There is one thing I can do as well as ever. I can write. When I am writing my problems become invisible and I am the same person I always was. All is well. I am as I should be.
After my first stretch in the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, I began to write again, a little. After my second, I returned to a nearly normal schedule. This spring during my third rehab, I was able to log onto a wi-fi network and begin writing much more. This year, which has included two major surgeries, I have so far written 170 reviews, 22 Answer Man columns, 28 Great Movie essays (not all yet published), and 37 blog entries.
In May, I began to sense a change going on. At first it was subjective. This autumn it has become undeniable. My writing has improved.
By that I don't mean it's objectively better from the reader's point of view. I mean it has expanded within my mind, reaches deeper, emerges more clearly, is more satisfactory. Sometimes I glory in it--not the quality of the prose, but the quality of the experience. I find myself writing more, because I will return to that zone longer.