10/ Renaissance time warp

During the break, I end up in a Sheraton Hotel foyer full of hundreds of academics. It’s the 65th convention of the American Renaissance Society.

I glance at the presentation lineups: Women, Wickedness and Virtue on the English Stage. Another: Seasons, Smells and Sickness in the Early Modern City.

Swoon! My heart races even now, as I write about this weeks later. Graffiti: The Writing on the Wall in Renaissance Palaces and Prisons. It’s like I’ve landed in the best part of being at university. Discussing things just for the heck of it. Reading about what you love. Knowledge!

The Hand in Renaissance Thought. Defining Space: Walls and Cities in the Early Modern World.

michelangelo hand

I randomly reach out to conference attendees. Do you love it? What do you think? I don’t hide my Survivor badge, but I don’t flaunt it. One prof from Saskatchewan admits it’s all a big navel gaze. Ha ha, but what a navel, I think.

I fire off photos to my daughters. This is your mom so happy! This is your mom on adrenaline!

Then I spot the woman who’s still in pain 12 years post-injury. She’s lost and needs help finding the workshop. I take her by the elbow, and we head back to the sticky Danishes.

I re-enter the room. For the first time, all I can think about is getting out. What do I need to do to get into a tribe that has nothing to do with brain injuries?

I’m also angry. This is the 13th annual meeting of the International Brain Injury Association, but the 65th of the American Renaissance Society! The brain preceded the Renaissance, duh! How is this possible?

Later, I tell a friend about the groundbreaking studies on sex, gender and the brain. Also new studies about how a trip to the intensive care unit affects the brain (it’s about more than just coming out alive!) and how elderly falls are as dangerous to the hips as they are to brains.

“It’s hard to study what we can’t see,” he says.

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