Nearly 6 years ago I collapsed at work with a high fever (41 cels) and paralyzed on the right side, which was to cause me to be hospitalized for 52 days. I was later diagnosed with Viral Encephalitis. The journey of recovery has been a long one. The virus ravaged my health, strength, vitality and in many ways my faith.
I actually had forgotten the anniversary of it till now.. which happened on the 17th October 2007. I was outside reflecting on an encounter with a friend who was talking to me about an significant experience we both had shared and I listened with some uneasiness about the story he shared with me. The story was a good one and by all accounts should have been something I remembered well as it happened only 7 years ago. But, alas, the memory just was not there.
One of the effects of the virus was that it gave me partial amnesia. There are parts of my memory which have simply disappeared. They no longer exist for me. There are things I have done both on a individual and communal basis – conversations and experiences with family and friends. Some of the memories involve happy and fun times, while others involve things of a serious nature…take for instance the time I asked my in laws when they had refurbished their kitchen which looked new – to be told it was 3 years before and I had been there when they did it… to the other extreme where I asked a friend how his sisters child was doing – only to be informed the child had drowned many years before hand.
This caused me to fear asking questions for I was never sure if I would embarrass my self or not. Then I made it into a game of self discovery of lets find out what it is I once knew, but have forgotten I knew. But the problem with relearning things about myself in the process is that the memory is always gone.. factual information replaces the experimental memory of that experience. In a nut shell, there is a huge part of self that has just gone away and its truly a weird experience. 6 years later I am either finding that this occurrence of self discovery is happening less and less or I don’t notice it as much. But there are times when it comes out of the blue; like it did with my mate the other day, and it actually rocked me for 6…excuse the pun.
The other area of memory which I was knocked about in was my short term memory. I don’t remember phone numbers very well and even now, I can’t tell you my home number without looking it up on my phone and nor do I handle lists, names, facts and figures very well.
6 years ago I was fit, strong and healthy. I was able to carry a new born calf on my shoulders some distance or physically work 10 – 12 hours a day. Today my balance is not that great – though I no longer have to use a walking stick to walk with. I have a fair amount of mobility, but my core strength is no longer there. I tire easy and perhaps even tend towards being more depressive then I once was.
However, I rejoice also that while my faith has been knocked about and shattered and is no longer what it used to be- I have in its place found that my faith in God through Christ, in the power of the Spirit has strengthed, deepened, widened and in many ways has less pat black and white answers with more room for grey then ever before.