In all the sadness, and heartache in my life right now, there is a happy and triumphant accomplishment.
I read a book.
And not just any book, but a rather large novel.
That might not seem like a huge accomplishment, but for me, right now it is.
I used to read every day. I always had a novel on the go. One year in university when I took summer session, I had to take a book back to the library before I finished it, because I kept thinking of the book while I was in class.
Because summer session goes so fast, 1 day of missed classes due to daydreaming, equals 1 week in regular session classes. I realized I just couldn’t keep daydreaming about fictional characters if I was going to pass the class.
I passed. With an A.
Unfortunately I forgot the author of the book, and couldn’t take the book out again when regular session resumed. I’ve always wondered but never knew what the end of the book was.
Before I was in the ICU, I read a variety of genres (everything from comics and graphic novels, through many and various forms of fiction, and into non-fiction, like Elisabeth Kubler Ross’s books about dying).
I like to experience and see the world through other people’s eyes. I like to learn about almost everything. (Not bugs… I found that out by experience when an entomology student tried to explain all the intricacies of the common house fly (including the reproductive cycle) to me, at a party when I was in the university. It was very boring, and I left that conversation as quickly as I could, and I avoided him after that.)
After the ICU…
The letters were just indecipherable squiggles. Even the comic book Mom brought to me in the hospital, was hard to read. Their was only one letterer, in the whole comic book that printed in a font that I could read, and even then I had to close one eye.
Oddly enough, I could write, and as I said before I wrote pages and pages of stuff, starting the first day I woke up from sedation.
After I woke up from sedation, I couldn’t read. I also couldn’t see very well, and asked my family to bring my glasses in, but my glasses only made it worse. Way worse. Now I could see the nurses and doctor’s with three eyes even more clearly than before. I had no idea that it was delirium. I thought I had double vision, or maybe I was in a hospital ward, where everybody had three eyes.
My brother and sister-in-law brought a small library of books to me, flowers (which they had to remove from the ICU ward), and a writing cushion.
Slowly I was able to read the comics, and then large print books, but I couldn’t read for very long, without having to squint, close one eye, and tire myself out so much I fell asleep within 1/2 a page.
That was two years ago. Since that time I have tried to read several books, and couldn’t. I struggled so much that I lost track of what I was reading. I could read comic books, but not novels, and I missed that.
Enter the audiobook. It filled a need, but….
A few month’s ago, Linwood Barclay’s book, Elevator Pitch, was finally released. Knowing I wouldn’t be able to read it, I ordered it in audiobook form. After months of waiting for the audiobook form to be released, I put the disk in the CD player, and cringed. It was awful.
An elevator was plunging multiple stories and the reader sounded board, like he just didn’t care that people were going to die within seconds.
I tried to stick it out, but in 10 minutes I angrily took the CD out and realized I would have to either read the book or never know what was in it.
I read the book. I read the first few pages in the bathtub, the place I used to love to read, before the ICU. And then I read it out of the bathtub. And then I read it in my bed, before going to sleep. And then I started thinking about it during the day. And then I read it during the day, in the middle of the afternoon, just because.
And then… I finished it.
I read the entire novel, remembered what I read at the beginning of the novel, and didn’t have to close one eye through most of it.
I was so proud of myself. To me, that is a happy and triumphant accomplishment, that signals to me, that I am getting better, and I am slowly but surly returning to the health I had before going into the ICU, because of an allergic reaction because of an allergy I didn’t know I had.