1/17/13

Being Broken

As anyone who follows me on twitter or tumblr knows, on Dec 29 I was in a car accident. I don’t remember anything about it, but this is what I’ve been told:

I was driving home from my parents’ house and it was starting to snow. The roads were exceptionally slippery that afternoon, although we don’t really know why. I slid out of control, turned 360 and went into the opposing traffic, where a jeep ran into my trunk (or I ran into it, the details are unclear, I suppose). My trunk was pushed into my back seat and the rest of my car followed suit. Amazingly my only injury was some lower back pain and a serious concussion (and several brain bleeds). I was in the ICU for a week and then moved to a regular hospital room before being released into the care of my parents.

All of this is scary enough, but some of the scarier things, for me at least, happened once I was released home. I felt normal. Sure I was weak on my feet and got dizzy, but that seemed fine. Once I was home however, I realized that there were some other concussion ramifications aside from dizziness and memory loss.

For a while I couldn’t read anything because my eyes would focus on two different points in the word and I’d see double of it all. This was especially terrifying since I work as an editor as a living, a writer as a dream, and a reader as a mainstay of existence. So that had me panicking, plus I couldn’t read to relax when tense, so it was a cruel circle!

My eyes are slowly getting better. While now I have some issues focusing, especially for long periods of time, at least now I don’t need to close one eye just to browse the internet/read twitter. I still have physical therapy and exercises to do, but the progression I’ve already made encourages me not to panic about the issues I still have.

My parents moved a bed to the downstairs for me (to keep me off the steps when they weren’t around), but I had a ton of trouble sleeping at night. The bed has since moved upstairs into my old bedroom and I’ve been sleeping somewhat better, although some nights are still hit or miss. The fact that I can now read when I’m restlessly awake has helped. Reading old favorites helps me keep my sanity.

On a grander scale, I’m extremely limited in many parts of my life.

The accident happened on Dec 29 and I went to my parents’ home on Jan 4th I believe. However, I can’t go back to work (any work) or drive until I have a follow-up appointment with my neurologist, which isn’t until January 31st. So I’m very much stuck. (For reference, my parents live in the country, so there are no sidewalks and very little public transport, so I’m dependent on the kindness of family and friends for visitations and travel.) As soon as I get approval from the neurologist I get to buy a new car (errr, a new used one) and go back to work, but considering how easily I tire, even work will be slow in returning to normal.

What all of this means....

*** I can’t write (despite having TONS of free time). I can’t focus; I can’t sink into the stories I was writing; and I’m somewhat terrified of screwing up the stories I did have going.

*** I can’t edit. Until recently, reading was almost impossible for more than a few sentences, so I can’t edit any of my previous works and I can’t work at all. I’ve been working on developing my ocular strength, but it’s really something that won’t let itself be pushed.

*** I’m not reviewing. While I could technically start reading and reviewing again, I’m holding off because I’m a bit of an emotional mess at the moment. Some mornings I start crying for no reason. I’m not a crier. So I’m a little concerned any book I read/review may not be honestly reviewed, so I’m not jumping right back into that.

However...

*** I’m hoping at the beginning of February to return to my full-time job, have a car, and slowly ease back into my hectic life. It’s probably going to be a little crazy in the beginning as I learn to re-cope with everything, but I will be returning. Please be patient.

*** I have a short story that needs some additions/edits, but will hopefully be going out and be accepted for a free anthology. It’s just supposed to be a fun little thing, but it will sort of be my first writing thing back after the accident, so it’s scary!

*** I’m making good progress with my physical therapy and overall advancements. I go to the gym and walk the track at least 3 days a week to keep me physical (and help me sleep at night). So I’m not wasting away, although all progress results in headaches and muscle aches.

I’ll try to keep everyone fairly updated, but the best place to find random updates is on twitter @alexwhitehall or on my tumblr here: http://www.tumblr.com/blog/alexwhitehall.

That’s it for now. More updates, reviews, and future writing adventures to come as my scrambled little brain can handle it.

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