I’m kind of obsessed with my healing process. My late mom would describe this as “necessary narcissism.” I’m not sure if she coined the term or found it in psychological literature, but she used it when talking about the focus she needed while recovering from major surgery. She said that being selfish while healing was important. This was the one time that putting your own needs first was critical, and much more than merely justified.
We also discussed “hospital psychosis” in which normally sane people experience psychotic episodes or irrational feelings of paranoia while in the hospital. If you have ever spent more than one night in a hospital bed, you’ll recall the disorienting feelings. The lights, the sounds, the smells, plus the lack of privacy & modesty, the physical intrusions, and the seemingly constant flow of strangers in and out of the room—is enough to make anyone nuts!
As I move slowly toward recovering the range of movement and strength in my left wrist/hand, I’m pondering the way disease/disability and healing make people feel, think, and dream through a different lens. Sometimes I’m more short-tempered. Sometimes I’m just exhausted, in pain, and want to cry. Sometimes I feel like my old self is returning and I’m even inspired to write!
I have the advantage of knowing that I will recover, but my writer’s imagination must examine the terrible thoughts of those who know that things won’t get better and that the new normal will inevitably deteriorate. My mom was very wise and she had a long & interesting life that exceeded her expectations, but still the end was difficult and my minor glitch along the way is making me more compassionate and more conscious of what she experienced once she opted for in-home hospice care.
One subject that is wiggling skinny fingers in my brain is the idea of addressing that weird combination of necessary narcissism and hospital induced paranoia in a work of fiction. Perhaps I should start with a short story? Something between horror and psychological suspense…Just a thought—an evil, scary thought…