Tissue Monster

Posted on Posted in Cavernous Angioma

I sat there starring at the tissue on the floor. For the better part of ten minutes I had been first mentally berating it, then myself, for its careless fall. I began to plan on its capture. Too far in front of me, I’d have to get up. Not far enough to the left for me to ignore.
I hated that tissue then. Yes, I had been crying again. I was alone, finally home, and I was trying to let go. Too much had happened too fast. I needed to process and try to make some sense of things. But that tissue was taunting me and I couldn’t, I wouldn’t, let it go.
Hard to imagine that a couple of years ago I lived in Los Angeles; tan, strong, and confident. I kept a beach towel and rollerblades in my car just in case.
Now living in Minnesota, I had been released from the hospital having spent four weeks in brain rehab after having a Cavernous Angioma removed from my brain stem. The surgery left me hemiplegic on my right side and my left eye had rolled in and was pointing (looking at) my right eye.
Everything hurt and everything scared me. Even brushing my teeth was something I had to troubleshoot. I had never led with my left hand before. How was I going to ever going to operate a fork or fold socks? I couldn’t even sign my own name.
Which led to the debacle with the tissue, I had been trying to write an S. Every time I tried, the marker made a wide arc and drew off the paper. As I became more frustrated, the tears began to flow making it harder to see which led to more tears. Around, and around I went until I had tried folding the tissue which promptly slipped from my hand and floated to the floor.
I slowly inched forward on the sofa. I had to tilt my body so that I balanced on my left foot. To do this required considerable effort and concentration. Once up, I had to pivot into my wheelchair. Sitting wasn’t exactly easy either. Being hemiplegic means being paralyzed on my whole right side. I could move parts of my body, I just couldn’t feel others. Proprioception was gone on one side. Worse than not feeling, it was like dragging around dead weight. I had to have visual contact or I was lost.
I made it to my chair grunting and wheezing. As I rolled over to the tissue, I assured it that I was stronger than any tissue could be. I positioned the chair and put on the breaks. I made certain my right foot was where it needed to be and my right hand gripped the armrest. I had to manually do this with my left hand.
When I was ready, I made my move. As I leaned forward with my left hand outstretched I tasted victory. And just as suddenly it was gone. I felt myself slip, scream out, and clutched at the left armrest in terror. If I fell on the floor I would lay there for hours until Dave came home.
Panic is not a feeling I had known, not until now. Being safe feels just as good as feeling like ‘I look good’. You know, that satisfied feeling you get when you are all put together from a new haircut to brand new clothes?
Breathing normally again, I made my way back to the sofa. I was not about to end up on the floor because of a tissue! I followed the steps in reverse to sit down, but no matter how hard I tried I always plopped.
And there I sat for the rest of the afternoon, the tissue playing with my sanity. At times I could ignore it but the tissue got the better of me. Slowly that tissue grew bigger and more ominous. The room grew smaller and I was enveloped in a dry, white, nothing.
Just as I was finding it harder and harder to breathe Dave walked in, picked up the tissue, and crushed it into his pocket. He looked at me and asked, “So, how was your day?”

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