By the World Forgot – 2005

catacombsBecause I could not stop for Death – He kindly stopped for me
and cradled me in his arms, offering a blissful reverie
I became one of thirty thousand, with a steel rod piercing the back of my head
but unlike the average fifteen thousand, in the next moment I was not dead
The ballooned artery gushing blood in brain, the wingéd chariot drawing near
I then became one of seven thousand five hundred who knew not to be a feared
As only one of two thousand five hundred I still did not have a clue
and so placed my life on medicine’s door, assured that they would know what to do

eglise 1The ever darkening shadow swirled round and round my face
but the greater good, still present there, was not to be replaced
The light, all encompassing, shining in me that summer day
the angelic voices whispering, fight, it’s here that you must stay
In a split second that would span a lifetime, given the choice to live or die
Sleeping, slumbering, no person around could hear me as I cried

brain butterflyaneurysm clip

brain light

My tissue poked, prodded then pried with surgical precision, a clip placed here then there
The bayonet lanced, axons sheared, do the instructions say one’s only touching air?
I felt a Funeral in my Brain and Mourners to and fro
With all the trauma to sort through there, they knew not where to go
and so ran into one another, exploding, cascading, creating more of dark
With grey meshed into white, they would no longer be able to find the place to embark
The path from brain stem blocked, completely bathed in blood
Signals crossed, para without its sympathetic mate, regulation lost in the flood
A hypothalamus nicked, bodily functions destroyed
and bulging from the defect, a hippocampus would no longer swim in memories of joy
Broca’s and Wernicke’s, struggling to express, no longer remembered what to say
and the executive, who governed my brain and filtered, was sent on long holiday

hippocampus

This was to be the last morning I would spend as myself

lenin

Once fertile soil of the mind pillaged and then raped
there was left a brain struggling – cast into the depths of hell from which there would be no escape
Toxins pumped through the body, these things must be done to keep it alive
Sleeping, slumbering, no person around could hear me as I cried
My mind blocked by medicine, my sense to disappear
I was left trapped within my self with no one to listen, no one to hear
Sleeping, slumbering, my body saved but my brain then left for dead
I was brought back to the world with only doubts remaining, yes and no vying in my head

gates of hell

gates of hell 3

A doctor of neurosurgery told me shortly after that I would wake up one day
and it would be like nothing had ever happened, I would forget, and the memory fade away
Weary from life’s battle, I could not yet understand the words inscribed above the clinic
Here You will behold the wretched souls Who’ve lost the good of intellect
My only instructions for recovery were to sit on the couch and watch television
for I could walk and talk, though seemingly backwards, deprived of forward vision
No neurocognitive testing done, physical rehab deemed unimportant
“You should be happy just to be alive,” were the words of medicine’s ever sounding triumph
And everywhere I turned, medicine offered the quick fix in a pill, an aid in the forgetting
Yet all the while seeming to make it my fault, treating me as an anomaly
I parroted the learned advice given, since an injured brain can never know what it doesn’t know
and I, returned with nothing, was left with no place to go

I was taught and learned to embrace there would be no return to me

guinea pig ballerinaeiffel tourfredericksberg slot 2

 

 

 

 

 

This is how I lived

five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes, a year

Medicine gave me a life that did not become,
that turned aside and stopped,
astonished

By the standard of care, this was acceptable

With all the pieces missing, I could still exist
but the search for the Kimberly who used to be gave a reason to persist
At age 31, I was left with a brain that could no longer support the 50 years left to go at least
How to make it through the many miles I had to go before I sleep?
I looked for answers in research and rhyme
but for all my effort, I was unable to keep up in time
Because my brain – the once finely tuned orchestra that played
suddenly seemed to go on strike, signals sent astray
Synapses blocked and in the void a lapse
My brain always striving to make a connection – this time I will find the way, perhaps

How was I going to get to the understanding when medicine left me there –
having fallen through the cracks

Two million one hundred two thousand four hundred minutes, four years

l'oiseau ange

Through the grace of God, a letter arrived in the mail
A doctor of medicine who understood injury to brain, oh what would this entail?
and I, though not disabled by medicine’s standards, but still living in poverty
Could ill afford the treatment, but without it what was to become of me?
I felt the void calling, there seemed to be no escape
But with the one true light remaining, I closed my eyes and prayed
Again I was reminded that my recovery was gifted by the grace of God
He sent angels to carry me and guide me to where I needed to be
Soon I was among those happy few who helped restore my ability to see
One word, neurofeedback, would begin to give me back my brain
And yet medicine had never told me about this miracle, instead condemning me to pain

In the four years prior, subarachnoid hemorrhage, ruptured brain aneurysm, I learned to pronounce
Yet who explained stroke to me or what a brain injury was really all about?
Medicine grades on the physical scale and only on what it can see
but doesn’t seem to grasp that a mind has been lost and needs recovery
A visible deficit means the hardware has been breached
and cognition, essential to the human being is left inaccessible, always beyond the survivor’s reach
Medicine was happy I was alive and it didn’t matter I had no quality of life
I’m very blessed to be a miracle but that doesn’t help me to survive

Yes, anger flares now and again, for all the wasted time
and because knowledge scientific continues to destroy the use of reason and rhyme
Returning broken people, who are cheated of the means to heal
The truth forever obstructed, with no hope of the big reveal
Survivors left, struggling, overwhelmed with their sorry lot
Cast into the world forgetting, by the world forgot

What would the world forgetting leave for me?

neurofeedback 1

Medicine’s idea of intact was to leave me in a world where I couldn’t distinguish colours
How could I stop and smell the roses when I couldn’t see the flowers?
I was left without the ability to see any texture or depth
Left in a world of the two dimensional, unable to understand subtext
How was I supposed to foster any type of human relationship
if I could only see the black and white, remaining inflexible and rigid?
Humans are social creatures and rely on well-timed cues to get along
I was left without the ability to decipher emotions or distinguish right from wrong
Most horrific of all was that the moment of the trauma became the point from which my life began
I had no access to prior experiences or to all that I had learned –
all very necessary when trying to live in the present and for the future formulate a plan
I no longer had an autopilot, so didn’t know what wasn’t working and I should try something different
I was caught in a looping pattern, never knowing when to relent
I understood the RAS but couldn’t activate the switch
and so was left with basic instinct – higher consciousness, just an itch
All I had was raw emotion, I was a lowly animal, with no higher functioning left
It seems simple now, to discover my brain was unable to communicate with itself

In short, I was no longer human

Two million six hundred twenty eight thousand minutes, five years

I give back the promised day of my forgetting
This philosophy never worked for me
The theories that were spouted, all written in some book
Did medicine think if everyone repeated the party line, I would one day take the hook?
Though I followed the instructions, for a time, to a tee
Something inside continued to protest, this just isn’t working for me
I see medicine has read some books and relies on scientific evidence
But if you think for one minute about you’re saying, it doesn’t really make sense
Who makes the rules – the omniscient, omnipotent “they”
Those who have never walked in brain injured shoes, I’d say
Will it take a dismal voyage through the depths of hell for “they” to understand
The reality a brain injury leaves one with – it’s never talked about in the rehab plan

That with no sense left to us, all our knowledge
Will be dead From that moment when the future’s door is shut

When I came to apologize for having acted when I knew how not
Medicine quickly responded, “Oh, we knew the brain injury left you in that spot”
and I to “they” – You knew, and yet no one ever said
Every time I sought medicine’s guidance in the after, I was told it’s all in your head
So the small Kimberly, plummeting oh so slowly down the rabbit hole
responded smartly – of course it is, it’s my brain
There’s something wrong, I cannot think
I feel the walls all around me, but somewhere there must be a chink
I was advised, on more than one occasion, to go and see a shrink
Oh, yes – the well constructed walls of medicine were not to be disturbed
and my questions always rebuked, was it because I couldn’t find the words?

berlin wall

through the berlin wallmy berlin wall

 

 

 

 

It took four years of living the questions, and I finally found the way
If I believed any of what medicine told me, I’d not have my brain back today
So I give you back your brave new world and the pills it would have me take
Because with grace I found the better way and this light I will not forsake
My entire life until this point, a dress rehearsal for the dance of how to be
My brain knew exactly where to take me, as I started on the path of true discovery
All the pieces of information gathered in the after, during the time I could not see
would fit together perfectly as I began the return to me
It seems simple now, that one can train the brain waves and free the mind
A brain injury doesn’t have to be, no person has to be left behind

I now use the words of those who’ve come before
The point is that I can – I’m no longer lingering at the door
Able now to cross into the realm of sweet remembrances
I can take pen in hand and draw on past experiences
Because somewhere, hidden beneath it all
Lost within the corners of my mind, though never ceasing to call
were the voices of the poets who were the inspiration to my life
For five years my brain couldn’t reach them, my synapses blocked with strife

l ultime secret

Do I dare disturb the universe?
I now remember just how close I can hover near the flame and not be burned
My final questions to medicine who is not where I need “they” to be
Why do you think the forgetting comes and do you think you’ll ever see?
I recognize your truth is to only repair the brain and your truth perpetuates a myth
The key to recovery lies in the forgetting and thus the life to become is missed
Will medicine ever have the self-awareness needed to realize
that no threat comes from the patients whom you have lobotomized?
In the treatment to save a life have you ever measured the cost
when rehabilitation fades to minimalization, and another mind is lost
I’ve since stumbled upon the books that quite explicitly explain
What happens physiologically when there is injury to brain
Emotional trauma and turmoil also explained in any psychology text
It doesn’t seem you’ve read them, as you condemn the mind and tell it to forget
Will you ever hear the voices of the broken people, who all have surely said
That without brain and mind, the body is better left for dead

If I forget all this,

two million six hundred twenty eight thousand minutes, five years

from when nothing happened

Who will speak for the others, struggling, left behind?
Who will speak to the eternal sunshine of the spotless mind?
Who will speak for those sentenced to the nether sphere, those who remain a senseless lot –
Cast into the world forgetting, by the world forgot

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