Stroke Me Day 26: The Modern Leper

Hi Darling Ones,

The thing that sticks with me the most from the 11 hours I spent in the Emergency Room the day I had my stroke is asking the MRI technician if I could listen to Frightened Rabbit.

Because I have a tendency toward claustrophobia they gave me some kind of sedative before wheeling me into the MRI place. I was feeling pretty loosey goosey by the time I was laying on the bed that goes into the machine.

“What do you want to listen to?” she asked me as I traded her my glasses for headphones.
“I don’t know,” I said. “Do you have any indie-rock? Americana?”

She looked at me as if I had sprouted horns.

“I have Pandora,” she said. “I have everything.”
“Oh,” I said. “Frightened Rabbit.”
“Frightened Rabbit,” she repeated.

I just nodded even though I wanted to explain. I wanted to tell her how I had decided she had a massive CD library patients could choose from. I also wanted to ask if assuming music technology was stuck in the 90s was a side-effect of having a stroke.

I’m not surprised I chose Frightened Rabbit. That band kept me alive during the worst parts of COVID isolation. There’s something about the melancholy in their music that is a balm to my lonely soul.

Of course I turned to them in my neediest hour, and they were there for me. And they continue to be here for me.

Even though keeping myself alive exhausts me right now, I’m having problems falling asleep at night. Not only do I have an entire history of minor humiliations to draw upon, now I have an endless list of medical woes to fret over and their accompanying repercussions — financial, emotional, physical — all of the repercussions. I got imagined repercussions up the wazoo.

Last night as I tossed and turned, I remembered how “The Midnight Organ Fight” put me to sleep for most of 2021. And it worked its magic again last night, thankfully.

Anyway, I meant to write about how closely I’m identifying with the song “The Modern Leper.” That whole “rattling through life” bit is very clearly me at the moment. Also, the thing about the lost limb being the only thing holding me up. . .

I’ve decided closely-identifying with “The Modern Leper” should be considered a milestone in early stroke recovery.

Fuck. I still can’t believe I had a fucking stroke. Can you? It seems like a long, realistic bad dream or something that will disappear in the night. It’s been nearly a month and every morning my first thought is still, “HOLY SHIT, I HAD A STROKE.”

I’m not sure if this bizzaro timeline will ever feel like reality. Maybe that’s a side-effect of a stroke too.

Your favorite modern leper on her last leg,

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