Two Years On…

Isaac’s Log—Stardate: 2018.261
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It’s now been over two years since I banged my head on a cupboard, and this whole post-concussive syndrome misadventure started for me. I feel like I’m simultaneously both more hopeful and more discouraged about my situation this year; now that we’re back in the area, I’ve been able to see Dr. Thom more regularly, which has helped some—and, overall, I definitely am doing much better (at least pain-wise) than last year. I’m at the point where I don’t have to be in bed more than half the day, and I’ve been able to do a lot more things; helping out around the house, going on walks with Tami, and so on. I suppose my main difficulty is that I usually have a hard time gauging how I’m feeling; if I do too many even kind of strenuous things in one day, then I’ll hurt my head and have to have a few “down days” afterwards. Admittedly, my best days are when I do very little of anything; no lifting, no studying, no reading, no piano playing, and no working on projects with my brother—basically just lying down most of the day and watching movies or TV shows. For the first few months after my head injury, all of my days were like that, except that I had to lie down pretty much the entire day, and I couldn’t really get anything for myself (at least now, even on really rough days, I’m able to just get up if I need to drink water or use the bathroom). For me, the main problem with doing pretty much nothing is, of course, how mind-numbingly dull it is (if I knew for certain that a few months of doing nothing would help me recover all of the way, I’d probably be less difficult about it, but I’m still a little worried about my symptoms being permanent; in which case, if pain’s just going to be part of my life now anyway, I’d rather be spending my time trying to do things, and not feel like I’m just losing more of my limited time on Earth). It’s particularly frustrating because I’m at an age now where I would ordinarily be able to finally do lots of fun things on my own; before I hit my head, I was volunteering, learning to drive, and even working a (part-part-time) job every month; and I really miss being able to do things like that—in a lot of ways, I feel like my life has been put on hold, and just at a time when I was getting concrete ideas of what I really wanted to do with it (on the bright side, at least I’ve been able to learn that I’m not a person that can feel content just sitting around all day, and I won’t have to find that out about myself after I retire). Although I’ve been told that I don’t really need to, I feel like I want there to be some kind of positive takeaway from this whole experience, even if it’s something relatively small, something that would almost make it feel like the past couple of years have been worth it somehow, but right now it’s kind of hard to think of anything; I honestly can’t see how suffering has made me better as a person, or made me feel substantially and consistently closer to God or something like that, but maybe something positive will result from the whole thing that will be more apparent in time. While I think it’d be accurate to say that I’m still mostly happy most of the time (I guess because that’s just the way I am, even if this blog post doesn’t make me sound like it), overall I’m definitely not totally content with my current circumstances; the ironic and mildly frustrating thing is that, in years to come, I’ll probably almost romanticize this time period in my head. Future me will probably think things like, “Oh, remember that time, back when I had no responsibilities, and I could just lie around all day?”
While, right now, my thoughts are more on the lines of, “Ugh, all I can do most of the time is just lie around all day!”
To be fair, all things considered, things could be a lot worse, and my situation really isn’t all that bad. I’m basically living at Grandma and Papa’s house now, so I get to see the majority of the people that I care the most about every day, and most of the people that I interact with have been very supportive (Tami and Grandma in particular have been a great help, especially when Mommy and Daddy are at school; Grandma usually makes smoothies for my brother and I every morning, and Tami often makes us lunch; while I’m really grateful, and try to help out where I can, I have admitted to Tami before that it does make me feel a little awkward at times, mainly because I feel like I’m old enough that I should be able to make my own meals—but she said it was okay, because she felt similarly when she wasn’t able to make meals for herself a couple of years ago, and she didn’t mind making food for us—I just don’t want to be a grown man that’s incapable of handling himself when it comes to simple stuff like eating and cleaning, or just really entitled and expecting everyone else to do things for him all the time).
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Now that we’re back in the area, I’ve been able to take piano lessons again with Kristin (we recently picked out which songs I’ll be playing for the winter recital; I didn’t get to go to the spring one this year, since I was living at the coast at the time), attend our old parish in town (which recently was assigned a new priest, Fr. Greg, who seems nice and is a really good homilist) with Mommy and Levi, and usually visit the library at least once a week. With this year’s very-smoky Oregonian summer almost over (the smoke has literally cleared, haha), the weather has finally started to consistently cool off, and my brother and I have been able to get outside more and get some fresh air. It looks like Levi’s spinal chord has re-tethered, so I guess he’ll probably have to have the surgery again, and he frequently feels down. I often try be helpful and cheer him up, but I’m not usually very successful (well, at least at cheering him up); I’m apparently not really the best caregiver, and don’t keep as cool a head as I’d like to when faced with stressful situations, but I hope that I’m improving.
A lot has happened since I last blogged; the Tevebaughs went to Texas and Oklahoma for about a week, Uncle Andrew and Deedra came out to visit us from Florida last month, Papa Jeff and Ramona moved to the coast, Mommy and Daddy bought a new car (to replace our old Subaru Outback, which had its timing belt break), and I even had a haircut for the first time in over a year (Duhn duhn duhn! But seriously, it was just a trim; it’s still pretty long). And that’s just in my life and the lives of some of the people I know; that’s not even mentioning the wildfires we’ve had (the worst of which was probably the Carr Fire down near Redding, where I used to live not far from just less than four years ago), hurricane Florence hitting the east coast, or the substantially worse typhoon Ompong/Mangkhut that’s devastated the Philippines and southeastern China (and will be hitting part of Vietnam soon). In other news, the church had probably its biggest abuse scandal in the United States in sixteen years (which I’m sure everyone reading this already knows about; the only kind of optimistic thing I can say about it is that most of the cases reported were from before 2002, which might mean that the reforms put in place then have been at least partially effective—although I suppose it might be a little too premature to conclude that, since we’re just now finding out about stuff that happened decades ago; either way, I really hope that all those responsible—whether they were directly perpetrators of the sacrilegious abuse, or complicit in it—are brought to justice), and we lost one of the more head-on-his-shoulders Republicans when Senator John McCain died (while I of course didn’t agree with him on everything, I really respect him for his integrity in his beliefs, his sacrifices at the “Hanoi Hilton”, and his call for American unity; I know that the GOP won’t be the same without their maverick, and it’s really weird to think that the same party who nominated a POW veteran just a decade ago helped a draft-dodger who has very little real respect for those who have served get elected to the presidency).
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On a completely different subject: Lately, maybe a little in contrast to my more ordinary autistic habit of happily watching the same movies and shows over and over again, my brother and I have been watching a lot of new-to-us things. We’ve watched a lot of Phineas and Ferb with Katie (one of her favourite shows), sometimes with Sandy, and—for the past month or so—Tami has introduced a lot of Studio Ghibli films to us. Up until this point, my only exposure to their films was when I saw the American English dub of The Secret World of Arrietty back in 2015 (the summer of which I read all of Mary Norton’s Borrowers books), disregarding a few glimpses I’d seen of Spirited Away as a kid. We watched Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke first, both of which Tami owned, and since then I’ve been checking out lots of different Studio Ghibli movies from the library—first Kiki’s Delivery Service, Whisper of the Heart, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, and My Neighbor Totoro, then Castle in the Sky, and then When Marnie Was There and The Secret World of Arrietty (so that I could see it again, especially since I haven’t seen the non-dubbed version yet). My favourite so far (other than Arrietty, at least) is Kiki’s Delivery Service; with Castle in the Sky probably in second place; although the only ones I wasn’t very impressed with are Princess Mononoke (which my brother actually really liked, and inspired a really interesting blog post that he wrote), Nausicaä, and Totoro. In the future, I may post brief reviews for at least some of the movies. One that I haven’t seen yet is Howl’s Moving Castle, which we’ll watch once Tami finishes reading the book to us, and I’m really curious to see Miyazaki’s interpretation of it.

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We also recently watched all nine episodes of Netflix’s new series, The Dragon Prince (well, technically Mommy still hasn’t seen the last three episodes, so I’m hoping to rewatch those with her), created by Aaron Ehasz (who previously worked as head writer for Avatar: The Last Airbender) and Justin Richmond. I’m generally not a huge fan of the more serial (as opposed to episodic) storytelling structure that the show uses—which, to be fair, is a pretty popular narrative choice right now, and not just in TV shows—but I am still really glad that they didn’t end it (kind-of-not-really spoiler?) on a total cliffhanger, and the world-building the series explores seems really interesting, so I hope that they get renewed for another season. It was also pretty fun to have Jack DeSena—who voiced Sokka on Avatar—playing one of the main characters.
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Besides movie reviews, I also have a few other ideas floating around in my head for blog posts, which will probably be more interesting than just updates on what’s been happening in my life. I’m particularly hoping to get to delve into my theology obsession a bit (one post in particular that I have in mind is about weirdly specific heresies), which should be fun, provided I have the energy. Until then, I hope that everyone reading this is doing well, and remember that we’re now less than a hundred days away from Christmas!
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Today’s Question: Have you ever made (or opened) a time capsule? I kind of set a digital one for myself over five years ago on my computer’s calendar, which went off on August 7th. Unfortunately, I hadn’t written anything super riveting for it; all I did was include the time and date that I made the event. So, at Levi’s encouragement, I made another one a couple of months ago; it will go off in 2025 (specifically, on the day that I turn 10,000 days old), and I put a little more effort into it, which will hopefully be more meaningful to 27-year-old me than my message from 15-year-old me was.
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Today’s Joke: Two jokes today, actually, to make up for having not blogged in so long.
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#1: Geology rocks, but geography’s where it’s at.
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#2: I tried to attend a seminar for kleptomaniacs… All of the seats were already taken.

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-Isaac““
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