Monday, February 28, 2011

If I don't get into Grad school, I'm blaming it on brain damage.

I have always been a huge nerd. Being known as a nerd is popular these days and my nerdiness still seems a bit odd, so it might be better to call me a dweeb.

I loved school. I suppose I took to heart the public service announcements that "knowledge is power" and figured that school may turn me into a superhero. In high school, I felt lucky that I was allowed my education for free and attempted to take every advantage of it. Through AP courses and extracurricular activities, I only had four classes I needed to take my senior year, yet I filled my schedule with electives like botany and advanced Spanish grammar. Expensive college was around the corner but high school would teach me these things absolutely free. Perhaps I was simply thrifty.

Illness was a nuisance I ignored as much as possible. If my brain was at least somewhat functional and I wasn't throwing up, I would drag myself to school. This would often result in my sickness escalating into some sort of super bug and once, nearly killed me.

I went to school for nearly a week with a pretty severe case of strep throat. I couldn't talk and I felt like crap, but I was taking notes! Eventually the strep throat turned into something much worse (I remember the Doctor saying it turned into a type of scarlet fever but I was hallucinating by then so who could say?).

I was pretty sure I wouldn't be making it to school the next day when it took me three hours to crawl up stairs to the bathroom to take out my contacts. I didn't even make it to the bathroom. My sister noticed me when I finally reached the top step and after I pointed to my eyes she brought me my contact case. She even offered me a thermometer, but I was cognizant enough to know that the only thermometer we had in the house was a rectal one; I was far too fascinated with mercury during my childhood for thermometers to survive long. Descending the stairs didn't take much time, gravity did most of the work.

My brother alerted my parents to the fact that I was having a seizure in the middle of the night. I was hallucinating (more on that later) and woke him up by shouting that I had hit my head and my brains were leaking out. Dad came down and pinned me to the bed so I wouldn't damage myself or my room while Mom called the hospital to let them know I'd be coming in.

Dad dragged me to the front door and went to his room to put some clothes on. Everything was far too hot, so I crawled outside and laid down in a snowdrift in my underwear. When my parents were finally ready, they chided me for going outside. I think they were upset that I had left the door open. Mom wanted me to put clothes on to go to the hospital, but the snow had eased the heat in my brain enough to allow me to threaten that I would vomit all over her if she tried to put clothes on me. Even though I insisted that that was where the heat lived, she forced me to at least wear a hat which I threw under the car before we left.

It is a fifteen minute drive to the hospital from my house, and I decided that the trip would be best spent with my head outside the window. My parents didn't enjoy the refreshing winter breeze like I did, so they forced my window shut. The car was stifling, so I opened my door to get at the breeze until they allowed me to roll my window down again.

Even though I had spent some minutes in a snowbank and fifteen more with my head lolling in the ten degree winter air of a sixty miles-per-hour car ride, my temperature was 103.9 at the hospital. Looking back, I wish I had taken the offered thermometer when I had the chance, for the sake of science.

I find my hallucination fascinating because, though my shouting that I had hit my head and my brains were leaking out implies that it was violent or frightening, the hallucination was, in fact, quite peaceful.

I dreamed I was riding a bicycle along a winding, hilly, tree-shrouded road (I encountered this road again later in a nightmare where I watched my dream son get hit by a car and twitch and jump in paroxysms of death, reminding me of the time I was following Dad home from church and he hit two of Aunt Sherri's cats. That frighteningly violent death-dance illuminated by my headlights is still easy to recall. I would find this road in the waking world too, as that which runs by the Morris' driveway in Maple Valley, WA.). In the reality of this dream, human life had been seeded on earth by aliens and they had secreted some of their alien genes into human DNA. Only recently had these genes made themselves known and then, only in a small percentage of people. If a person had the alien gene, when they hit puberty, they would undergo a change wherein they would develop spots on their neck and the sides of their face and their brain would advance beyond that of a normal human. In my dream, puberty was right around the corner and I hoped that I would end up having the alien gene even though many people hated and feared the part alien people.

I was riding down a very steep hill when puberty hit. I started to spasm because my body was transforming into a partial alien and I crashed my bike. I continued to tumble down the hill with no control over my body, entwined with my bicycle as it jabbed and bruised and bent about my body as I fell. Parts were very hard and painful while others were warm and soft and then the light came on in my room.

I couldn't move or feel but watched as my leg went up and kicked the shelf above my bed. Several books were dislodged and I saw my hand rise and smack them across the room as they fell. My dad ran in and sat on my chest and pinned my arms down. I still couldn't feel anything except a slight pressure on my chest that made it hard to breathe. My head turned toward the hallway and I saw my mom (though she was, in fact, still upstairs) wringing her hands, a perfect caricature of worry. Next to her stood a giant, muscular angel in a white robe. The angel started counting down from five, and when he reached one, my seizure stopped.

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