When I was in the hospital, I didn’t want friends coming around asking for information, for the story. I had no information. I had a horror story of what happened before I landed in the Emergency Room but none of it made sense, so: no story.
What everyone wants to know: was it cancer? No, thank god, it was not. The ER doc who jumped to that conclusion was wrong. Scared the bejesus out of me, and statistically, he was right, it should have been cancer, but my tumor was in the .2% of tumors that are not cancerous, so I guess maybe that’s a story.
Okay, but so, here is the jumping off point: there was a tumor in the posterior cerebellum region of my skull. Who knows how long it had been there, maybe years, maybe longer, but things took a turn as it grew larger and started to bleed. The tumor and cystic mass created a sizable cavern in my cerebellum which became an empty cavern later on and the whole disruption and shock caused a number of cognitive and behavioral issues. It is the story of a neurological crisis, but who knows what a neurological crisis is? Anyway, it all happened fast and then the story was everything that happened afterwards.
Recently a guy I know had an odd kind of stroke. A super healthy guy, in good shape, enjoying life. He took a tumble while walking and another while riding a bike. He ended up in the hospital emergency room, he ended up with mysterious results from multiple MRIs, he ended up being bizarre, having seizures, saying odd things, not remembering anything, being inappropriate, not being able to unscramble the numbers on a clock in order to know what time it was. He ended up with the expected effects of a neurological crisis, but again, who the hell knows what that is? The messed up words, chaotic vision and bizarre behavior understandably alarmed his wife. She couldn’t imagine how they go from here, because he is a PhD in English and an attorney. These are the things we think when the structure is falling apart.
And of course, they will go on from here. And that right there is where stories fail us. They tend to roll out into a future that isn’t here yet based on information we don’t have, coming to conclusions that are at best speculative.
My story is still unfolding. My friend will find a way to go from here and then that will be the story, if they want. But it will be full of changes so subtle and so slow that you might miss them unless you are paying attention. But really, that’s the better story, if you want it.