Monday, October 5, 2009


Yesterday, when reading the Sunday paper, my attention was riveted by the book review section in a way that it hasn’t been since surgery. I’m hopeful that’s a sign that maybe my ability to follow/read fiction is beginning to return. That’s the way Sudoku returned: in a fairly sudden change, the puzzles in the paper again caught my eye and interest. Before that, sporadic attempts to do the puzzles revealed it just wasn’t there, whatever “it” and “there” mean in that sentence.

Thinking about it, I am concluding that my recent video obsession is part of my brain rebuilding its ability to follow a narrative. I’m not sure why I think this and cannot really articulate a basis for the growing feeling of conviction. It just feels that way. As backstory to this, I have watched more video in this last year than in the entire rest of my life combined. Since Shea left for college, this trend has accelerated. At first, my thought was that my desire to watch something in the evenings was a a combination of low energy from the steroid tapering and our transitional response to reshaping our lives in the wake of Shea’s departure.

As usual, Michael has been a good sport about this, though it represents a fairly major shift in our time and activities. Never before have we watched anything other than on a weekend movie night, and then in a fairly restricted way. Since Shea left, I’ve watched all of NCIS, most of it on weekday evenings, though we’ve usually done three and sometimes four episodes on weekend nights. At first, with my energy down from the brain chemistry experiments, that was about all that I could manage after a day of work. Then, something about the storyline hooked me and I would cajole Michael every evening into watching a couple of episodes. Now that I’ve finished it, the drive to watch something is gone and my thinking and my brain feel different. It’s hard to describe. Something is different, though. I ordered two books from Amazon this weekend, and am anxious to see, when they arrive, if I can read again now. Of course, I have a bunch of books I’ve never started (and some I’ve never finished) on my Kindle and could experiment with them, but today is a teaching day so I’m holding off at least until this evening to play with this a bit. I travel tomorrow and Wednesday and I’m hoping that Amazon has its best game on, so I have something to take with me for this experiment.

I’m realistic enough to know that, even if the ability is returning, it might not stay. That’s happened before, two or three times. I’d be interested in reading, read a couple of books and then the capacity would vanish again. We’ll see. As I said, it feels different this time.

In another weirdness, with Shea gone, the dogs are changing all of their habits, too. For the first few weeks after she left, both dogs would pile into one crate together, which is a tight fit given their sizes. That phase passed, but since then, they seem to have switched which crate and pad is which, and their traditional sleeping places in our bedroom have changed. They still seem in a fluid state of redefining their respective spaces. It’s weird to watch. Maybe it's the universe that's weird and not just my brain? I suspect not.

Gotta go get ready for the week. We send greetings and good wishes.

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