Tom Chaffin wrote an interesting short essay for the NY Times Magazine recalling his experience of altered consciousness during an arduous recovery following surgery to remove a benign meningioma — a tumor in the membrane covering of the brain.
"After the operation, during my first moments of renewed consciousness, I realized I was not the same.”
After describing his more immediate experience of alteration in bodily sensations and the inability to move parts of his body, Chaffin recounts this exchange with his physician:
“‘Name for me,’ he said, ‘all the animals you can think of.’”
“‘Dog . . . ,’ I began. ‘Cat. . . . ’ I think I managed four.”
Chaffin goes on to describe feeling ‘oddly estranged from [his] past,’ wandering ‘through cloud banks of aphasia.’ He also recalls the solace he found in remembered musical lyrics and bits of poetry that served as geographic anchors in a world where his ‘interior thoughts remained fluid, but the words to express them had vanished into some neurological Bermuda Triangle.’