Other times, I have reminiscences of my stay at the rehab center. I vaguely remember that a Jewish orthodox nurse (I think he was a nurse) approached me and talked to me. I remember nothing of the content of his speech, just his accent and that he interspersed words in Yiddish. And I remember only snippets of green in the garden and shadows in the pergola where I sat with Eric. I remember begging him not to go: I was fearful and confused.
But there are two constant reminders of my injury: a hollow section on my head that hurts at the touch and a difficulty in swallowing my saliva. My saliva starts increasing despite my efforts to swallow it, to the point that it makes me cough. No matter how I try to contract my swallowing muscles, it keeps increasing, and then I succeed. The fear of drowning is the return of a bodily memory embedded in my archaic brain – bubbling saliva flowed from my lips, as Eric tells me.
The hollow section is a consequence of the replacement of my temporal bone with a bone plate. When they took away the bone to let the blood flow and thus eliminate the swelling of my brain, they had to put a bone plate in its stead. I have two constant reminders of my injury: a hollow, painful side on my head, and an irrational fear of drowning in my saliva.