The vertigo seems to have subsided, but in its wake (or the wake of the medicines), I’ve been left with dreams that wake, shake and haunt me. Nothing terrifying, and many I can’t remember once I am awake more than 30 seconds. Last night, though, I made myself remember, and the dream was of trying to get my father to the hospital from my house in Indiana to Hyde Park in Chicago. My mother drove and I rode shotgun, but my dad was propped up on a low-lying bed on a plywood trailer–being pulled by about 9 guys in a Suburban who were headed to the Lake to jet ski. “There a tremendous group of guys, Linda recommended them,” my mom said. And it did not seem to bother her or my dad that he was driving down the highway on a trailer. In fact, in the dream, we passed him and he held two thumbs up at me. The absurdity woke me. I shifted the cat on my feet and went back to sleep and we were at the hospital but we could not find him. The rest of the morning passed with me jumping in and out of sleep, bothered by the dream, wondering how to make the dreams stop so I could just sleep.
I don’t remember the dreams of the last few days, but I know they are dreams of lost people; lost things. One was a friend’s daughter in my charge and then missing. That is the most I can recall of the dreams that kept waking me, except this: they kept me frantic and searching.
So now I’m sitting in the living room where it is quiet and begging God for some stillness–some peace in my heart that might radiate to my brain and let it know that yes, my brain was shaken this week with the vertigo, but all is well, all will be well, but it really has to settle down and let me get some good sleep or nothing will be well again.
The brain is so dainty, and I didn’t think of vertigo as such an invasive creature but that, it is. I think of my daughter’s head trauma this summer and how I have watched for signs of personality change, but it is so hard when she is also going through puberty. Is she more angry or is she just hormonal? Maybe these dreams are my brain’s response to the equivalent of having my head tossed around in the dryer for a few days. Maybe this is the price I pay, the recovery, if you will. And if I am this anxious about this, I begin to wonder about all the troops with brain injuries coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan. What are they left with? What interrupts their sleep and leaves them begging for peace?
I often say I am ruled more by my heart and emotions than by my head, but I think that is because I don’t notice how connected they all are. When I am inarticulate with emotion, it is not because I am not smart enough to form the rational sentence, it is because my head has to catch up with where my heart has already gone and back. I don’t pay enough attention to how hard my brain works–or didn’t. I make jokes about being dizzy and ditzy in general, about not being smart enough (mostly because I’m surrounded by people who are way smarter than the average bear), about my circular thinking, but the truth is I recognize that my brain works hard in other ways–is smart in other really important ways. While some brains are memorizing data, or pondering deep thoughts, my brain is one of those that searches for connections and continuity. It searches and puzzles on how to make large and small things work–how to make pieces fit together. And sometimes it just doesn’t keep time with the rest of the brains around it. And sometimes, my words can’t keep up with the thoughts that it generates–that REALLY frustrates people.
So, I’m giving my brain a break today, I think. I’m going to give it a few other challenges to puzzle through today. I’ll let it search for tangible lost things: like the Christmas decorations. And all will be well. And here’s hoping to a good night’s sleep.