Just beneath the surface of normal

Sometimes I Don’t Have Words


Sometimes you’re just sort of cruising along doing the life thing and singing with the windows down.

Sometimes a Mack Truck comes out of nowhere and causes you to slam on the brakes (metaphorical brakes – I haven’t been in an accident if you were worrying) and everything comes to a screeching halt as you deal with the big mess in front of you. This is one of those times. If this is really disjointed and not up to my usual wit, I apologize. My brain is sort of broken right now.

I’ve been feeling a little off since right after Easter, though I originally attributed it to a family visit. As time went on and I continued to be cranky and tired, I began to suspect something more was up, though I thought maybe my meds just needed to be adjusted or something. And then my body essentially turned around and gave me the middle finger (Gave me my own middle finger? I may have lost control of this metaphor).

About two weeks ago I started getting dizzy and disoriented and forgetting how to use my object permanence and basic conversational skills and just slept and slept and slept for days. When I look at things, they’re kind of jerky and all parallel lines make moire patterns, which is really frustrating because there are lines LITERALLY EVERYWHERE. Even writing on a pad of lined paper is a sort of cognitive funhouse mirror adventure.I can’t wear my new blue and white striped skirt because it literally makes me nauseated. It’s an interesting coincidence, if you think about it. Or possibly just cosmic justice for bad wordplay, if that’s a thing.

I went and saw my doctor and he dubbed me vertiginous and told me it would go away in a couple of days. In the meantime, Facebook friends with vertigo came out of the woodwork to offer empathy. One said she felt drunk for weeks. Recognizing it as like being drunk was very reassuring; that’s a situation I’ve experienced before and I know what to do with it. Because I believe in science, I tried having a drink to see what happened. I actually felt less drunk. Go figure. But that’s science for you. Who am I to argue with results?

But after a few days I didn’t feel any better. Instead, along came the feeling of being poked with a pin in all sorts of random places (yes, including there. yes, ouch). Then came the muscle twitches and spasms, which at least had the decency to not hurt even if I do look sort of like a bad breakdancer. When the twitches started, something in my mind – the only thing that’s come through clear as a bell since it began – went “that sounds like MS.”

On the bright side, I’m probably the only person ever who dizziness made LESS clumsy. Last week I flinched hugely because I thought I was about to walk into a wall, but realized after I put my arms out to protect me that I was still a foot away. Which more or less sums up why I can’t drive anymore. I got overwhelmed with confusing visual input trying to back out of a bloody parking space. Driving is done for now. Which I mostly don’t mind because I don’t really like driving, but it kind of sucks to rely on other people to get you around the suburban landscape. Especially when it comes to little tasks you take for granted like running to the store for just a couple things, which is now a logistical nightmare – especially for someone who suddenly has to concentrate like she’s trying to levitate something in order to get through making a really basic dinner.

My idiot doctor still thinks I have vertigo, so he referred me to an ENT. I know lots of people with vertigo, so I feel pretty confident – even in this mental state – to assert that vertigo doesn’t usually come with muscle twitches and pins and needles. My doctor is so fired (I know I’ve totally said that before, but this time I really mean it. I even found another one). So I made an appointment with a Neurologist on my own. Blessedly I got fit into a cancellation the very next day.

She sent me for lots of tests. Most of them are to look for MS. A few are to see if it might be something easy like a B12 deficiency, which would be really really nice. Because that’s what we’ve come to: hoping for a lifetime of monthly injections over the possibility of managing an autoimmune disease for the rest of my life. Saturday I went for a brain MRI, which was remarkably like going to Burning Man in that I was trying my best to close my eyes and rest through a constant barrage of loud, rhythmic pounding. Who knew that countercultures could be so helpful in navigating medical diagnostics?

Before your procedure, please spend a week in the desert with 50,000 really high people who like techno at impossibly loud volumes 24/7.

Anyway, it’s boring and I can’t think straight and everything is suddenly really hard. I can’t even tell you how long it took me to type this. Mostly because I don’t know. But it’s been awhile, trust me. I used to type 85 words per minute with no errors. Not so much now.

It feels like my brain has been hijacked. Or like the sad half of Flowers for Algernon where Charley starts losing all that mighty brain power. If I had the capacity, I would probably be really scared. Which is kind of a bonus, actually. Equanimity is really easy when your feel synapses are all “fuck it, I’m out.” It’s not like there’s much I can do about it anyway, though. Like I said: bonus. Except I still do irritated pretty well.

Some days I’m almost normal. Some days I can get through a whole day without napping and can get a few things done. Those days are awesome and I love them. Other days I Segfault.

Error: No Such User

A segmentation fault is a specific kind of error caused by accessing memory that “does not belong to you.” It’s a helper mechanism that keeps you from corrupting the memory and introducing hard-to-debug memory bugs. Whenever you get a segfault you know you are doing something wrong with memory – accessing variable that has already been freed, writing to a read-only portion of the memory, etc. Also, I totally pasted that from the Internet because I can’t write that coherently right now. But I’m married to a programmer so I get to make nerd references even when I’m too stupid to explain them.


Anyway, if you’ve been wondering where the hell I’ve been, that’s where: I’m just doing my damnedest to make it up and down stairs and remember how to do my job well enough not to get fired until my brain calms the fuck down from whatever this is. Thanks for your patience. I promise to try to write on good days. Except I also promise to tend my poor neglected garden and get some laundry done and pick up around the house, etc. So maybe not every good day. But there will be good days, and there will be writing.

It may be weird sometimes, though. Like, weirder than usual, and maybe in a less fun way. Thanks for continuing to show up anyway.


3 thoughts on “Sometimes I Don’t Have Words

  1. Yikes! Thanks for sharing. I can’t even imagine what this all must feel like. Hoping and praying for a manageable and so. Please diagnosis, but if it MS and you need resources or support, let me know. My good friend’s mom has lived with MS for a long time and would happy to talk to you.

  2. 1) I love you.
    2) I am rooting for B12 defish!
    3) I owe you pics from Cape May. Was so good to see you both! xoxo

  3. I’m so sorry you’re going through all this. I hope things get easier! Sending you lots of positive energy!

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