(Cross-posted with Patreon)
Something odd happened the other day. I woke up slightly ahead of the alarm clock. As I lay half-dozing, a scene played out in my head with William. There was even detailed logical technobabble on the nature of magic that was internally consistent and it will eventually become a major plot point in the future. I relayed it to Runsamok and she thought it was awesome, as did Tempest.
So, you may be asking, Matthew’s being creative, big deal, right? I used to do this a lot.
The last time was in 2015, before the gout, pneumonia, respiratory failure, and hospitalization. When I woke up in the hospital, the mental fog was pretty profound. I’d suffered a period of low blood oxygen saturation and it took its toll on the old grey matter. But it got better. The “tip of the tongue” (where you know you know the word, but can’t quite recall it) episodes went from constant to occasional to rare. I still tend to forget NPC names when I game with my D&D group, but my friends are patient.
I did a stupid number of sudoku puzzles on my phone to track my recovery in other areas.
But my creative “energy” for lack of a better term seemed to come back the slowest. Editing and mechanical wordsmithing was one thing, but creating things whole-cloth became like wading through molasses. My original works got more attention both because of my obligation to provide value to my supporters and because frankly there were fewer things to keep track of, canon-wise.
And now it’s 2020 and I’m literally doing it my sleep again.
So why am I talking about this now, other than to say hurrah at last? I’ve been hesitant to broach this topic because one, it’s deeply personal as it really hits me where I live. Two, I don’t want sympathy, I am fully aware that I got off bloody lightly. Due to lack of bed-space, I did some of my physical therapy at SCTBI (Southern Crescent Traumatic Brain Institute Center) and met some people that had their lives profoundly altered.
Despite all that, I’ve been presented with direct proof that the human brain is a little more adaptable than we might ordinarily think. Given enough time, patience, and effort sometimes it can make a fuller recovery than might initially seem likely. Even if it takes five years.
I know that I would have found this idea encouraging years ago when I was wondering if I was ever going to be “fully back” again. I may never be 100% of what I was, but I’ll settle for “too close to tell the difference”. So I wanted to share this with anyone who is in similar circumstances or knows someone who is. It’s not over until you give up.