158. Floppy Me

Aren't these lilacs pretty?  They didn't bloom the year I got sick, but now they're back in action (like me).

Aren’t these lilacs pretty? They didn’t bloom the year I got sick, but now they’re back in action (like me).

I had a funny moment yesterday.  I was having a cup of green tea right before 6 o’clock (this is when my drinking window closes – I was advised in the hospital to limit liquids after 6 so I wouldn’t be getting up all night), and I remembered that Katie’s Red Velvet Brownies are indeed NOT dairy free as I originally stated (unless you use soy yogurt).  So I fixed all of the pictures/text I could that was already online, and I apologize for misleading anyone.  It was unintentional, I promise.  I blame the brain injury.  In case you missed it, a large chunk of my cerebellum is missing.  The cerebellum isn’t in charge of remembering the ingredients in a recipe, but I surmise that messing with one portion of the brain didn’t have a truly isolated impact.  I have never asked my surgeon how much since it doesn’t really matter anymore – I’m proof that you can live with a partial brain and knowing the hard number (I do know a ballpark via my neurologist, but I don’t state it publicly) won’t impact the way I live.  I feel the way I do, and I try to compensate – it’s been the same since before I was aware anything had been removed during surgery, too.  I just trot out the fact that I’m functioning with fewer grey cells than pre-AVM as a convenient excuse when I have a brain flop moment.

Side Note:  I saw a heartbreaking picture yesterday (like the one below) of wheelchairs waiting behind a police barricade at the Boston Marathon.  I have been assured multiple times that removing anything during surgery is a necessary life-saving action, and nothing is removed unless it HAS to be removed.  I would assume the same rule for amputation.  To those who lost limb(s) at the marathon, in combat, in a car wreck etc. – you can and will learn to live again.  

from yahoo news

from yahoo news

A brain flop moment is more desirable than a falling flop moment – when you actually fall while walking.  The first time I fell in public my sister consoled me by telling me a story of a lady walking into the elementary school at the same time as Ai Ai.  The lady tripped and her stroller went rolling but thankfully my sister caught it and the baby before they got too far away.  So falling happens even to perfectly able-bodied people.  It just happens more often to me than you.

Falling is becoming such a normal part of life I’ve learned to barely notice it any more.  I might lose my balance and gasp, but I move on as quickly as possible since it’s such a commonplace occurrence and I’d rather continue the conversation I was having or keep my activity going, etc.  A few weeks ago I was at Pool Therapy and E asked me if there was anything new going on.  I had been absent for a while and I showed up with my back hurting.   “Any falls?” she asked.  “Not on the floor or anything,” I told her.  But then I thought a little harder and was like, “Okay, maybe once on the floor.”

I had honestly forgotten!  I’m glad I’m able to forget things like this.  Of course, I’d rather not fall in the first place, but since I do fall I’m pleased that it doesn’t rattle me like it used to.  It’s a common saying that if you fall, you get up again [and do whatever you were trying to do].  It helps that I know how to fall, and am used to minimizing the chances of sprawling on the floor.  But even in handling the mini-flops (e.g. when I can brace myself against a wall or a piece of furniture) I am too interested in living life to be distracted for long.

Ed would like you to read this:

153. Happy (Early) Anzac Day!

Anzac Biscuits || Ann Ning Learning How

When the weather got warm in OR I looked forward to going to the Farmers’ Markets near my apartment.  I’d often breeze in after work and have a look-see to scope out what might be good for dinner.  I often stopped by a bake stand run by an Australian lady who made lamingtons and Anzac biscuits among many other treats.  She’d recognize me since I’d be carrying my little shopping basket and wearing one of the sun hats I kept in the car.

I tried many baked goods from her pastry case, but the Anzac biscuits were my favorite and I’ve remembered them until now.  They are like a sweet version of the Scottish oat cakes from my favorite cookbook that M made for me right before I flew to MD.  They were on my mind since New Zealand popped up in my countries list recently and so of course I started thinking about Anzacs again and was so pleased to find an easy, flourless recipe from Australia’s The Healthy Chef.  (The recipe is linked.  The only substitution I made was to use coconut oil instead of macadamia or olive oil.  I also pressed this into a tin to make bars.  PS – seriously, this recipe is so simple.  If I can do this, so can you.  And I love the shortbread texture!)

“ANZAC” really stands for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, who fought in WWI.  The biscuit folklore indicates that wives sent these cookies to their deployed husbands since the ingredients kept well and withstood transportation.  I just think they’re yummy, and wanted to share them with you in honor of my hardcore friends who are learning how to live without being able to walk.  Since we reside in different states and getting to the post office is rarely feasible for me, however, this is act of cookie sharing is a virtual one, and I will take responsibility for consuming them in real life.  I should probably have waited to post this since it’s ANZAC day on April 25, but I couldn’t help myself.

One more thing – WWI was referred to as “The Great War” or “The War to End all Wars.”  And then WWII happened.  So when I think of my non-walking friends, and also of people like me who have been given some cataclysmic circumstances I think of WWI and how it was truly awful, and then another worldwide conflict arose.  I think this pattern is representative of life – yes, getting sick was cataclysmic for me.  But what happened two years ago was not the end, nor is a car accident or any other sort of medical event the “end” for a survivor.  There is a lifetime of fallout to be dealt with.  The encouraging cards, visits, etc. might bolster you up early in your recovery, but pretty soon you’ll find yourself wondering how you’re going to go grocery shopping in a wheelchair for the first time, or you get yourself stuck in the bathroom at home (because that’s a small room) and you feel terribly alone.

I don’t have anything very pithy and comforting to say at this point.  I just wanted to tell you that although I don’t have to sit in a wheelchair anymore I remember what it feels like, and I’m rooting for you every day that you sit in yours.