(Today’s blog post is part of a continuing series of personal stories about living with Trigeminal Neuralgia, the most painful diagnosis known to man.)
I draw a lot of analogies about living with TN. Actually, I draw a lot of analogies about everything in my life. Maybe it’s a coping mechanism. Maybe it’s the way I make sense of situations. Maybe it’s just because I have a lot of free time on my hands.
Whatever the reason, I’ve been thinking about the passage of time lately. I don’t mean in the life-span kind of way, that would be way too depressing. Rather, it is how I look at relatively small increments of time: a day, a week or a month.
Which leads me to Frogger.
If you’re not familiar with Frogger, it’s a video game where you’re the frog and you try to hop to safety while crossing a highway and a stream. All you really care about when playing the game is the next move. Cut your timing too short on the highway and you’re roadkill. Miss a log on the babbling brook and you’re rendered unconscious to sink beneath the briny deep.
I live my life like Frogger. I don’t really look at the long-range picture because I am too focused on just making it to the next spot in the road. That could be my doctor’s appointment on Wednesday or the family function on Saturday or even my next trip to the grocery store. “Once I get past blah-blah-blah,” has become the new way I think about time. And the “blah-blah-blah” doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It can be a dinner with friends or a party – something that the pre-TN me would be looking forward to with enthusiasm. (Okay, that’s not entirely true. I’m a bit of a loner so “enthusiasm” is kind of an exaggeration.) Now, I look to all events with anxiety. Am I going to be able to make it? If I go, what happens if my pain spikes? If I don’t go, will I piss someone off? I just try to get past whatever it is and land in a safe spot. Then I plan my next move.
I believe there’s always a blessing in every situation. So, I guess in this case, it’s that if life is a video game, it’s been rigged to be played for free. Otherwise, I think I would have run out of quarters a long time ago.