Notice: Today I am not in a chipper mood. An honest mood, yes, but happy and spunky? Certainly not.
True to every major holiday, I have managed somehow to get sick. Truly, don’t ask me how: I avoided malls, major gatherings, offices of any variety. I swear, illness finds me. And I find that I’m not terribly happy about this. Not the cold/ flu/ pneumonia thing going on, but the illness thing. Okay, I confess, I’m not just unhappy; I’m downright furious – on behalf of both my husband and myself. I don’t know if I want to throw things out windows, scream obscenities at the people who do not pass by (lovely bonus of living in the middle of nowhere – you never see any damn people – yes, this is sarcasm), hit the wall repeatedly (pillows are too soft), run my hand-me-down car into a tree, or just cry. I think the crying scares me the most. I’ve always been terrified of crying.
This whirlpool of confusion starts this time every month: about one week before ECT. ECT has helped, tremendously. Far more so than any of the other painful, humiliating, and generally inhumane treatments I’ve tried for a condidtion which I may or may not have. The greatest problem – aside from the extraordinary inconvience and fuzziness – is the amnesia. they aren’t kidding when they warn you about it. Now, I don’t know if I just experience it worse than most, or if I notice it more because I’ve lost an almost-photographic memory, but I have huge, monstrous holes in my memory now. Also, I have no short-term memory whatsoever. The really old stuff – as in, older than 15 or 20 years – is still there, but I barely remember my daughter as a baby (she’s 7); I hardly remember my courtship with my husband; I don’t recall most of the books I’ve read or movies I’ve seen (and this is my life); even if it was only a year ago. There’s “living in the now” and then there’s “living with no past.” I’m with Tohru Honda (“Fruits Basket”) on this one: I don’t think there are any memories that are okay to forget, even if they are bad ones.
So, once a month, I drag my entire family to a hospital 2 1/2 hours away. I actually like the anesthesia – it’s the best sleep I ever get. It’s the afterwards. I can’t remember where the car is. I don’t know the day. And I have no idea how much of myself I have now lost.
As if I haven’t already lost enough. Enough? Almost everything. You can imagine how little patience I have for people whose problems could be solved with the application of a little gumption and imagination. I feel that they don’t know what loss is.
My daughter just came upstairs to check on me. My husband (her dad) did not sleep at all last night due to – you guessed it! – illness, and of course I’m profoundly not well myself. She told me that today she’s taking a day to take care of her mom and dad, because sometimes we need taking care of.
Something else about which to wonder: why treat a condition which may or may not exist?
I have a theory: people in general do not like Things That Are Different. And the way I think and work with ideas and information is different. This, combined with a well-nurtured case of PTSD, is a little scary. (I think it’s something that could be lovely, but many with prescription pads and lab coats, or with overstuffed couches and well-meaning expressions appear to think otherwise.) To get me out of their offices as quickly as possible, they write scripts for meds with generally make me worse – not better – and call in the next patient. And so, I have ended up at the treatment of last resort, and with a conglomeration of physicians none of whom take actually responsibility for me. Some have even been kind enough to call me “untreatable.”
Perhaps I am untreatable because there is nothing to treat.
Perhaps I have spent years believing that I am broken when I am merely shaped differently, newly, a new design based on an older model. One must know the rules before breaking them; perhaps I have simply broken new rules.
Perhaps. If I could only remember.