Thursday, November 08, 2007

In Which Ev and Kwachie Have An Adventure

It's time once again to revisit the topic of Evie's Head Injury.

As I've already mentioned, I got new glasses last week. They're a lot stronger than the old ones, and they've really taken some getting used to. But I've been adjusting slowly over the last few days. Yesterday, however...I couldn't see crap. My vision was so distorted and weird that I kept taking my new glasses off and looking at them to see if they were damaged or dirty or something. It was so bad I could barely shuffle around the yard, let alone actually try to drive somewhere.

Last night, I complained about my glasses to Lori. She said, "Umm...Ev? Did you take your medicine?"

Ah! But I did then, and an hour later my glasses had miraculously healed themselves.

Urban Pedestrian posted a reply to our blog entry yesterday, talking about our adventures. That cracked me up. Feral Mom goes out of her way to meet other bloggers. Suzanne from CUSS travels and writes books. We rarely do anything. We hang around the house with the family and never go much of anywhere except to work and to town. We've recently started taking little driving trips around the Midwest (this weekend we'll be in St. Louis), but even that much activity is pretty new for us.

I joke a lot that I'm autistic, but what actually happened when I injured my brain is that my ability to sort stimulus and ignore the unimportant stuff...ambient noise, movement, smells, etc...was severely diminished. As a result, I'm easily overwhelmed by sensory input. Loud things freak me out. That takes a lot of activities that other people do... movies and concerts and things like that... off my plate. Crowds of people freak me out because they all move around a lot, and in unpredictable ways. That takes care of events, plays, malls, etc. I tend to be undone by seeing a lot of movement, especially if it appears random. I want people and things to just sit still, please.

Now that I'm sufficiently and steadily medicated, those things are less of an issue in my life. I can go places that have people and not flee after a few minutes, but I think I still have enough residual caution to keep me from going too far out of my comfort zone. I'm happy to hang around the house, putter in the yard, and fantasize about what the neighbors are up to.

I worry that I might be crazy, or that I might appear crazy, so for a long time I avoided people who knew me before I hurt my head. Occasionally I bump into someone who says, "Ev! I heard you were back in town! It's great to see you!"

And I say, "You know? I got hit on the head a few years ago, and I don't remember a lot of things, and well...I don't remember you. Can you tell me again why I know you?"

Or else I just avoid going places where people might recognize me.

So all of that is the lead in for this: We're going to St. Louis tonight, and I'm really excited about it, but I can feel that I'm also a little apprehensive because it's out of my routine. That means that the things I do that soothe me when I'm rattled won't be puttering in the yard or petting the cats or sitting on the porch in the sun.

So I kind of laughed at the word "adventures" since I'm the least adventurous person I know, but we'll go to St. Louis, see the Botanical Gardens and the antique stores in St. Charles and visit Hannibal, MO and see Mark Twain's home and have fun. I'll feel safe with Lori...I know that if I tell her I'm overwhelmed, she won't mind stopping whatever we're doing and do something else. We'll take a lot of pictures and see lots of interesting things and blog about the things we see, and I'll be proud of myself for doing something different.

And then we'll come home and I'll be able to get back to my rituals. Whew!


Suzanne said...

Have a fantastic trip! I think the key to a good trip is to know what works for you and stick to it. You've got that down pat, so I can't wait to hear about the things you did.


Have a great time and do what we'd do for kids on long, unfamiliar trips -- take along some familiar, comforting things to focus on when you need to.