My apologies for another blog about me. It’s one of the problems of having a major trauma. One becomes too self-absorbed. Thee is a whole world going on outside my front door. Tsunamis, Hurricanes, Famine, Massacres and the like. And what do I choose to write about? Me. Again. In my poor defence I am not planning to write about my symptoms or my body. Not explicitly, anyway!
I saw the film “Still Alice” yesterday. It is about an American psychologist who develops early onset dementia in her 40’s. The film is about how she and her family cope with this. It is also about identity. What does it mean to say that, despite so much loss, Alice is still Alice despite her profound dementia? It is an uncomfortable film and not recommend for the emotionally faint hearted.
I was left thinking about my own recent history. One moment I’m well. 24 hours later I emerge from major heart surgery having been given 24 hours to live if I do not act now and agree to surgery. (I agreed to surgery!) I’m now left with a slight feeling of anxiety. The clock can strike 13 and call into question everything. If the impossible can happen once, why can’t it happen again? At the moment I am very conscious of my body. I am aware of constantly mo noticing my heart rate. Is this a symptom of something major or simply what I might reasonably expect given what happened? A month ago I did not view my body in this way. If I wanted to go to the gym, off I went. If I fancied a long country walk with the dogs, we did just that. But now I think carefully about these activities .Do I have the stamina? What will it cost me? How long will I need to recover? Hopefully most of these anxieties will disappear and I will regain my previous relationship with my body.But until then my mind and my body are both on high alert for any changes.
The point I’m trying to make, I think, is about identity. For me the impossible has happened. I nearly died and had very little advance warning. If it can happen once, what is to stop it happening again? (I gather that it is unlikely to recur.) I am now someone who has gone through a life changing experience. But I’m not sure about the nature of those changes. I look and sound much the same as I did five weeks ago. B ut I suspect that my view of the world will never be quite the same again.I am a slightly different person now. The question is, who?