Brain Injury” while installing cameras. “No, that’s not… that’s impossi…”
My voice seems to work – but I can’t hear it. And strangely, I can’t hear others except for those I’m very close to when I look directly at them.
Many hours were spent with my wife, children, and father filling in some details.
My memory has returned – mostly.
And may hours collecting lots of details: What happened, where am I, Pearson. I’ve already started making plans to address my team the Monday I’m back. Oh! The anxiety!
“Is this what a CVA feels like?” I think the answer was, “Almost – but you’d have forgotten everything weeks ago!”
Oh, that’s comforting.
In the remaining 10 days I was at St. Lukes in Spokane, I spent many hours per day learning – relearning? – to walk, how to dress myself, and how to communicate at an appropriate level.
Then they learned what I did for a living. “You know – these tests – I work for the company that design and publishes these for you…no, no… I’ll take it. Really. I’m happy to take an exam because I’ve never been a learner. I want to know how I perform…”
Special thanks to Mrs. Shirley for everything you’ve done: to Samaritan Hospital in Grant County, to Sacred Heart in Spokane and to St. Lukes – just down the road from Sacred Heart – for their unending professionalism and expertise throughout everything.