Tuesday, March 25, 2008

"You Should See What I See"

The quote for this post is from actor Anthony Michael Hall in the TV series the "Dead Zone" which my friend Mark with NF2 and I are fans of. I think we enjoy the series as we can relate to the man "Johnny Smith" in the story. What happens is that this man Johnny Smith has everything going for him until he is in a terrible car accident one night resulting in a serious brain injury which leaves him in a coma for 6 years.

He awakens to find that while he was sleeping, life kept going on without him and everything has changed to which he must adapt. At first the change is very difficult and people see him differently, some even fearing him for not understanding his situation. Further, some ridicule him as being a weird crippled guy as he is left with imbalance after the accident and needs to use a cane.

Despite the tragic loss he suffers, "Johnny" learns to accept his fate and channel the gift of seeing things others can't (psychic ability) for the betterment of humanity by saving people. The whole theme of the show is how one man endured an entirely horrific loss leaving him with a seemingly impossible situation but found a way to make lemonade out of lemons. At the introduction of each show, he briefly explains his story and then he reaches out his hand toward the screen and says "You should see what I see".

In a way, that is what has happened to those of us with NF2. After awhile, you learn to adapt and find enhanced senses which you may have not fully utilzed before just as Johnny had learned to tap into a part of his brain which had been lying dormant before the accident. For me, my sense of smell, sight, and curiosity have heightened. Although always naturally a visual learner, the details of things have become more visible/noticeable with the absence of sound.

With this attention to details and enhanced curiosity, I have developed a fun new way of conducting an Easter egg hunt. Well it is also an adaptation of the brain as I have suffered short term memory loss following my radiosurgery treatment in 2004. Chances are if I were to hide real hard boiled eggs without keeping track of their locations, we would have the stink of a forgotten one reminding me of its location 2-3 weeks down the road. Hehe - This happened when I was a kid. One of my parents hid the Easter eggs (oops......I mean the Easter bunny forgot about hiding an egg in an old shoe of my dad's tucked away in a hall closet). A few weeks later the closet reeked of a horid rotten fart!

Back to my story and the relevance to the title......as I was saying, I created a unique way of conducting an Easter egg hunt with a method to keep track of all the eggs and with no stinky smells. (chuckle) Instead of real eggs, I use fake eggs and write little clues in each one leading to the location of the next. Not only does it exercise my brain by thinking up the clues but I notice things that I had not before. "Where is a good hiding spot for this egg to which I can write a clever clue?"

My sister loves it and I would venture to say she enjoys these egg hunts as much or more than when she was a kid. My mom always seems to want to be a part of the scavenger hunt too. This is the third year I have made it up each being at a location where I have not resided so it has given me an opportunity to seek out and discover things I might normally not. The first year I created it at my parents home when they were living in Moses Lake, WA. Then last Easter we flew out to where my sister and DJ were living in Boise, Idaho. This year was the best of all as we were invited to Dave and Christie Hammond's (DJ's parents) beach house on the Oregon Coast. (It is where the photo was taken of me in the main column of this blog.)

Christie I just love your attention to detail and all the interesting artifacts you have carefully placed in this relaxing get away. Each time we visit is a fun exploration and new things are discovered that may have been missed the time before. For the beach goer, it is like being an archeologist or anthropologist wandering through the New York Museum of Natural History. Being there for the egg hunt was a perfect excuse to share these wonders with my family! So thanks!

For the first year, my brother and his wife were able to join us and I think they got into the egg hunt too.

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