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One Shining Moment

I had neuropsych testing done at Baptist Hospital yesterday. Complex and lengthy, I won’t know the results for several weeks. I may have done very well, but I suspect that there are issues. For those who know me well, you have probably realized that my brain has had some small hiccoughs – and some not so small – over the past year. Why? The simple answer is that the most likely culprit is Levaquin since neurotoxicity affects all of the nerve cells in the body. Even though I managed to complete my second book, Surviving Lupus, Levaquin, & Life, I have had increasing difficulty with focus, concentration, memory, and problem-solving. Neuropsych testing was ordered by my neurologist, and yesterday, I struggled through this 4-hour ordeal of trying to remember, write, and draw long lists of words, numbers, designs, patterns, associations, and the details of long paragraphs that felt more an entire short-story. I am neither an auditory learner nor particularly good at math, so the verbal math puzzles were brutal. The problems were lengthy with multiple computations and could only be repeated once. The administrator was young, brilliant, kind, and patient. I just wanted to cry or go to sleep. Or both. I was frustrated, exhausted, and a little fearful. It reminded me of taking the SAT. But the stakes now seemed much higher. Towards the end of this ordeal, when my head was pounding and my brain was so tired that I wasn’t sure that I could give my name correctly, came the vocabulary section. Finally, I could do this! A life-long lover of the written and spoken word and their meanings, I am sure that I aced this part. Almost done now. The last part was to quickly name as many words as possible that began with certain letters as the examiner wrote down my responses. The last letter was “A.” This was as easy as the vocabulary test. The words were flying out of my mouth. The last word I gave was “Aeneid.” Dead silence. She stopped, clearly puzzled. She said that she was not familiar with that word and asked me what it meant. I told her that the Aeneid was an important, early literary work by Virgil. She said, “Oh, I didn’t know.” I have no idea where it came from or why this epic decided to spill forth from my brain at this moment, but I desperately needed this small victory. Perhaps it was from growing up in a home where literature, music, history, Shakespeare, and poetry were the preferred languages, or maybe it was from honors English in high school. What I do know is that for one shining moment, Virgil and his Aeneid broke through the fog and frustration and reminded me that all was not lost. For today, I remember, and rejoice.

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