Skip to Content
2022 Year in Review

One Year in Purgatory and Other Tales of Self-Centered Solitude

11:23 AM EST on December 29, 2022

For Christmas, the got only present I got this year was a $25 gift certificate to Guestroom Records, from my brother and his family. I bought the new Julian Lennon album, Jude.

As I played the record on my turntable, I started to think about how this whole year has affected me and deleted me. Since my delinquent third stroke and my eventual recuperation, I guess I am pretty fortunate, for the most part.

Earlier this year, I was partially paralyzed, using a walker, with enough cuts and bruises to last a lifetime. After intensive physical therapies, I can report that all I have is a slight limp, with a dead spot on my upper thigh, and even that is somewhat receding. That’s great.

But mentally…I am trying. Really trying.

With this stroke, everything has become different: my memory is shot, my speech is torn, and that one little piece that made me shine for your people, has been drastically altered to a flickering light. Paragraphs that once took minutes to write now take hours. Words I knew by heart seem lost in an eternal fog.

I literally can’t speak anymore, but what do I have to literally say?

In a backwater town on an isolated piece of land where I live, I have become that one crazy loner, speaking words that make no sense as my loaded heavy eyes avert my sorrowful gaze.

With my ability to drive terminated by my stroke, most days, it’s my dog and me stuck in a terminal solitude, connected to the common digital void that drains us all.

Some lucky days I get to Norman for Walmart and Guestroom—and, of course, those blessed food reviews that keep me comfortably sane—but mostly, I spend my free time painfully realizing that am living way past my manufacturer’s sales date.

With the exception of my brother William (and his family) and, of course, TLO head honcho Patrick, it seems that I have lost most of my friends, lovers, and all in-between. Most days, I feel like I don’t exist.

But, as TLO readers graciously reminded me this year, I do continue to exist, and will continue to try to get back all I had lost.

As the album Jude ends—check it out if you have time—I will continue to write for this site as long as you and this world will have me.

Or the next stroke takes me, whichever.

-

Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter