It was dark in the hallway. The thick, inky kind of darkness that erases everything, including yourself, paints it all black. From the light switch to my bedroom is six quick paces. Enough time, apparently, to build some serious momentum. I was on a mission to reach my bed, walking with purpose down the familiar stretch of hallway. The terrazzo cool under my feet. I was startled by a guest opening a door to my right. There was a loud crack; like when lightning strikes a tree. Everything black went white; for an instant.
“What was that noise?” he asked.
I was laughing, but it wasn’t funny. Instinctively, my fingers went to the place on my forehead where the door jamb had struck. The world in its infinite, inky darkness had begun to spin.
“It was my head.” I said.
I could feel a moist ridge down the middle of my forehead, an exact replica of the door jamb’s corner in the flesh of my face. A pit formed in my stomach. The same feeling you get when the roller coaster drops you into free fall. My fingers were trembling.
Someone turned on the lights. “My god, Katrina!”
The hospital sent me home with a long list of things not to do (drive, be alone, exercise, etc) and a longer list of frightening things to expect (memory difficulties, difficulty with concentration, depression, etc) which bore a disturbing resemblance to the list of things under the heading ‘Seek Immediate Medical Care if’.
I have an amazing group of friends. They kept constant vigil over me all week; cooking, cleaning, waking me up every two hours, driving Dylan to and from school. Helplessness is as new a feeling for me as this inability to concentrate or difficulty stringing sentences together. I’m still finding myself easily overwhelmed, as if my brain simply becomes unwilling to accept any more stimulation. I’m sad. For no good reason. Everything is the same, but I am immeasurably sad. I want to go to bed.
A week of epic swell goes by. I watch as my Facebook feed fills up with reports of sick surf sessions. I purposefully avoid the pics on Gulfster. I go to bed in the middle of the day with my phone in my hand, buoyed by text messages like: how are u? Suddenly, it seems so stupid not to say I love you when, clearly, I do.
By Saturday, I’m cleared to drive. The swell is still hitting down South…