This post is a tribute to François Girard and Don McKellar’s Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould. Admittedly, I’ve never seen it, so the tribute aspect will be necessarily loose. But McKellar’s Last Night is my favourite film, and if the only thing this blog ever achieves is making you all watch it, then that’ll be… only slightly disappointing. It’s a small film about the end of the world, without explosions, and oddly life-affirming, given it’s subject.
Anyway, on with the show…
1. There are Three Things in the Stroke Patient’s World…
To paraphrase Alexei Sayle, there are three types of thing in the world:
- Things above shoulder level;
- Things below waist level (particularly this bastard Roomba).
- Things that scrape or press against your weak/nerve-damaged side (particularly that bastard Roomba).
And they’re all crap.
2. An Odd Thing About the Weak Side
Strokes 101: We all know that, if you have a stroke on one side of your brain, the opposite side of your body will be the weak side. But I’m finding that it’s incredible how, if the [well, this] stroke patient draws a line directly down the center of himself, the delineation between the two sides is surprisingly exact. A well-known example is the eyes. One of the most worrying aspects of my convalescence was waking up one morning, rubbing my eyes, and feeling the numbness in my left eye and eye socket. Fortunately, that has passed, although many stroke patients find that the sight on their weak side is damaged by their stroke. Working down just a little bit, my two nostrils feel different, too. Not noticeably, most of the time, but certainly if you have a good dig around. And they’re right in the center of my head, and right next to each other. Finally, very occasionally and slightly, but perceptibly, my two balls feel different.
3. There is no Third Post
However, it is worth noting that, on September 27, 1982, after experiencing a severe headache, Glenn Gould suffered a stroke that paralyzed the left side of his body. He was admitted to Toronto General Hospital and his condition rapidly deteriorated. By October 4, there was evidence of brain damage, and Gould’s father decided that his son should be taken off life support. (Thanks, wikipedia!)
Gould was highly concerned about his health throughout his life, and has been described as a hypochondriac. Given the nature of his passing, though, he was right to worry his high blood pressure (which in his later years he recorded in diary form). If you have any reason to think you may have high blood pressure, from family history to headaches, for goodness sake, get yourself checked, monitor it, and take your meds. Please. That’s not hypochondria, it’s common sense.
And, there is a fourth thing in the world, that tenderly strokes your weak/nerve-damaged side when it’s feeling under attack. And that thing’s ace.