Monday, 19 March 2012

Neurons and souls

Well, just over two weeks later and my body at least seems to have mostly recovered from my little incident. There is a bit of residual pain in my lower back and legs, which is apparently something to do with inflammation of nervous system tissue which finds blood a powerful irritant. But in general, I can now walk unaided, dress myself and get up and sit down without the cursing and grimacing that was formerly evident.
Now that the physical effects are largely receding, the mental consequences are more intrusive. The world, even my quiet house with its sensitive occasional visitors, seems to require an enormous amount of informational interpretation. A conversation is an enormous undertaking which leaves me utterly depleted and needing an hour's sleep. I never knew that thinking was required on such a level to perform something that previously was effectively effortless.
Reading, similarly, is utterly exhausting and a walk to the High Street to just sit on a bench is an experience that leaves me initially confused, then bewildered and ultimately profoundly fatigued.
So, it seems the inflammation and/or damage that has occurred as a result of my haemorrhage has left some significant effects. These, i am told, will diminish as time goes on until I am my old self again. frankly, i can't wait: It's horrible not having control over one's brain, faculties and intellect. But I know that unlike a muscle, which tends to extend its range when pushed, exerting myself mentally has the opposite effect and sets back my progress.
But it again strikes me how contingent our level of consciousness and our sensory perception of the world is on our neural processes and architecture. When i was at my worst in those horrific, immobile days immediately after the fateful bleed, I was, in truth, not really conscious. This seems to me to indicate how the sensation of consciousness is bound up with the activity of the machinery.
Can't think any more. Need to go now. More as energy levels permit.

7 comments:

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Pete:
We are greatly encouraged by this post but are also fully aware, as you must surely be, that a full recovery, which will most certainly happen, is as yet some way off. But patience and good sense will be rewarded.

You are in our thoughts.

Kay G. said...

Pete,
Remember to be KIND to yourself. You have a really good brain that is working very hard to repair itself. Listen to our good friends, Jane and Lance, "Patience and good sense will be rewarded".
Take care!

Jenny Woolf said...

I am glad you are improving, it is very encouraging to read this post. What an awful thing to happen, and it is so true that even a relatively mild brain incident can leave you feeling pretty off for a good while.

Most of all, I totally second what Jane and Lance and Kay say. Take care, take it easy, don't expect too much, and get well.

Librarian said...

It's all been said, so I just sit here, nodding to what the others have written before me, and glad to read of your amazing progress. Thumb up, Mr. Seven Percent!

Librarian said...

I meant "thumbs up". I have more than one.

PerlNumquist said...

Indeed, sound advice. Thank you everyone. This morning, my apparentl physical recovery was undermined by a five minute period of panic and confusion after I found I could not make the decision between marmite or marmalade on my toast. I can only liken the feeling to that one gets when putting one foot into an untethered boat. Most unsettling. I really would like my brain back.

Librarian said...

One thing at a time, Pete :-) Funnily enough, I would have imagined the brain coming back before the physical abilities. But then again, when I think about, maybe not.