During the night, when I can't sleep, the portable DVD player that sits on my dresser surrounded by piles of DVD cases, is my bestest friend in the whole wide world. I bought it to help keep me entertained during my recovery from brain surgery. As it turns out, I didn't really need it then; however, I make regular use of it now.

Although documentaries typically occupy the hours when I am awake and the rest of my household is asleep, I've recently discovered the joy of boxed set television shows. I don't watch much television, except for American Idol and Dancing with the Stars, so when several students in one of this semester's classes kept recommending that I watch Lost straight through from the first to the fourth seasons, I politely declined. My sister and I had watched the first three episodes of Lost when the show premiered, but it just wasn't interesting to either of us. What possessed me to give in to their advice escapes my memory, but give in I did. Thus was born my current affection for watching TV shows, season by season, from DVDs.

Now that I am current with Lost and awaiting its fifth season premier on January 21, I am now watching Boston Legal. Ali and I both enjoyed The Practice when it was on, so it was nice to see familiar characters on Boston Legal. But there's something else about the show that touches me, and that is the character of Denny Crane. One of the first season episodes reveals that Denny has signs of the early stages of Alzheimer's, an issue that he struggles with from that point forward. Despite Denny's otherwise atrocious behavior, his very human response to the degenerative nature of Alzheimer's is something that I know; it is part of my everyday life.

Between the Chiari and the seizures, I find myself struggling to pull from the recesses of my mind things that I know but can't locate as easily as I used to. Simple words and ideas lurk in the caves and shadows of my mind in Grendelesque fashion, slinking out and retreating at will, as if to show me who is boss. Because I have an incredibly high pain threshold, dealing with the physical pain that comes with Chiari hasn't presented me with nearly the crushing feeling of defeat that the inability to recall words at will has done. This, for me, is the most frustrating aspect of having a degenerative neurological condition.
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