I experienced my concussion two months ago, and have finally been feeling all the way better. Unexpected things happened with my mind while recovering from the concussion: I found myself unable to read or write much about anything for about three weeks, which is a very strange thing for someone who lives by reading and writing. Reading the computer made me feel violently nauseous. I couldn’t focus on the text in basic magazines; it was simply too small. I forced myself to continue with a biography I’d been reading, but it was like water through sieve: text in, text out, with no context remaining to help.
I hadn’t expected how hard it might be to think while the world whirls about and makes one feel nauseous–and I certainly hadn’t expected how much what I thought about would also be affected by the strange whirling of my thoughts. Being so dizzy, I found myself thinking about different topics than I’d been focusing on before. This clear sense of before-and-after lingered well into the concussion therapy period, and it took a few weeks to wrap my mind around projects I’d been working on before the concussion.
After three weeks of feeling dizzy and nauseous, especially when reading or using the computer, I started concussion therapy (or actually, vestibular therapy, for balance) at the end of February. Thankfully, I noticed results almost immediately. I started to be able to use the computer for longer and longer stretches without feeling nauseous right away. I could walk in the grocery store without feeling dizzy as I turned my head side-to-side to look at the shelves. I had to do strange things like look back-and-forth at popsicle sticks for thirty seconds at a time, and walk heel-to-toe with my arms crossed on my chest, but it seemed to help. At concussion therapy, I sat on an exercise ball and did Where’s Waldo, which proved to be one of the trickier exercises. I stood on foam mats and looked for all the odd numbers from one to forty, scattered on a black-and-white checkerboard pattern. I walked on foam half-circles with my hands crossed on my chest while tapping small orange cones with my toe. Other people at the facility did other strange-looking things, and I longed to be one of the people who needed a back or neck massage followed by some nice hot towels.
The most notable different thing I’ve been thinking about has been the French horn. Since writing about playing it several weeks ago, I’ve continued to play almost daily. I’ve had the horn back from the repair shop for a month now, and have been stunned by how much I have enjoyed having it out again. I expect that, even though I didn’t set out to write about music on this blog, I will probably write more about my experiences returning to the horn after many years away.
In terms of writing, I am excited to be a regular blogger, now, for the InterfaithFamily Network, and look forward to sharing thoughts and reflections about raising an interfaith child from the prospective of the parent who isn’t Jewish. (You can see my first post here, and my blog here.) I also have a creative nonfiction piece coming out with Killing the Buddha in the next few weeks, which I’m excited about.