Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Weightless; Lion King; Ambulance

I can’t seem to stick with series on television beyond their second season. I was bored silly by All Creatures Great and Small on Sunday night. Tension from an ever-relocating wedding ring? Tension over whether James will be late for his wedding? Fake tension! It’s become too treacly, too twee, for me. It felt like the writers had run out of energy and pride. Sigh. But Vienna Blood is still working for me. It’s only season two for that show.

When I rose Monday morning, the sky was clear and bright. The twinkling of the stars overhead was exhilarating as I carried wood into the house from the shed. I was thrilled, because I’d been expecting rain. But by the time I got dressed to take Her Highness for a walk, it had become overcast and dark. We got back from our walk just before the arrival of the rain. And rain it did, all the rest of the day. As with every other day since the end of the good weather last Fall, I read and puttered. The best part of a rainy day is when I can hear the rain pounding on my metal roof. It did so yesterday for two short downpours. It makes me feel so cozy when I hear the roof timpani.

I had a seizure in the vet’s office, and I freaked them out. I was talking to lovely Karen, who runs the office, and I remember saying, “Oh, oh.” And then I was gone. And I had another one last night at 9:00.

Many of my seizures come on like hurricanes. They have eyes. I twitch and jerk, and I go into a seizure zone and become almost completely unaware of anything. Then I become fully conscious but in a state that feels like I’m drugged and I can’t talk, and then I come out of the eye and back into the storm. But the second half is always shorter. And then I come entirely out of it; snap, and I’m okay.

In the eye, I heard Karen say “ambulance,” and I made a panic noise, and they heard me. The vet asked, “Are you going to be okay? Do you want us to not call the ambulance?” Nota bene: never ask two questions at once of someone in distress. I don’t remember anything after that, but no ambulance came.

It’s positively dreadful when an ambulance is called. They try hard to make me get into the ambulance—in my best interest. Once, I almost had them convinced to leave me, and then the paramedic asked me, “How do you know this was the kind of seizure you always have?” It’s a question he knows I can’t answer with anything but, “I don’t.” And I got into the ambulance to please him. But never again. 

No one in the medical system that I’ve met understands neurological disorders. And when, after they satisfy themselves that there’s no stroke or clot or anything in my brain, only then, will they listen to my explanation of FND. But they are not interested; patients don’t teach doctors.

FND caused me to become temporarily paralyzed while in the cardiac ward at Nanaimo General, and my cardiologist came in and asked, “What’s this neurological issue that you’ve been babbling about to the nurses?” (I’m not sure if the word was, “babbling,” but I clearly remember was how condescending the word he used was. Another doctor practically did an eye roll. FND was once called Conversion Disorder. Before that it was called malingering.

I read almost all of Oliver Sack’s books as a young man, and long, long before I developed FND. The books that made him a hit were The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and An Anthropologist on Mars. For me, he is the grandfather of neurological science. In his anthologies, each chapter is about an odd manifestation of neurological disorder. My story of living with FND changed dramatically for the better on the day I realized I was a part of the community of men and women in those books. I was proud to be one of them.

Mental Illness is having its golden age right now. Never, has it been so much a part of contemporary culture, and seen with sympathy and a far greater understanding. One day that may happen with neurological disorder.

Sunday night, I was going through programs and streaming services looking for something to watch, and I saw something that started about half-an-hour later. I started running thought the channels while I waited for my program to start and came upon The Lion King. Not the musical, but the recent, and absolutely magnificent, version. The animation is overwhelming. I found the animals stunning—not just in appearance, but movement as well. It’s pure genius, the film. The big cats are majestic and stunningly beautiful. Wow!

I emailed Kris, her husband, Steve, and our mutual friend, Nancy, to come to my place for a games night next week. They were all genuinely thrilled to come. They all said how much they love playing games, so this may be something we do together every once in a while. Our games night has quickly become a potluck, with everyone contributing. I love nights like the one we are planning; a games night is low pressure and I love these people.

An enormous weight has been lifted from my shoulders. By making it clear that I will not be the chair of the CCRF committee, I have allowed tranquility back into my life. I felt like a Pavlovian dog, reacting with fear every time an email pinged on arrival in my inbox. It’s much more work that I’m not prepared to do. Dyan is a wonderful person to work with. She immediately and graciously acknowledged my request and outlined steps to be taken to decide what to do with the committee. She also made it very clear she wants me to keep doing what I’m doing, and that is fine. We’re meeting on Friday to decide how to go forward.

I’m now thinking about whether I want to be on the board. I have a feeling I’d feel better being what they call a “committee member.” Still doing all the tasks I do now. I will take my time making that decision. I’ll see how things go.

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