Nothing Else Teaches You to Live in the Moment Like Amnesia

Dear Facebook Diary,


My birthday was this past Saturday and I am now just six years away from what I consider to be middle age. Another sign of my relentless aging is that my 15-year high school reunion is on this upcoming Saturday. I learned of this reunion back in May but was somewhat avoiding it because my mental version of high school was recorded a bit differently, with several erased moments and most likely with a lot of mistakes in terms of what really happened.


Granted that I could have easily been labeled a borderline alcoholic, chewing tobacco abusing, pothead piece of shit by the age of 16, and every one of those mindless devotions alter memory capabilities for the worst; it is that goddamn car accident that bumped my head into a month long snoozer that fucked up the memories of my past. I say this because when I meet up with friends from my childhood and high school they like to reminisce about things we’d done together, and while I remember some of the events, namely the humorous ones, I end up having to nod my head with a smile as if I really know what the hell they’re talking about.


Even worse is remembering who people are. It is impossible for me to remember names but since moving back to Kearney I regularly meet people that can tell me one or more stories, sometimes good stories, about events that I was involved in with them. And I have zero fucking clues as to what they’re talking about or even who this person is. People try to tell me that this is common and in certain circumstances I know it is, but I recognized this problem immediately after I had awoken from a coma and hadn’t even graduated high school yet. I went to my ten-year high school reunion five years ago and while I remember my closest friends very well, I probably knew less than 10% of everyone else that was there.


My memory is very strange in its operations ever since it had the shit smashed out of it in that car wreck. I am able to remember events semi well, but I have no emotional memory of anything before the car accident. What I mean is that I am unable to remember times of ever being embarrassed or how I felt when somebody I knew died or ever loving anyone. When I think back to the memories that I do have there’s no emotion, and the ones that I remember best are the funny memories because they’re still funny when I tell them to others. I think I still have a bit of this inability to embed emotions into my memories because I have an uncanny ability to just move on after an incident or separation from friends. This flaw in my cranial hard drive has damaged many of my relationships from the past, including childhood friends and family members. And I can still count on one finger how many times I’ve ever felt like I was genuinely in love and I’m never really seeking more of it anymore. And I think the memory thing is part of what makes me good with little kids. People always say that being around kids is great because kids know how to live in the moment, but kids can only live in the moment because they don’t have any past you dumbshit. And that’s how I feel fairly often, like I don’t have much of a past to look back on.


Anyway, this is what it is like to be afflicted with actual amnesia. When people tell me something that I or we did together and I have no memory of it, I feel like they’re lying to me because I genuinely have no recording of it in my mind. It’s like if somebody told you about the time you were getting stoned at Jeffrey the “Dahmernator’s” place and neither of you had any money for munchies so you decided to kill a guy on the street and eat him and then Jeff got into the habit of eating people instead of spending money on food whenever he got high because Jeff never had money and then Jeff was busted for it and you used to cry while you talked about how guilty you felt for getting him hooked on the whole ‘people eating’ thing. You wouldn’t believe the story because it’s something that never happened. So at these reunions I end up listening to a lot of stories of things that I did and I’m not even sure if they’re true or not because I sure as hell don’t remember them.


You know, I’ve never really spoken in any detail about what it’s like to recover from a boo-boo that stung so deep it killed me and then put me into a long coma. Another reason this is on the forefront of my screwy mind is because on Tuesday I talked to a friend of the past at length about this car accident that has become a legend at Kearney High School. Or at least it was for a semester or two. Here’s what happens after waking up from a coma:


First, my memories were completely scrambled. You don’t just instantly wake up from a coma and snap out of it. I was awake for a month before I was fully conscious of what was going on around me. My body also wasn’t working right because I was partially paralyzed on the left side of my body. I was also mostly blind and a little deaf on my left side and even though some of that still continues today, it has never bothered me because I have no memory of what it’s like to have feeling and sight and sound on my left side. I never noticed it until a doctor tested my sight and stuff and then he told me that the left side of my body is fucked up, but I have no frame of reference as to being able to fully function on both sides of my body so I’ve never had to adjust to it or anything.


Second, this is when things start getting fucked up. I am talking about the recovery period that begins about a month or two after waking up from a coma. It’s like your brain goes through constant systems checks on a 24-hour basis. Some days I was so horny that I couldn’t control myself and then the next day or even later that evening I wouldn’t be able to get it up to save my life whether I had cranked one out or not. I would feel extremely depressed and maybe even suicidal for days or maybe a few hours and then I would be so happy that I would pee, poop, and ejaculate simultaneously just from the sound of a singing bird. I will openly admit now that there was a lot of sexual confusion during this time. I have always been straight and never felt any need to question it, but during this recovery time my sexual preferences were all over the fucking place. I flew through the whole boner preference spectrum from being asexual to thumbing the ornament of my pelvic tree to videos of coprophagia.


My emotions were all over the fucking place too. The frontal lobes, or emotion feeling part of my brain was damaged the most and there was a sort of self-kept war on the emotional front in my mind. I would feel absolutely dead on the inside for a few weeks or months, and then I would be so extremely emotional that I would cry when Indiana Jones slightly wept about his favorite dog that he took his namesake from. I specifically remember feeling very paranoid for an extended amount of time. There was a good three or four months where I rarely left my bedroom because I was truly scared that people I knew were hell bent on hurting or killing me. This shit went on for a solid four years and it wasn’t until I was 25 that I felt like I was emotionally sound again and able to have normal feelings like everyone else. My sleep is also really screwed up and that has yet to get better, so I’ve given up on having a normal sleep pattern.


Third, the compulsions are a downer. Now I don’t know why, but more than one doctor told me that I would have trouble controlling my compulsions after being in a coma. I don’t know where they got that shit from but it’s true. When I drink alcohol I drink until I’m face down. When I want to play a video game or read a book or watch movies, well that’s what I’m doing non-stop for a week or so. The girl I talked to on Tuesday, her ex husband was in this same car wreck and was knocked into a coma as well and he’s all kinds of compulsive now too. The one thing that has saved me from this is becoming a meathead. I am compulsive about exercising and eating healthy and it’s made all the difference. I still drink more alcohol than I should but it’s balanced out by the fact that I have to workout everyday and I am eating 250% healthy until the sun goes down.


Fourth, the mind lapse thing, well, it’s whatever. It’s never been noticeable to others because I have always been aware of it and know how to cover it up, but the types of things that I can forget on a daily basis amaze me. Here’s a common one, I could be spending an entire day with someone that I’ve known for years now, and then in mid conversation I start being a little less talkative because I realize that I can’t remember this person’s name or maybe even how I know them. It rarely lasts longer than a few minutes but it’s scary as shit when it happens. Sometimes I wonder if I’m having a fucking stroke or something. I’ve even forgotten my own name while signing checks and my birthdate and address are almost always up for grabs. That’s probably because my abilities to do math and anything related to numbers were messed up. I’m not talking about a brief pause before I remember my name, I’m talking about setting down my checkbook and having to find my driver’s license or something. All of this scares me because statistically I am way more likely to have dementia when I’m older because I had my head smashed out my ass when I was younger, and that older age is approaching faster than I want it too. Writing and memorizing written things on a regular basis is what I rely on to keep my mind working. It’s a small part of the reason that I have this blog thingy.


In the end, this whole story is useless. I normally only talk about the fact that I spent a month in a coma because it’s a nice little conversation piece to throw out there when everyone is quiet and unable to find something interesting to say, or if I’m really trying to get laid and I’m desperate enough to play a pity card. I’ve just been thinking about it this week after talking to Tailier Wetland on Tuesday and today I realized that I’m going to mingle and converse with well-known strangers again on Saturday. I’ll get some drinks in me and let the alcohol do the talking

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