We sit down to eat together as a family and no one mentions the smoke. It simply isn’t a priority. Our new normal takes no notice of hazy dining, but it is proof of lowered expectations. Before the accident, this situation would’ve been unacceptable. Complaints would have been voiced and the situation resolved. Post-accident, we avoid drawing attention to my limitations and quietly trust that one day I will be well enough to remedy the situation. The problem isn’t a new one. The door locking mechanism on the stove hasn’t worked in years, thus preventing use of the self-clean program and a simple solution to the smoke. What is required now, and used to be expected, is oven cleaner and gloves and lots of bending and straining of the neck, which now proves impossible. To passerby, a simple solution might be for my husband to take over the job. What they couldn’t know is that he has taken over everything I used to do, and has no time to take a breath. It just isn’t a priority. Friends ask if we will still be hosting Thanksgiving. Of course, I say, nothing has changed. My husband has always cooked the turkey, so what will be different? Except that the turkey will cook for hours. The house will fill with smoke. I imagine which guests will ignore it and which will pass judgement, this evidence of my failings. Compounded by the shrieking of smoke alarms placed in close proximity to each other. Fear of fire used to keep me awake at night. Now I don’t remember to be afraid. Smoke is no longer indicative of danger in our house, it is a mark by which to measure progress. What is the prognosis for a smoke-free holiday? Is a smoky house conducive to a healing brain? More questions my neurosurgeon can’t answer; Indoor Air Quality As Measure of Post-Concussive Resolution ? As Mark of Mended Fractures?