I am sitting on the plush beige armchair in the living room of my mom’s house right now. It just finished raining outside, the light is dim and there is a thick brush of humidity hanging heavily around my already frizzy hair. A cool breeze slowly wraps itself around my shoulders, sneaking in through the screen door behind me. My computer is balanced lightly on my thighs. And I don’t really know what to write.
The past three weeks have been jarring – to my body, my mind, my family and friends, my future. I don’t remember the accident (luckily, I think) at all. I don’t remember the days in the hospital or even the first days of being home. I vaguely remember seeing some old friends come to visit, bursting into tears. I have hazy images of flowers and balloons, bottles of vibrantly colored pills and extremely awkwardly used metal crutches. A combination of switching my pain medication and the beginning slow process of healing a skull fracture restored my mind, my memory and lucidity. I couldn’t read or write until about a week ago, dizzy and confused. But I am now just beginning to process what has happened. I am just now beginning to fully understand and appreciate how wonderful my friends and family have been to me. It has hit me like a bolt of lightning how unbelievably lucky I am. I will be 100% better in time. I go into surgery tomorrow for my left knee. After that it is simply a long road to recovery. I am scared. But I am also happy that I am here, that I am alright and that things will certainly be ok.
The hardest thing for me at the moment, however, has nothing to do with my bones. I am more than willing to put in the effort to recover from a broken knee, pelvis, skull. They will be fine. I am terrified because of one of the effects of the skull fracture -
I have lost my sense of smell.
There was a bruising on my brain in the front, right behind my forehead, where the neurons for the sense of smell reside. The doctors are hopeful; I am keeping every possible aspect of my body crossed. No one knows if it will return. There is a possibility that it will, brains simply take a bit of time to heal and rewire. My smell could pop right back in within a month, two months, even a year. There is also the possibility that the ligaments connecting my smell neurons to my nose were broken completely; I will never smell again. And without smell, taste is a mere invisible possibility. Salt, sweet, bitter and sour are fine. But there is nothing else. Texture and temperature is all I have right now. France is already a non-possibility. Culinary school is now on precarious balance. If I can’t taste, how will my life involve food?
So I am at home now, looking outside at the slowly growing sunshine, wondering (perhaps too worriedly) where I am going. I am confused about the speed in which things change. I am confused about what I am going to do with myself. For now, though, I am going to concentrate on healing and coming back to be the Molly that I have missed. I am well on my way and I am positive this will be an experience that will give a meaningful shape to my life. Until then, I will spend my time with my friends, my family, sniffing everything possible (practice will makes perfect), and writing. I will certainly continue to update My Madeleine. A passion for cooking and food is certainly not taken away by a smell-stealing accident. With full hope that all my senses will soon be back to normal, this will be a striking experience. It will be a short-term entrance into a strange world hardly desired by someone so in love with eating. But it is one that will heighten my other senses - the visual, temperature, texture, atmosphere. I am beginning to look at what I love in a new way. There are many unexpected changes.