For a few months now, I’ve had trouble concentrating. It’s the drugs. The paracetamol, Tramedol, Paclitaxel, Carboplatin, Domperidome, Ibuprofen, Buscopan, Dexamethasone, Morphine Sulfate and the myriad of unknown drugs I’ve had coursing through my system for the past three months.
Every morning, I wake up groggy and hear “breakfast is here” in a whisper. I turn to one side and see a yoghurt pot, a latte and two slices of whole wheat toast heaped with crunchy peanut butter and strawberry jam on the bedside table. By the time I have my breakfast, have taken my medication, put in my contact lenses and brushed my teeth, it’s nearly 11am. Half the daylight gone.
I have made lists of what I want to accomplish each day and never manage to get everything on it, even if it’s only three or four tasks. When I heard I would be out of action for a few months, I though of what I could accomplish in my forced convalescence. I have hundreds of books in my library, at least ten times more than I have listed in my 2019 reading list and I hoped that I would plough through a great many of them. However, illness also has a sick sense of humour and not only am I fighting a shitty disease that it trying to kill me, I’ve been also unable to take my mind off things through reading. I’ve found myself re-reading the same sentence several times without absorbing anything and after a month of this, I gave up.
However, I wasn’t ready to go down without a fight. How can you keep your brain stimulated without reading? Easy, challenge it with puzzles. So, I’ve cleared out all of the local charity shops of their best puzzles and have set to work. I have to say, there is something quite satisfying in seeing an image come to life. The brain is given something to work on, I’m still creating something and I’m taking myself away from mind-numbing TV for a few hours a day.
This has been working and now that I’m off most of the drugs, I’ve found that my attention span has come back. I’m starting to read again and the puzzles are still providing stimulus and entertainment.
So, this post is just a thought. If you ever find yourself unable to concentrate on anything serious but still want to give the old noodle a workout, try a puzzle.