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Reading our way through a bleeding brain.

Posted in Health, and Life & Love

The white area is blood.
The white area is blood. This is not my father’s MRI – but this is how it looked.

My father suffered a massive bleed in his brain over the holidays. We noticed that his behaviour had changed a little, and he seemed to be reaching for words. He spent a lot of time sleeping and didn’t want to join in the usual chaos with the Nans. Something he has always embraced with imagination and endless patience. My mom and I had agreed that I would call Dad’s doctor when they got home, and let him know I was worried about what seemed to be a profound depression with some loss of focus and some personality shift. But nature had other plans and the day after they had left Cape Town, I was on the plane to Johannesburg to meet my mother at a Clinic – my father was undergoing brain surgery. 

I’m not going to write about that now. It’s all too fresh and I haven’t processed how I feel. He’s recovering – but, as the surgeon says – it’s a process. And we need to give it time. And right now time has coalesced into visiting hours and the time between visiting hours.

So I have been reading – books have always been my refuge, my mom’s and younger brother Chris’ (who came from London yesterday) too. She prefers lighter/slice of life/romance novels, he reads widely – particularly biography and history (current pick: The Railway Man) and I will entertain most comers – except Science Fiction/Fantasy, Russian classics and slush. Must be modern.

Right now my kindle is busy with Neil Young’s biography “Waging Heavy Peace” (one for diehard fans only – so I won’t elaborate), the new Harry Hole novel … always worth a canter, and I have been dipping into “Does My Goldfish Know Who I Am”. I wrote about it a few weeks ago, and the combination of great questions and brilliant answers have made me smile when I haven’t felt much like smiling.

boy2So – in honour of books and as thanks for all the times they come to our rescue – I want to share this piece. The question: “Why do we have books?” was posed by 9-year-old Otillie, and answered by the smart and infinitely curious Maria Popova of Brain Pickings.

“Some people might tell you that books are no longer necessary now that we have the internet. Don’t believe them. Books help us know other people, know how the world works, and, in the process, know ourselves more deeply in a way that has nothing to with what you read them on and everything to do with the curiosity, integrity and creative restlessness you bring to them.

Books build bridges to the lives of others, both the characters in them and your countless fellow readers across other lands and other eras, and in doing so elevate you and anchor you more solidly into your own life. They give you a telescope into the minds of others, through which you begin to see with ever greater clarity the starscape of your own mind.

And though the body and form of the book will continue to evolve, its heart and soul never will. Though the telescope might change, the cosmic truths it invites you to peer into remain eternal like the Universe.

In many ways, books are the original internet – each fact, each story, each new bit of information can be a hyperlink to another book, another idea, another gateway into the endlessly whimsical rabbit hole of the written word. Just like the web pages you visit most regularly, your physical bookmarks take you back to those book pages you want to return to again and again, to reabsorb and relive, finding new meaning on each visit – because the landscape of your life is different, new, “reloaded” by the very act of living.”

Selah!

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17 Comments

  1. winstonmoreton
    winstonmoreton

    Don’t remember reading this post – maybe because I had the same thing happen to me back in July this year but on a much smaller scale. Missus thought I had been out drinking but next morning I suggested to her we should see a Dr. Things happened fast then and I was processed as an emergency and hospitalised. It was only a TCI – but a warning of course. As I indicate above my memory has faded (the ability to retain names is fucked) and my balance has been affected – but hey it goes on and I hope your Dad does too. Did he get some associated Asperger syndrome too?

    September 27, 2016
    |Reply
    • No Aspergers but some other behavioural issues. He was just diagnosed with Diffuse Lewey Body Dementia. So we have a whole new journey ahead of us.

      September 28, 2016
      |Reply
      • winstonmoreton
        winstonmoreton

        Hi Sofa Girl – Very sorry to hear about your dad’s illness. I empathise with him and am certain he appreciates the support of his family around him

        September 28, 2016
        |Reply
  2. I am so sorry to hear about your dad. Sending prayers for his recovery!!

    January 15, 2014
    |Reply
    • Harriette Smith
      Harriette Smith

      I’m a new reader. Sad news about your Poppa but I do hope improvement happens daily. What does Selah mean in what language?

      January 17, 2014
      |Reply
      • Harriette – I use it to mean a sort of Amen. There is no one definition – and I have to admit I stole it from Hunter S Thompson who used it a lot. I appears in the book of Psalms … and the consensus is it means: Pause and Consider.

        January 18, 2014
        |Reply
  3. Sofagirl,
    Wishing the best for your father. I will send some positive thoughts his way.
    I also find it amazing that you can read. When I have something serious on my mind, it’s always so hard to concentrate–even a book that I might have been thoroughly enjoying. I hope your current reading can bring you some solace.

    I do love this line from your post: “In many ways, books are the original internet – each fact, each story, each new bit of information can be a hyperlink to another book, another idea, another gateway into the endlessly whimsical rabbit hole of the written word.”

    Best,
    Greekgirl

    January 13, 2014
    |Reply
  4. daldaeyes
    daldaeyes

    I hope he recovers soon. So sorry.xxx

    January 13, 2014
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  5. Thinking of you all and wishing your father a speedy and full recovery. xx

    January 13, 2014
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  6. I am really sorry for your father. May he get well soon. xx

    January 13, 2014
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  7. Good wishes for your Father’s speedy recovery. Last year my sister underwent lengthy brain surgery – for a different reason- and the recovery period was long and slow, but she’s up & running now, so be prepared for the long haul. Books are – among other things – a comfort, a refuge in stressful periods.

    January 13, 2014
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  8. I hope that your dad heals with the right medicine and time and I’m glad that during this time you are able to find your healing in books. They are my recourse too in difficult times. All my best.

    January 13, 2014
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  9. Sending healing thoughts to your dad. Hope he has a very speedy recovery.

    January 13, 2014
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  10. Indeed, books can be such an education, a distraction, and a comfort. I hope your dad recovers quickly.

    January 12, 2014
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  11. So sorry to hear about your father. Wishing him a speedy recovery x

    January 12, 2014
    |Reply

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