Why am I here? Why am I blogging about something that happened two years ago? Nobody starts blogs anymore, that’s like, so 2008. And yet, here I am. Finally ready, well sort of ready, as ready as I’ll ever be. I suppose I could wait and try to write this as an actual book manuscript, and that thought has crossed my mind many times, but my guess is that it would never get done that way. I’ve got three boys, the youngest of which is only 4. I’m also an adjunct professor at the local Catholic university, putting that fancy PhD in Medieval Studies from an acclaimed research school to work at a job that, although I enjoy it, brings in less than $10K a year. On the plus side, that leaves me available to take my youngest to preschool and to volunteer at the older boys’ Catholic school and our parish. So, my hands are full, to say the least. A blog seemed a more manageable and immediate forum.
Why has it taken me two years to do this? It just has. It’s as simple and as complex as that.
I’m starting today, May 1, 2014, so that I can spend a couple of days setting the stage. Then, my plan is to post an entry for each day that I was in the hospital from May 3rd to June 21st, that’s 51 days. 51 days. I was in the hospital for 51 days. Wow. That is staggering as I look at it. The story doesn’t end there. It doesn’t end at all. The events of May and June 2012 define me now. I didn’t want them to. I hoped they wouldn’t. Maybe, five years from now, they won’t any longer, but for now they do. Physically, mentally, psychologically, emotionally. After June 21st, I’m not sure what I intend to do. I have more to tell. We’ll just have to see how things go.
Who is this for? First and foremost, it’s for me. When I was a Film and Television student back in college, I dubbed my projects “Cheaper than Therapy Productions.” That still holds true. This is my therapy, a way to come to terms with my “new normal” (I’ve really come to hate that phrase). This blog is equally for my Facebook friends, of which I have about 265 at last count. Many of them didn’t know me two years ago. Many others were far away and had only a limited idea of what was going on. It would be impossible for me to tell each of you the whole story, such as it is, so this is my imperfect solution. Such as it is. That’s a key phrase.
I’m not sure how each of you feel, when reading a blog, about truth. When someone is sharing their experiences on a blog, be they of parenting, travel, religion or whatever, there is an expectation that those are experiences are “real” and “truthful.” I’ve watched debunking groups and sites crop up against popular bloggers because their blogs were perceived as dishonest. I’m not sure I can make the claim of truth here. I asked for my first anti-anxiety med as I waited in triage in the ER on May 3rd (I’d never had an anti-anxiety med before).By the following day, in the confines of the Neuro-ICU, Oxycontin (or was it Oxycodone, I don’t really remember) was being given to me to help control the constant pounding in my head and ears. Then came the craniotomy on May 8th and its accompanying stroke . Those are stories to tell as we progress, but I hope it’s obvious to all of you reading that absolute “truth” in this blog would be impossible.
The events happened two years ago. I was in a drug and trauma-induced haze, hence the name “The Missing Month of May.” I cannot promise that there will be no embellishment. I cannot promise that everything happened just as I describe it, or even happened at all except in my own damaged head. Rather than “truth,” I am aiming for “honesty.” These are my honest feelings, my honest thoughts, my honest reflections.
For the handful of you who walked this with me, particularly those who I am closest to, I’ll tell you now that this isn’t really aimed at you. You are welcome to read here and I hope you do, but you might not like it. In particular, I have in mind my husband and my mother. They went through their own personal hells as these events unfolded. As my husband has said time and time again “I lived through it once. I can’t do it again.” I have a couple of friends who may feel the same way, who saw me bald, bloody and stapled, strapped to the bed in an almost unreachable fog. You went there the first time. You don’t need to go there again if you don’t want to. I understand. However, I feel I should let you know that, if you visited me either in the neuro-ICU or the rehab ward, you very well may appear in this blog. I will only use your first name. Should that be against your wishes, please let me know ASAP.
I forked over the $18 to wordpress.com for the domain name missingmonthofmay with the understanding that this might, by accident or intention, reach a wider audience. When I came out of the hospital and set about the hard business of reclaiming what I could and redefining what I couldn’t, I hoped to find something or someone to follow, whose struggle was similar to my own, but I came up empty. It might be that I didn’t look hard enough. As you’ll see, even as damaged and broken as I was upon my release, life picked back up at a relentless pace. We made an offer on a house across town within 30 days of my release, closed within 60 days and moved to Clintonville, the Columbus neighborhood where we now reside, over Labor Day 2012. So, it could very well be that the perfect blog to guide my recovery was out there in cyberspace the whole time and I simply failed to discover it. Or it could be that it was just waiting for me to write it.