Ever since I woke up from having almost died of a brain aneurysm on October 16, 2004, I’ve had flashes of what I call “psychic intuition.” I also often find myself in the right place and the right time and find that I have gotten a message. It’s almost as if my brain got scrambled and left me with occasional glimpses into the world that psychic mediums must inhabit all the time.
Whitley and I don’t go to church every week, but last week we decided to postpone a bike ride and our favorite radio show and go to 9:30 mass. I was amazed that the priest, in his homily, talked about this very thing, although he called them “epiphanies.” He spoke of them as being insights, sudden “light bulb” moments that bring understanding about life and our place in it.
And right after his homily, upon returning from taking Communion, I had one.
Since I was very lucky and got good medical care, my brain bleed left me with only a few small deficits. One of these was the loss of my peripheral vision. My neurologist thought my brain would recover from this (or another, uninjured part of my brain would take over and learn to do it), and sure enough, when I went to the eye doctor last year, I discovered that my peripheral vision has returned. I thought of this when I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, a little girl in the pew behind us who was jumping up and down in the aisle. There was a time, not too long ago, when I wouldn’t have been able to see her at all.
Another of my deficits was a reduced ability to recognize people. Since it’s known that facial recognition takes place in a specific part of the brain, I assume this, like my optic nerve, must have been slightly injured when my aneurysm burst. The third deficit I noticed was a problem finding my way around (an ability that also resides in a specific part of the brain). I would get lost in many places.
But the brain heals itself amazingly: On returning from Communion, I found my way to our pew with no trouble (even though Whitley started to enter the wrong one) and I was able to do this because I RECOGNIZED the person I had been sitting next to, who had made it back there ahead of us.
I still have small anxiety attacks, which I call “fear feelings.” Whitley says that my neurologist told him to expect these: They are feelings left over from the trauma I went through in the past that I have no conscious memory of. But I sometimes think these feelings also come from being nervous about whether I can cope with the future.
The message I received was that I no longer need to worry about my deficits: I have been healed and I should face the future with confidence. What a lovely message to receive at the beginning of a New Year!
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