Brain Blog: 1 Year Later

It occured to me while I was doing today’s challenge – baking biscuits while listening to the news (news I will later have to recount to Maria as best as I can)- I have been out of the hospital for a whole year… like today (or thereabouts). It’s not a day I had written on my calendar, I just know I got out of ICU in early June of 2010 after my last series of operations.  It kind of hit me like a forgotten arm, but today (or thereabouts) is kind of a huge deal for me. 

I kind of feel like this. But with a shirt on.

A year ago there is no way…NO WAY… Maria and I would have even dared think that I would be out of the hospital a full year.  The most I had really gone during my unlucky span was like a month, and every time it felt like I was going to be ok that was inevitably when an ambulance would have to be called to pick me up. Feeling optimistic sometimes felt akin to being in the eye of the storm.

It has been a pretty intense year, too.  I have had to turn every aspect of my life (for the most part) in to some sort of therapy for my brain.  A very talented group of people followed me around with cameras and lights and microphones as I tried my hand at standup comedy for When I Grow Up which we then debuted at PAX East (one of the most important hours of my life). We also made a bunch of funny videos to make people want to see it.

I’ve learned how to paint pictures in my head so I don’t forget small lists of things when I go shopping. I’ve started a blog, had to relearn how to be social, and tried to be honest even when it hurts

I’ve had to accept some things that are negatives and make them into positives.  I’ve had to work my butt off evey day to get some sort of forward momentum, and dodge depression. 

I’ve learned firsthand what “Dissociative Sleep” is, which is occasionally pretty funny but generally very scary.

I’ve learned how to bake after relearning how to learn. I read all my books by ear now, and I don’t think I’ve been to the movie theater once since my last surgery.  I can pay attention for about 10 minutes when I’m at my absolute best, which isn’t great but is up from about 30 seconds a year ago.

I am starting to be able to create memories again and then recall them.  I’m not great, but I am so much better than a year ago.

I got nominated as a Badass by a really cool new organization, but I feel really humbled by the other people nominated.  They are totally badass. And since I am blowing my own horn here I think I should mention that a two-part interview with me went up on GamerFitNation.

I miss the gaming industry even though I have been lucky to stay in touch with many of the people who made it so great for me.  One day I hope to get back into it and bring along some of what I have learned about the brain (and gaming).

I not only proposed to my girlfriend but I did it kind of craftily so she didn’t know it was about to happen. She said yes. I can’t even tell you how happy that makes me.

And that seems to be a pretty good way to cap off my year that was awful and great, happy and devastating, surprising when not mind-numbingly dull, and pretty fantastic if you look at it in just the right light.  Maybe not perfect, but what the hell is?

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3 Responses to Brain Blog: 1 Year Later

  1. Laura says:

    I squee every time I think of your engagement! Can’t wait to hear about your craftiness!

  2. Kim says:

    Congratulation on a great year. I saw When I Grow up at PAX East and was very inspired. Your unrelenting spirit and postive attitude along with good medical care seem to be what got you to where you are. I hope that everything continues to go in your favor and that I get to see the next installation of When I Grow Up soon.

  3. Mary Jean says:


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