This little poem came to me after working with my youngest daughter on an English project about AA Milne’s’, . After I reread the book, I felt a bond with Pooh Bear, who talks of the “fluff between his ears” and being “a bear of little brain.” Through Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne demonstrates (without intending to) the cognitive struggles that often accompany neurological illness.
Unlike most of us humans struggling with cognitive challenges, Pooh accepts himself with humor and never a judgment. He likes who he is; “fluff between the ears” and all. He doesn’t let it stop him from hunting a Hefalump with Piglet, mooching honey off of Rabbit or cheering up Eeyore with a birthday present of a honey pot with a well-intended message misspelled beyond reading.
In the non-fiction world we live in, it isn’t easy being a human with a once reliable brain that is taken under siege by illness or injury. Simple words often can’t be found or the wrong word springs from one’s mouth instead, e.g. “Can you get the plates out of the computer please,” and “don’t forget to turn off the cupboard!”
Thinking, …oh boy what a feat thinking can be…to string sentences into meaning…the mental exertion can be truly exhausting. Memory is effected. What day is it? What month is it? Geez, sometimes even what year is it! Notes to oneself and lists become essential coping mechanisms.
When I hit the cognitive blips that I do countless times each day, I can feel frustrated and embarrassed. Sometimes though, I think of Winnie the Pooh who reminds me to lighten up, and laugh at my silly self.