Thursday, August 14, 2008

Yesterday was a travel day. I am visiting my friend Jolie for about a week. She looks extremely tired and a bit washed out. That's probably normal, given all she's been through in the past six months.

The flight here was uneventful and the views were spectacular. This flight was much easier on me than my last two trips when I was still wracked with shingles pain. Getting a window seat was key. I took a few pictures along the way because I saw some really cool things.

Jolie and I spent quite a bit of time talking about our "differently wired" brains. It is actually a relief to have a conversation about life with a wonky brain, and to know that the other person understands exactly what you're talking about and why it matters. There is no patronizing promise that life will get better. There is no feigned interest in the subject matter. There is a lot of familiarity and common ground. Yes, it's a relief to know we can speak honestly and know there is no judgment. For once.

I'm worried about Jolie. She looks so beaten down. Her spunky demeanor has been replaced by a sadness so deep, she can't even try to pretend she feels otherwise. In a moment of levity, we played therapist and patient today. I asked Jolie all of those questions my therapist asked me for two years. Sitting there and role playing, I realized that during my therapy sessions, I had been giving witty, insightful answers to painfully trite questions. Jolie's answers alternated between painful and painfully funny. She hasn't lost her sense of humor, just the mental energy to use it very often.

I am incredibly impressed by Jolie's progress in her recovery from the motorcycle accident. Her bones and muscles are healing well, and she has been diligent in carrying out her prescribed therapy routine. She is walking well and doing it well ahead of schedule.

The head injury has not healed as quickly. Jolie scowls a bit and tunes out as she works her way through word search puzzles and sudoku. She reads articles about head trauma and impatiently waits for the return of her cognitive abilities. She wants to feel better. She wants to feel happier. She wants to look forward to getting out of bed in the morning. Right now, she doesn't look forward much at all, since there is so much to concentrate on in the moment.

Jolie asked me how I would feel if she died. It was a hard question to answer. I would be devastated, I do know that. I believe that if she had died in the accident or if she were to die as a suicide, I would grieve deeply either way. She is one of the few close friends I have. How would I feel? Sad. Lonely. Lost. Times a hundred. Or a thousand.

1 comment:

Spilling Ink said...

The physical therapy has got to be agony with such injuries. I hope she keeps progressing well and I'm glad you get to spend some time with her. True friends are so rare and valuable.