There’s a lot of factors with the (additional to usual) cognitive problems I’m having. There’s delirium, including just the sheer fact of five weeks in the hospital. Two friends have suggested I was traumatized in there, which is accurate — not just by people but by situations. There’s the fact that I am now on about six separate meds for nausea, all of which have cognitive side effects.
But I just noticed that habit is another part of it too. When I was in the hospital, I was dealing with long periods of time in severe physical discomfort with no interaction with people and nothing in my environment to break things up or distract me. (Which, yes, is one of those situations that can be pretty traumatic on its own. Out of control severe pain with no treatment or distraction or end in sight?) My instinctive response to this was to curl up in a ball and drift away mentally. Which meant drifting into a really bizarre hallucinatory world shot through with its own kind of pain (my DPA thinks it is the kind of pain that accompanies lots of forms of brain damage, whatever it was was awful). But it sort of vaguely worked.
And that was my reaction to anything there. Practically everything was beyond my control, I often couldn’t communicate adequately what was wrong, and I didn’t like asking for pain meds often because they made my nausea worse. I couldn’t get out of bed and had no wheelchair. So drifting off was pretty much my only means of controlling what was happening to me. Not that it was always voluntary. Not by a long shot. But when it was, the reason why made sense in that environment.
Now I’m at home. The environment is very different and I have much more control and mobility. But my instinctive reaction to lots of problems — even before it hits the point of being voluntary — is to curl up and drift off into the clouds. Which really fucking doesn’t work well out here for my brain functioning how it should.
But my DPA says I have a giant hole to climb out of and that I’m doing better every day. I don’t always see it. Especially at my worst moments. But it’s apparently happening. Which seems good even if it’s invisible to me.
Oh and can I say that hands down the worst part of the hospital for me are those long periods of physical suffering without anything or anyone breaking them up? If the pain or nausea or delirium is bad enough they outright scare me. And yet it’s at moments like that I act like a cat and throw everyone out because I “want to be alone” WTF. My DPA tried to break me of that habit this time because extra people around = extra eyes on staff. But my instinctive reaction, again not the greatest, is “no energy for people, GO AWAY NOW!”