After feeling crummy last night, am feeling better today

After feeling soooo off last night, where my health issues were hitting me so hard, I am feeling better today.  Of course I am tired and sore (I am always tired and sore) but the overwhelming fatigue and pain has lifted some, and I just feel better.  Again, what I love about therapy is that last night I was able to compartmentalize what I was feeling so that it was only physical, and not emotional/mental/spiritual.  It is amazing gift that my therapist gave me, where I able to compartmentalize the misery. I will never be able to repay him for that (even though it has been more than a year since I last saw him).

On a side note, my night sweats have kicked back up again this past week.  I’ll wake up damp in the morning, and when I wake up in the night my forehead is dripping wet, like I ran a sopping wash rag over it.  Since lung disease, I go through waves – sometimes months at a time — of this, but at least my pajamas are only damp right now, versus drenched (as sometimes happens). It is strange to not be hot and to not even have a blanket on in 50 degree weather, yet drip sweat while I sleep.  Yuck. 🙂

After feeling crummy last night, am feeling better today

“Travels” by Michael Crichton notes: his time as a resident

Before he was the author of Jurrasic Park, Crichton was a doctor. The first few chapters include (often humorous) stories about his residency.  In his first rotation, he is in the neurology department, which they refer to as a museum since it is mostly patients with neuroses who can never be cured and seem mostly on display for medical students to observe.  The chief resident seems like a prick, a well-dressed sadist with a pressed neck tie who takes glee in pricking patients with a needle he carries.  Crichton is responsible for drawing blood each morning, a task he must get used to and takes time to do on time.  One patient insists on taking his own blood (he is an addict), and takes the blood from an unconscious man as well.

He spends several weeks in psychiatry and is assigned to a young seductress who he tries heroically to feel comfortable with. There is a humorous exchange with his mentor in the ward, who tries to get Crichton comfortable with the fact that he can admit on a secret level he wants to “fuck” the girl, but that he must not.  Crichton, who is young but married to his high school sweetheart and believes very strongly that doctors should not exploit their authority by sleeping with patients, resists the woman.  But she seduces him in another way: he is convinced she will be okay, when in fact she is manipulative and uses her high IQ to her advantage.  She will need more therapy, and when he tells her this on his last day with her she storms off and he never sees her again.

He spends time in the maternity ward, where in the 1960s it is the rage to give to-do women an amnesiac drug (one where it doesn’t reduce the pain, but they’ll not remember it later).  He is disturbed by all the women laying on rubber sheets who are writing and screaming in pain, referring to it as Dante’s Hell.  Another area has the unwed mothers, who aren’t treated well by the nurses (in judgement), but he is moved by them and feels like it is more natural than the other section where the women writhe in drug-induced states. He hates this ward, and is glad that it is now closed.

He had a woman approach him and greet him once, and it took him a few moments to recognize her.  He pointed out to the reader that as a doctor you see soooo many patients it is difficult to remember or recognize them out of context. 

He mentions the story of a patient who came in with spot on his lungs.  They recommended surgery and the patient agreed, but then backed out last minute saying he need time to review the paperwork.  The same thing happened the next day. For a week this continued.  Finally, a visiting somewhat famous and blustery doctor more or less forced the patient to have the surgery.  The spot turned out to be benign, but the patient didn’t trust or believe them and killed himself two days later, convinced he had terminal cancer.

Finally, he brings up the story that there was a statistical fluke where they got a lot of heart attack patients at once.  He spent time talking to them, and asked why they had a heart attack, and almost to a person they blamed something they’d done or something in their life, such as cheating on their wife or stressing about an upcoming event.  It made him reflect on how much of diseases are related to the mental state, and in some ways by telling patients to leave it to doctors they are doing damage by essentially telling the patient they have no control.  Over the years, he has come to believe that all diseases are caused by something we do (i.e. we are to blame as an individual), primarily because he wants to believe that he has control and therefore will take responsibility for his heatlh. 

Link To Book

“Travels” by Michael Crichton notes: his time as a resident

Is my head clearing?  I hope so…

For most of my life, I aced IQ tests, generally scoring in the top 1 or 2% (one of the things that I learned from working with highly gifted people though is that you can be in the top 1%, and still be waaaaayyyyyy behind someone with a Bill Gates like IQ – there is a huge difference between 1 in 100 and 1 in 1000; I was maybe the 1 or 2 in 100, but some guys I worked with were the 1 in a million and were truly humbling to be around 🙂 Plus I think I was high in some areas and really low in others, kind of a feast or famine type of thing).  In my youth, this was a bane since I was often put into various gifted programs, although I wasn’t a great student and didn’t want to be in those programs.  But since my diagnosis a couple of years ago, I actually can’t even complete IQ tests.  In fact, on a couple of at-home tests that some employers require as part of the application process (seriously??  for a sales job??), my wife had to complete them for me at the end, because I get so fatigued and struggled with some of the story problems (I used to love story problems!!!).  But the past month or two, I am seeing hope.  My head feels like it is clearing just a little bit.  Maybe my IQ, which had dropped I am sure significantly from brain fog and I think the effects of prednisone (50 MG several months, >20 mg for 5 months) and probable oxygen deprivation (I was walking around 3 years with lung disease without knowing it), is maybe beginning to climb a little again. I hope.  It is awful – truly awful — not having a clear head, not remembering what I read, and not being able to work through things with any complexity.  Heck, I would take an average IQ at this point 🙂

Is my head clearing?  I hope so…

Time accelerates when you are a parent

My wife found photos from son R’s (who is 18 now) 7th birthday, when we took a group of school friends bowling.  The photos were adorable and hilarious – kids running up the lane, holding balls nearly as big as they are in some cases, gobbling pizza at a festive table… All the kids — who we still see from time to time except for the ones who are off to college — looked sooooo young.  But gosh it seems like only yesterday.  

When *I* was a high school kid looking at pictures from my 1st grade, I thought that was another lifetime, as that time had seemed like a whole ‘nother lifetime before.  

Time really does accelerate when you are following your own kids’ lives.  That was just (almost) 12 short years ago.  In another 12 those kids will be nearly the same age many of us parents were that time.  Wild.

Time accelerates when you are a parent

Sis was implanted/fertilized today: we are divided about how much to encourage/inquire

My sister was implanted with donated (fertilized) eggs today, which means hopefully she could have a baby by Christmas!  I am super excited and have been checking in with her, but my wife M thinks I should play it down, since there is a realistic chance the eggs won’t take, leading to disappointment/pressure for her if we are too excited.  But my fear is this: when we *aren’t* excited for her, when we aren’t cheering her on and rooting for her, she might feel alone…  

When I was battling lung disease most people were afraid to ask me how I was doing.  They might ask my wife privately, but they never asked me.  Which made me feel so alone while fighting a potentially fatal and emotionally devestating disease (devestating, because it took away so much of my identity, such as extremely high energy and terrific health).  I don’t want to make that mistake with other people – I’d rather make the mistake of asking too much, or showing too much interest and having her tell me to back off, then to not ask at all and have her feeling privately isolated.  

Along the same lines, she has been feeling emotional and alone through this two year process, which has included hormones, fertilization tests, etc. etc.  She said at breakfast a few weeks ago that it is hard not to feel alone.  Believe me, I get it – I never felt so alone as those months I was recovering from my disease.  It took me a few months of therapy to recover from that – I suggested she get therapy, but I don’t think she will.  Which is too bad – therapy took me from feeling utterly alone and devestated to feeling very grateful for being alive, something I don’t think I could have done on my own.

So I will moderate my approach, but will continue to check in.  And to keep my fingers crossed that in nine months I’ll have my first nephew/niece.  

Sis was implanted/fertilized today: we are divided about how much to encourage/inquire