THE TOPS OF THE ROCKIES
One thing they don’t tell you when you start re-walking after a cerebral hemorrhage is how far above the ground you now are. The new reality is a bit of a shock. As a young man of full height I topped out at a bit over 6 feet (183cm); then, over the course of a lifetime of impact sports, hand-delivering groceries and newspapers, body surfing, motorcycle and other collisions, lugging’n’tossing firewood, general aging etc. I’d bottomed out for a time at about 5’ 11”, with lower elevations anticipated as time arrived. I never expected to be towering like this.
But when in the semi-Lazarus phase after my comet ride I rose from my bed and began to walk with a cane, I was astonished at my elevation. Though the distance is subjective, that doesn’t mean it isn’t real. You yourself are starkly aware of the skyscraper you have now become, teetering atop record-breaking legs, head in clouds-- but you could never prove it.
It is a new experience, far more disquieting than mere hallucinogens. Equally disturbing is the fact that no one else perceives this change; all relate to you as though you were at about the same elevation as before, and wave their friendly greetings right in your face, in all kindness destroying your focus and aggravating your instability way up there alone in the head at the top.
As to the bottom, where not long ago your leg/torso relations were congenial - a matter of longstanding trust, so to speak - now there is a profound distrust of your old rambling partners, with whom you've shared your life, on all its many paths, right down to the ground. But now, as you peer from your teetering summit in the lower stratosphere, you know better. Just look down there. A mere two legs stand below, one of them questionable. Yet folks expect you to operate this bipedal behemoth with a common grace. See those feet down there, wanting to move? Put on your glasses. There. See them now? Recognize those two shapes in the big, look like shoes? Next to the hospital? Be careful, there are a lot of good folks in there. That’s it, now take a step.
No, a step; try for the old normal. Of course you feel dizzy now and then. For not-dizzy, you need a normal world with a normal you in it. That’s nowhere around for the moment, but just keep practicing, reality will return. At least most of it. And your leg will less and less think it’s maybe a wing. Trust me; soon it won’t even be thinking of stepping over a car.
Control is the operative word here; that’s what your leg doesn’t have right now. A raw nervous system component is exemplary of chaos; it is the way the universe was just after the Big Bang, so it's familiar to a leg, which had its start in the caldron of universal hardware development. Chaos, amok, rampant -- these archaic words, arising directly from the raw aftereffects of the Big Bang, also apply. And like that early chaos following the primal dawn, they are also temporary.
So enjoy gazing over the Pacific at the tops of the Rockies while you can.
That perspective won’t last long.