Tag Archives: Daniel Keyes

Flowers for Algernon

flowers for algernon

Flowers for Algernon

Well I lived through another steroid injections in the neck episode. It must have worked because I’m able to get through the day without pain meds, muscle relaxers and on and on. I’ve caught myself smiling and laughing for no particular reason other than the joy to be alive on planet Earth. This adventure through pain and being under the influence of mind altering medications reminded me of a book I read decades ago called Flowers for Algernon.

The story describes the experience of a young man who had a low IQ. He agrees to submit to an experimental brain surgery that increases his intelligence to the point of genius. Along the way he realizes that people were laughing at him rather than with him when he was mentally challenged. The book turns into a tear jerker because the change was not permanent and his mental capacity starts to degrade. Along the way he is aware of the changes from “retarded” to genius and then the slide back down to low IQ again. He discovers that being “smart” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and that intelligence has little to do with happiness.

I feel like I’ve lived through that experience in reverse. I’m not claiming that I’m a genius, but on most days I can think my way out of a paper bag. The last few months have been a bizarre but enlightening experience. The witches brew of pain meds, muscle relaxers and antidepressants made me feel like I fell down a well and was thrashing around at the bottom with no way to climb out. I could feel my ability to think straight slipping away, but felt helpless to do anything about it.

Most of the time I didn’t know if it was me, or the pain, or the meds talking. I began to lose confidence in who I was, what I thought, what I had to say, what I wanted, didn’t want. The whole shebang flew out the window. It was an extremely unsettling experience. A weird sensation of walking around wondering how someone managed to kidnap my brain.

When I write posts I check with Word spelling and grammar check. One of results is what grade level the writing meets. I slipped down  to a 5th grade level and at that point I lost it and decided that I needed to take a break and let my brain recuperate.

But the cosmos threw a rope ladder down the well and every day I’m feeling a little more clear-headed. Mr. Husband is having trouble readjusting because once again his wife has undergone a personality transplant and is not dead from the neck up. I try to understand from his point of view. It must to be incredibly stressful to watch a spouse go through an extended illness or injury and feel so helpless. I confess that I’ve gone through a few sessions of peevishness, to put it lightly. Snapped at him the other day because he asked how I was feeling 3 times in 8 minutes. (I know because I timed it)

However, I woke up this morning feeling great. I slept through the night for the first time in months. Yee haa! Maybe I’ll send my doctor a dozen roses and a box of Omaha steaks! And of course shower the hub-man with lots of hugs and kisses. And a big thank you to all of you who have expressed kind thoughts and been patient with my whining and ramblings.

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