Processing Time

One of the biggest changes I have noticed since being diagnosed with my brain tumor (headaches, vision changes, and falling down the stairs 4 times so far notwithstanding) is that I have days I have trouble processing time. I can look at the clock 4 times in 5 minutes and not being able to connect what time it is.

I understand morning, afternoon, and evening but I will have whole days when I have trouble understanding the clock when I look at it. It doesn’t matter if I look at a digital clock or a traditional clock.

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For example, if I have plans or an appointment at 1:30 pm and I look at my clock and see it’s 11:00 am, I know I have time before I need to go, do, meet, see, ect. But I have days that I can look at the clock 3 times in 10 minutes and not understand what 11 am means, so I do the math in my head again and know I have 2 & 1/2 hours. But it’s just on these days I keep looking at the clock and it’s just difficult for me to understand it.

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I think maybe it’s because:
1) I already struggle with subjective, abstract ideas. In college, the class I had the most trouble with was Critical Thinking. I fought with my instructor because I didn’t like being graded on something subjective.
I also think the Phantom Time Theory might have something to it, and I find the whole idea that the date and time is what we say it is because we’ve set it at some specific time. Clearly I’m not a fan of daylight savings time.
2) I think maybe the part of my brain that understands abstract ideas might have been damaged by the tumor and the crazy lasers they were shooting into my brain. (okay….radiation therapy, close enough.)

According to the many, many, many scans of my brain and my tumor, the mass seems to be in the left prepontine area, right up against my left 5th cranial nerve. It’s too close to my brain stem for surgery, so it’s me and my tumor trying to figure out how to exist. So I figure out how to back myself up with notes, alarms, or timers.

I think human beings, especially Americans, struggle to process time. In America, we typically use the Gregorian calendar based on the idea that it’s 365.25 days each year, based on solar cycles. Other countries, and some businesses, use the Julian calendar. I learned that when I worked for Prudential Insurance too many years ago for me to tell you when it was.

I even understand military time and that Americans seem to write the date differently. October 15, 2017 vice 15-10-2017.

But…brain tumor or no brain tumor, what would you change about how you handle abstract ideas like time if you didn’t know what the rules were?

3 responses

  1. Hi,

    I have a very weird relationship with time and always have. I could envision myself growing up, but always envisioned my two younger brothers staying young. It was weird and I still resent that they had to grow up and I missed out on being old enough to do things for them and take care of them.

    When I can I ignore time, as much of the time and for as long as I can, on days when I don’t have to be somewhere. Since I can’t work and don’t have a lot of appointments, it is nice to be able to try to sleep as much as I can and be awake when I can. Unfortunately, and for no observable reason, I get obsessive about time and it contributes to my anxiety issues.

    When it comes to time, I’m just not sure if I do understand time. And other people seem to have a bizarre relationship with the decades flying by, but the minutes crawling. If I could, I would wish for everyone to have a time keeper inside themselves who knows what time it is based on their body and where they are on the earth, an extra sense. I wonder if that would allow us to do better time management.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kate!
      Ah! Somebody else that gets it! I do think the Circadian timekeeper in all of us is pretty cool. It’s interesting that we all handle our days and nights differently. I’m a night person. I’d rather be up til 3 am that up early at sunrise, but I know people that are the opposite.
      Thank you so much for your comment! *gentle hugs* ~ Xun

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Xun,

    I’m a late night person too. :)ea

    Good and healing thoughts to you.


    Liked by 1 person

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