You are incapacitated and can neither bear to read or write: How do you spend your time?
I posed this week’s question because it has happened to me.
I had radical neck surgery and it did not occur to me that I would not be able to read while I was recovering. In fact, I had packed a book in the bag which I had ready to take with me to the hospital until just the night before, when I thought better of it and took it out.
The recovery has been long and hard. Even after months, I cannot read for long. For months I could only type a few lines to communicate a bit. I still can’t type for very long, so writing had been out of the question as well. We’ll get to other reasons in a moment.
Recently, I had started listening to audiobooks more and more and I heard a great number of them while I was cleaning, arranging, cooking and getting everything done that I could think of,(or was capable of ),before my surgery. I assumed that I would be able to listen to them afterward, to fill in time.
Boy, was I wrong. My neck pain and the headaches would not allow headphones or earbuds to be used, so I was stuck. Trying to listen and pay attention was difficult with even speakers because of the tinnitus that has been a real trial after the accident, (the cause of my neck to need surgery), and I’d fall asleep on them.
So what did I do? Binge-watched series and saw movies on TV that I never would have taken the time to watch when I could read and write. Many shows had been on my ‘Interested’ list. I saw a lot of good ones, ditched a lot of disappointing ones. I made good use of Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube via my Xbox. My husband has put on many of the movies we have collected, DVD and VHS, which I often nodded off or downright slept through. (I still do sometimes.)
Without rehashing the story, I’m unable to use heavy pain medications, so I rely on heavy doses of nerve blockers and had been on heavier doses of muscle relaxers. I’d fall asleep watching movies and shows, and I’d have to double-back. Some days, I’d do it several times in one show.
I had my husband fill me in on the others, if he watched with me.
It’s much easier to comprehend a story, find your place and be reminded of what came before with visuals, yet another reason why audiobooks, unless they were short stories, would not have worked.
I had considered setting up the voice-to-text on my computer so that I could write, but I am glad that I didn’t bother. I had no idea that the medications would, (at times), not even allow me to finish a sentence. I still never know how much the medications will affect me day-to-day. At times I still have difficulty in remembering things that have just passed. I lose track of what is going on, so when the meds were heavier and the pain was bad, there was no way to recall storylines.
I’ve had my husband rather shaken up, and I cannot safely drive more than very short in-town trips on my own, and then only on a few good days. I am still having trouble with the perception that more time has passed than it has, (in actuality), hours or days.
I am glad that I couldn’t write or use voice-text; I may have totally destroyed stories that have already been in the works. I think of them, mentally work on them, but have not dared to risk doing damage to them.
There are still many days when I cannot read for long or type for long, but now I can listen to audiobooks. The earbuds and earphones are back. My pain is lessened, so my meds are cut back and my mind is clearer; I can put sentences together again, even if I ask my husband once in a while for a word I am looking for, or someone’s name, or where something is, (all of which is in my brain somewhere). In fact, I edited this post several times, because in places it was redundant.
Maybe you can see a difference in my writing; I’d hate to ruin nearly-finished stories.
I had done several months’ worth of blog posts and interviews in advance of my surgery and they are used up, but I am back in the ball game. I am determined to get into my stories in earnest, and not just in my head.
I think that the wheel is turning and the hamster is getting back into shape!