I am back from Utah for just two days and then back off the grid again. Tomorrow I am driving 9 hours to Chautauqua New York, transporting 6 paintings for a show at the Chautauqua Institution. I’ll be back for one day and then heading west, to California and to Utah again.
My mother fainted in a store, hit her head on the ground and suffered a subdural hematoma. Her injuries have caused her to lose her language abilities, impaired her memory and basic reasoning skills. Last week I sat with her every day for 15 hours, and I watched carefully for signs of what is going on inside her head.
Brain injuries are unpredictable. No one knows what will happen or how much she can recover. Right before I flew home, my good friend Matt Thomas lent me a book by an author I have enjoyed in the past–Paul Collins. He is a historian as well as a memoirist, and this book, Not Even Wrong, brings together experiences with his autistic son and the history of how autism became identified as a condition. His descriptions are poetic and provocative. And although my mother’s condition has nothing to do with autism, I found comfort in his careful peeling back of what he has learned from dealing with his son Morgan. My mother’s mental faculties are off-road right now, far from the high speed traffic of the interstate. Trying to track just where her journey is taking her requires a lot of patience and hope.
And as a side note: Collins makes a case for the inheritability of autism, with a higher incidence occurring among bloodlines that have a concentration of engineers, musicians and artists. Food for thought…
Other books by Paul Collins that I found worthwhile: Thirteen Tales of People Who Didn’t Change the World, and Banvard’s Folly.
I’ll write again next week when I am back for a short stay before heading west. Thank you to so many of you who have been so supportive to me during this very difficult time, especially my sibling co-travelers–Rebecca, Betsy, Thomas, Katherine and Jonathan.
Comments are now closed.