I’ve said that before I had the stroke one of my goals was to read all the books that had been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. When I (re)learned to read and I remembered that goal after the stroke, I tried to keep it.
Last year’s fiction prize was a book titled All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I’m about half way through the book. The premise of the story is that a young woman (Marie-Laure LeBanc) loses her eyesight at age 6 due to cataracts. To compensate for her loss of sight, her father who oversees all the locks at the Museum of Natural History in Paris in 1934 devices tiny intricate models of the places she must go, so that she learns to navigate by touch and then by memory. It’s the power of the mind that I’ve talked about. Our brains are amazing! Just the title alone is great! I think of it as a tribute of how our brains adjust. (Not to mention how important it is to have somebody love us!) I think this is a great title and concept. I often comment on the fact there is so much more that we cannot see. Some animals put humans to shame with their tongues and what they can do with them. That’s compensation. Consider an animal (like a giraffe) who has a rough tongue. Maybe they don’t taste flavor much but taste texture! I loved spicy foods before so when I first had the stroke and lost my sense of taste and smell, I figured I was lost. I tell the story that when I had salsa (I knew that was spicy) my tongue would get numb! Isn’t that great? I couldn’t taste the salsa but my tongue would get numb!
A couple of years ago when I did the post on Autumn, I mentioned the succulents. A lot of the smell has come back but not as strong as it was before. While I did not lose my sight, there are a lot of adjustments we made to compensate. Matt and I had somebody from a San Francisco nursery that specializes in succulents, design the back yard and its contents with succulents. The designer was very thoughtful in his design and something is blooming year round! Succulents are perfect for me because they don’t smell but they are wonderful in their appearance. As I said before, I highly recommend succulents to other stroke survivors who want to pursue their gardening interests and have similar issues. I have learned to appreciate the beauty of succulents. My original impressions about succulents they were all like cacti! Not so. There is so much more to consider. As I’ve said before (in staying with the gardening theme), remember people who plant trees.
I think most people know I love sports, especially baseball. One of the things that I like the most is the idea of “forgetting”. (I think most sports fans hang on to a negative situation — a loss, a bad play, a bad call, you name it, more than most players.) As a fan lof baseball I’m always amazed at players who have a bad game and yet go out and play the next game as if nothing happened. It’s the forgetfulness that is impressive. There are 162 games in a standard baseball season. That’s a long season. If you think about it (like life), a single loss puts things in perspective. For his birthday, I gave Matt a sweatshirt that says “For. Ev. Er.” It’s a reference/quote in the movie The Sandlot. I love that movie. It’s the big picture that I’ve mentioned before. We live in the moment but some things we do are for the long term. It’s the light we cannot see.
I have shared a lot of these thoughts before but called it something else. I hope you are as ok with it as I am. (My memory is not as good as it was before the stroke!) I’ve noticed that lots of things have a different significance than they did before I had the stroke. I’ve said before strokes are called “brain attacks”. It’s difficult to see what happens in a brain. Some people have physical things associated with a stroke, others do not. Since I have had the stroke, I am very aware that there are things we cannot see.