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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mind's Eye

My mind’s eye is far more forgiving than my mirror.  When I stand under the shower and let the hot, hot water sluice from my head to my toes, my eyes are closed and I’m seeing myself as I was 20 years ago.  I don’t do it consciously, but rather, it comes to me in pictures and I am always jolted when the steam clears and my bathroom mirror reflects back my mother in my aging body.  I can almost hear it mocking me. 
There is this great line in the movie “Love is a Many-Splendored Thing” (A great, great old movie with Jennifer Jones and William Holden).  She plays a doctor and she’s been seeing a married man and is fired from her job at the hospital.  Another doctor there, a Communist (it takes place in the mid forties) is trying to convince her to go back to China (they are in Hong Kong).  She looks in a mirror and says “That’s how we differ; you look in the mirror and see truth, but it is an illusion.   For in the mirror, what’s right is left and what’s left is right”   I may be paraphrasing a bit.
So maybe the mirror is the illusion, and my mind’s eye, always the wiser one, sees truth.  Still, I would like the mirror, truth or not, to be a bit more forgiving too. 
On another note, I went for my annual mammogram today.  That was a horror and a half.  I’ve mentioned that I have cut back on my pain meds.  And I also cut back on the Neurontin (doc wanted to know if it helped my balance) which helps with neuropathy (and that’s doubled in pain recently).  After that didn’t make any difference (for two weeks) I cut back by one more (all of this with docs knowledge and direction).  Oh oh.  I guess it was because I wasn’t doing a whole lot that I didn’t notice.  But driving for 30 minutes to the appointment about killed me.  And there was no where to lay down.  This is a CANCER CARE TREATMENT CENTER (not the one with the same title…just a treatment center for cancer patients). .  What a joke.  No where for cancer patients to lay down.  I explained my situation but it did not produce an exam table that flattens.  Finally, they found one and five minute later they were ready for me but said I was welcome to wait an hour for the pain to subside.  I declined.  I wanted to go home.
I asked them to take my blood pressure and they told me it was high and I should immediately go to either the ER or my doc.  My doc is between where I was and home, so I just showed up, screaming in pain.  It took them forever to “get it” too.  My family doc rolled her eyes when I told her what they said and what the BP was.  She said it was normal.  She did check my heart rate, etc.,. but told me to take my regular treatment for pain and something to relax me.  She wanted me to call someone to get me, but I laughed and said I was use to this (I’m really not; I’ve never driven after taking the one I take at bedtime).  She insisted I call her when I got home.  Hmmmm.  I told her I wanted to go HOME and pointed upwards.  She kind of looked at me like “what are you saying?” so I quickly added “I would never actually do anything, doc, I’m too chicken”
I think what is second in line to dealing physically with this disorder is that when you hit a wall like that, you have to explain, starting with the big bang, what is going on and you don’t have the breath for that.  Then they think  you are mad at them and get defensive.  So I always preface it with “I’m not mad at you, you did nothing wrong” which they either don’t hear, or don’t understand.  “I’ll be back in 2 minutes” may feel like instant to them, but for us, 2 minutes is like 2 hours…they just don’t understand the impatience….the level of pain that sets my teeth on grind and drills me to the wall, screaming in agony.  And of course, if you want immediate relief (who wouldn't?) in the form of a shot, forget it.  Not gonna happen.  They claim they have none; which is bull, but what are you going to do?  They KNOW me, and they still refuse to help.  Sigh.
Abu Ghraib has nothing on NF.  Nothing.  While it’s true I’ve never experienced it, I’ve experienced this for 10 years non stop.  I do believe that qualifies me as an expert on torture.   I don’t remember raising my hand at school when I was six, proclaiming I wanted to be a torture expert when I grew up.  G-d misunderstood.  He thought I said “Fortune Expert  I spoke to fast,, I guess. 

So much for my reduction in pain meds test.  And the neurontin? Can't drop it further than five tabs (600 mg) a day.  It's poison.  It's all poison.  I'm killing myself to keep myself alive  But the neuropathy is what is so debilitating.  And that's what neurontin helps.
I hate mirrors.

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