Saturday, 22 January 2011

No Longer Human

This last week managed to finagle me of one of my most basic rights, being me.  The surgeon unfortunately removed more than just the degenerated discs in my spine. The surgery consumed my personality, my energy, my ability to converse and even my capacity to engage. Until today, I was not a human. My body was a bruised and painful shell that had lost its core. I was empty. My parents would spend hours sitting by my bed, with no guarantee that I would recollect any of it. During these endless days of nothingness I lived between my symptoms of pain, nausea, muscle spasms, weakness, fainting. The simplest routine that defines every human’s life is eating and going to the toilet and yet even of this I was dispossessed.  Tubes of blood, saline, morphine etc. completed these tasks, as I lay discombobulated, fearing the next symptom I would have to endure.

Today is the first day I have had the faintest ability to think. Still weak, still tired, still relatively immobile but I have regained my mind. I was strong enough to write this probably dire, grammatically appalling and completely incomprehensible post. I was strong enough to see my aunt, uncle and brother. I was also, most impressively, strong enough to stand up and sit for fifteen minutes in the chair next to my bed. These are small achievements on what will be a very slow and arduous journey, but perhaps I am at least at the base camp of this journey. The emotions of the previous days caught up with me, and the lyrics to the Leonard Cohen’s magnificent song “So Long, Marianne” kept replaying in my head,

“Now so long, Marianne, it’s time that we began
To laugh and cry and laugh about it all again”

I have not yet reached the stage where I can laugh about it but today I have certainly cried and cried and cried about it all again.


  1. I don't have much to say except that I love that song.

  2. Welcome back Sophie. The other humans have missed you. Shavua tov.

  3. love you soph, sorry today didn't work out. Glad you're up to writing again and I hope you get to the laughing stage soon.

  4. So glad you regained your mind. It was much missed.
    One day at a time, Sweet Jesus, and keep the morphine going!

    Els from Amsterdam

  5. It's the start of days that are hopefully better.
    Sorry your team didn't do well today.

  6. We are all thinking of you and praying for you. You are an amazing person and your strength and courage will definitely see you through.

    With love from Cousin Jackie and family in Israel

  7. May God bless you and keep you safe and sane, until you fully recover.

  8. I'm sorry my dear, however it is at this point where I demand you should change the title of your blog to 'No longer Simian'.

    I'm really very happy to read this post and to find that you have reached base camp safely. The only way from here to your first cartwheel is up. Let the tears flow when they have to (they are a source of strength as old as humanity itself), accept every simple kindness (sometimes kindnesses are all you have) and remember- you might no longer feel human, but you are no longer (quite so) simian, either.

    Now go get 'em, girl!

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  10. “It is in the quiet crucible of your personal, private sufferings that your noblest dreams are born and God's greatest gifts are given, in compensation for what you’ve been through.”
    - Wintley Phipps

  11. Sophie, my heart goes out to you so much. I remember well two weeks my husband spent in hospital after breaking his back (he was not paralysed, virtually fine now). It also struck me how his humanity was deconstructed from necessity in so many ways.

    Just hang in there. This, too, must end. Good wishes come your way from Ireland.

  12. Thank G-d you are now starting your recovery. Praying it is speedy. x

  13. I love reading these comments.
    It's good to know people care/are thinking about you as much as I am.

    SCE xxx