In Which a Zombie Is Conceived

Some people call it their re-birthday. This is more fun
A year ago today the seeds of my becoming a zombie were sown. Well, truth be told they were probably sown a few days to a week before that. If we are going to stay in this metaphor, a year ago today was the moment of conception.

Are zombies born or made? A question for another time. Moving on!

A year ago today, The Boy and I played hooky from work and went to the Royal Ontario Museum to see the Wildlife Photography exhibit. We’d spent the early parts of the weekend together, but he felt sick so I sent him back home. By Monday he was 85% back to normal — he claims he has a weak constitution, but it’s ironclad — and off we went. Halfway through the exhibit, I started feeling like I was coming down with something. I remember us sitting on a bench, each eating a small box of raisins, me feeling kinda crappy, him feeling kinda tired, and both of us feeling kinda underwhelmed by that year’s exhibit.

And then we kissed each other goodbye and he went home to his place and I went home to mine.
My next sustained memory is waking up in the ICU on March 30 with an oxygen hose attached to a hole in my throat.

Which is the most surreal (and scary) thing that’s ever happened to me.

I have a handful of memory flashes between those two dates, strewn across a three-week blank space like little dots of light.

There is one flash of being in my doctor’s office and her telling me I had the flu, but no memory of my symptoms.

I remember asking David to buy me an extra mattress topper and sending him the research I'd done Friday evening. Because I did come down with something — H1N1 flu had absolutely flattened me during that week. I’ve heard stories of how I stayed up one full night because it hurt too much to lie down, and of hitting myself because another kind of pain would be less pain (hence the mattress topper). I don’t remember that pain or anything else from that week, though.
I remember trying to find an x-ray clinic open on a Saturday (no luck), but not the appointment at a walk-in clinic where I was diagnosed with pneumonia, given a prescription for high dose prednisone and antibiotics, and a referral for chest x-ray.

Another flash has a clutch of doctors standing at the foot of my ICU bed debating whether to extubate me, but no memory at all about the ventilator tube in my mouth. There’s a fair bit of detail about their conversation and my attempts to psychically influence the decision, then being laid flat on my bed and a young resident bending over me. He was wearing a face shield.

And then I woke up with a tracheostomy and was told I flatlined.

The next three weeks are going to be odd. I’m very aware of this anniversary, an event that takes me through the better part of a month. An anniversary where I remember very little save the two bookends and where I didn’t truly understand the magnitude of the second until after I was discharged.

Truth be told, I'm still struggling with understanding it all. How can you process something you don't remember?

How do you mark such an anniversary, of being given the gift of life yet again? I don’t want for the day to just pass like any other, although that in itself would be a celebration. Instead, I’d like to do something that celebrates life thoroughly, something a bit unusual, one of those somethings that creates memories.

And I’m stumped. So I decided to take it to the blog in the hope that you can help me develop a list of options that are inspirational, memorable, and fun.

I do have some limits. The CN Tower Edge Walk won’t let me out on the ledge. My Fibro prevents anything that uses chemicals (such as tattoos and colouring my hair purple). And my pain levels prevents traveling too far or getting out of my power wheelchair. Other than that, I’m open to anything.

Please leave your suggestions in the comments!



Kathleen W said…
I would go to the water (weather permitting) and breathe deeply. Then, I would have a fabulous dinner (maybe ordered in) and something special to drink, because you can. And I would smile.
Rick said…
I always get the flu shot because there was a time I didn't. Yes, we are not going back to that again.
Kaz said…
It IS very weird, having a period like that that's blank. I get it, to a point, because of the effect Methotrexate had on me. I have no real memories of July 2013. I was either unconscious (first 24 hours) or in such thick brain fog that I couldn't process anything, and clearly retain no actual memories of the period except, like you, odd snapshot stills that have little context.
Re celebrating, what is the thing you like MOST of all to do? Is there a way you can do an extreme version of it, in a way that makes it enhanced?
LynnM said…
What a great idea to celebrate your own personal easter --death and rebirth, from yesterday until the end of March. I don't know how you marked the date but maybe next year you'll want to start with raisins on the bench. I don't know about money and allergies but maybe get an actual set of bookends, or light a long advent-type candle, burn a bit each day to mark the period you missed until you returned from your zombie state. Or you could have someone plant a bulb for each day you were a zombie and enjoy seeing them bloom.
cathy kramer said…
I am so glad you are alive. I still tear up thinking about that time.

Go celebrate! You are such a special person to this world. You survived for a reason. :)

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