I went to a wrap party for the new Kath and Kim movie on Sunday night. The bits I saw looked wonderful and everyone seems very happy with it. The party started at 6.30, but generally I nod off at 7.30, owing to what my weird recovering brain is up to. It's amazing how many muscles can be affected when you have a stroke, even a small stroke like mine. Of course the muscles aren't really affected, the brain just forgets that they are there and needs to be reminded. For example, eating can be tricky. There's a muscle called the depressor arguli Oris, which is between the back of the lips and the gums. This muscle is used when masticating (don’t get too excited, Andy G). It pushes your chewed food back over the teeth and onto your tongue, where it may properly be dealt with. There are 57 muscles in the face, and you never think of a muscle like that. But when it isn't working you sure know about it. A great wodge of food just gathers there until you have to dislodge it with your tongue or move it with your fingers to where it should be. Pretty horrible, really. I didn't last long at the party, because my non-functional depressor arguli oris was beginning to get on my nerves. I'm a vain creature and I was becoming somewhat self-conscious about the bizarre things I was forced to do with my mouth. You also live in permanent horror that when you kiss someone you might just leave a little drool on them. (So, sorry Rick M, but I had to pass on the kissing. Air kisses could well have been devised for stroke survivors.) Stroke is certainly no respecter of persons. The solution at a party or social function, is, of course, not to eat or drink or chit-chat and have a thoroughly lousy time, though it's not a solution I care to employ just yet. Speaking of drinking, I have been told I must forego all consumption of alcohol until February next year. Perfect timing, eh? Thanks to the stroke, I sound like I'm drunk anyway. I woke up to the news that English film maker Ken Russell died in hospital, following a series of strokes. The world simply won't let me forget what has happened. But one of the upsides to the whole stroke business is that I have been very moved by the cards, emails, books and pictures that I have received from well-wishers. Shaun Micallef even lent me his complete set of Morecambe and Wise DVD's (which are quite rare) because he knows I like Eric Morecambe so much. He also reminded me of one of my favourite jokes:
'The doctor told me I needed a lobotomy. Well, I gave him a piece of my mind.'
Every little joke helps on the path to recovery. I'm pretty confident I'll be back in the saddle before long, and this blog will become focused more on writerly matters. I think I blogged about daleks before because when we are recuperating from something potentially life-threatening we often reflect on childhood fixations. And since most of my working life depends on exploiting these fixations, it's only natural that the daleks should turn up. My apologies.