I’m posting this on my way to what I very much hope (but don’t expect) will be my “discharge appointment” post surgery.
Don’t expect because I wouldn’t like to be disappointed, not because I feel particularly ill.
Here’s what I found so far, since the surgery: I was much more ill than I realized.
It started with them finding a large amount of scar tissue and endometrial tissue binding all my internal organs and filling up my abdominal cavity. That amount had to be causing pain, but other than some bad nights in the last two years, I kept saying I’d never been in pain.
There were other things. We’ll spare tender male ears and just say that my Caeserean (first son. Second son was born the natural way) botched things so badly that some organs were cut almost in half and bound together with a growing ridge of scar tissue. Which by itself should have caused tooth grinding pain. Constant. Except I didn’t have any pain.
Except that when I took super motrim TM I slept like I hadn’t slept in twenty three years. Yes, that precise, because I remembered enjoying sleep before having older son, and after that I remembered bed being the place where I tried to sleep and sometimes managed cat naps.
The painkiller (strong) had such an effect I asked my doctor if it was soporific. She said no, just a painkiller.
Which means my conscious had blocked the pain, but it still didn’t allow me to sleep soundly. For close to a quarter century.
All of the symptoms getting worse as they went on, so in the last five years I’ve almost stopped sleeping altogether. Which has its own host of problems.
Add to this that for twelve years I’ve been living in a house that kicks up my auto-immune. No one else in the house is affected, except the cat that has auto-immune issues. It’s not mold (we’ve checked) so I have no clue what it could be, but the house was built almost 120 years ago, and it could be anything, including something in the plaster mix on the walls. Who knows? Or something in the open crawl space.
We’re now living away most of the time, while we ready/remodel the house for sale. All I know is that three days there, and all three of my auto-immune disorders (asthma, arthritis and eczema) go into high gear. Then I have to be away a week to clear up. The guys thought I was nuts, until the cat with similar problems also cleared up. And it can’t be psychosomatic for her.
Now, what does this have to do with writing?
Older son who works in ER while he applies to graduate school/makes final decisions on where he wants to go with his life, says I’m what they call an “unintentional suicide.” You know the type of people who stagger on saying “it’s just a flesh wound” till they drop.
Technically, if I’m judging the severity of the problem right, it’s no wonder I’ve gone almost silent for a year, in fiction. (I could still write shorter pieces. Less concentration.) The amazing thing is that I still wrote.
However, yesterday an amazing thing happened. I casually reached for a book and started reading. A book I’d never read before. this wasn’t my “I must read this, because I must read, because–” that I’ve been doing to myself for five years.
No, this was the habit from childhood, of sitting down and reaching for the nearest printed material. It was only amazing because it’s been so long. But it’s also a sign of hope.
And the writing is coming back too, though still somewhat forced, which doesn’t matter, since I have contracts. So it must be done.
And I can think from page to page, sentence to sentence, point to point.
So these are good news.
The useful stuff: if you find yourself breaking longtime habits, like my habit of reading which was kind of like breathing; if you experience trouble sleeping for years — get help. Mind you, they might not know what to do. I thought the insomnia and the inability to concentrate or think were psychological. So did my doctors.
But you should at least try.
And cut yourself some slack. It might very well not be all in your mind.