I know this post is coming later than usual, but it’s mostly because I haven’t had much inspiration which, based on my most recent content, is probably a good thing. I usually only write when I’m needing to sort out some issue I’m having, but I have also just been too busy to allow really anything to take up too much real estate in my mind.
If anyone was keeping track, I may have mentioned to you that my eye doctor told me three months ago that he would unstitch my eye in three months. Based on the fact that this is an actual post and not a call for mascara recommendations, you can probably guess that I am typing this with one eye. Although the nerve that controls the blinking is showing promising progress, the nerve that makes my eye track has yet to get its shit together. This means that even though I can blink in theory, my eye is of no use to me right now anyway because it cannot track, so why bother opening it and putting the health of my cornea at risk?
I’m sure some of you are wondering why they don’t open it so that my tracking muscles can ‘get stronger’ and that it will start working more quickly, but this isn’t actually how that works. Since eye movements are mostly involuntary, as soon as the muscle CAN do work, it will. Anyway, because of all these reasons my eye doctor did not open my eye. One open and one closed eye would definitely not be as strange looking as one straight and one crossed eye, so I can’t argue with his logic for now. I will go and see him again in six months, and hopefully will get a different response.
It was also just Thanksgiving! Last year’s and this year’s Thanksgivings have been very different for me. They carry more weight (what other 20-something is genuinely thankful they survived that particular year, every year?). I’ve kind of adopted a mindset of gratitude into my daily life. Every year, my family goes around and lists things they are thankful for. Usually a day or two before I will begin to reflect on things I am thankful for (beyond ‘not being a Turkey’). But I have found that now, as I go about my days, I will (try) to keep a running list of things I’m thankful for on that particular day. I would highly recommend it to anyone.
That being said, it’s not a cure-all to super shitty days. Sometimes I don’t feel grateful for ANYTHING, and I just want to pull the covers back over my head and wake up when I have my shit together. This blessing-disguised-as-a-curse of an accident has taught me that the only way out is though. Going back to sleep isn’t going to stop the day from starting, so it’s up to me to make it great.
The day I saw my eye doctor, I cried on and off nearly the entire day after my appointment. Nothing could get me out of my funk. I gave myself a few hours to be a completely miserable companion to my mom (who was my ride to/from LA, so she couldn’t leave me). Once I was able to at least talk to another human without crying, I went and visited one of my very favorite nurses that I still am in contact with. We went and visited her while she was working in the stroke unit.
The smell of the unit is homey and familiar, though not necessarily in a good way. I smell the hand sanitizer, a dispenser on every entry. I hear the hums and beeps of the machines in people’s rooms, some monitoring the patient attached to it, some keeping them alive. Walking down the hall into the unit, I see the beautiful photographs of nature scenes. I remember being rolled past those photos in my hospital bed, wishing more than anything that I could transport to one of those scenes.
Visiting my staff friends on the unit is always bittersweet. I am always overwhelmed with relief that I am no longer a patient, but I am also brought back to the too-recent time when I was. This visit was more sweet than bitter, because I was also able to see one particular patient care technician that I remember more vividly from my time at UCLA. When she recognized me, she was on the verge of tears. This woman changed my diapers (yeah, it happened), fielded every question from my family, apologized when I would cry from the pain in my collarbones as if there was something she could do.
It is always so humbling to go back and visit, it not only serves as a reminder of my lowest low, but the gratitude I feel for everyone working in that unit leaves me breathless. I am so thankful for every single person who stuck me with a needle, wiped my ass, or told me I wasn’t allowed to have water for the 1000000th time. My mom always jokes that I was thanking the people that came in to take my blood at 2AM, but I truly did. I sure wouldn’t want that job, the least I can do is say thanks.
So every day, I say thanks. Not to anyone in particular or about anything in particular, thanks is just my constant state of being. Today, I’m saying thanks for reading, thanks for caring.