What’s She Doing Up?
A few weeks ago I was the hero for having driven Annie back from Eureka to Willits, when we thought she was having an attack of a kidney stone. To say that I exceeded the speed limit, would be an understatement. We went directly to Howard Hospital, and spent a good part of the day, until she was feeling stabilized, whereupon, we went on home.
It was a good test for me, to be able to employ my array of mental tools to keep me from having any sort of negative reaction from the stress. I passed the test with flying colors, and we have been in a holding pattern ever since, waiting for that pesky “kidney stone” to exit the building. I have passed two kidney stones back in the day, so I have been a good support person for Annie.
Actually, I have been a great support person for her, because I feel the need to balance the scales, that exist in my mind, because they are currently dipped down on Annie’s side and need to be righted. You see, Annie has been my guide, coach, and mentor, for six months now, as I have unraveled the ball of twine inside my head, known as mood spectrum disorder. She has helped me research, review, and understand my illness so that I have been able to progress through therapy, even managing up until this point, to be able to forego the use of the medication that was originally prescribed. That would be the atypical, anti-psychotic, meds that scared me and Annie so badly, that we doubled our efforts to find out everything possible about mood spectrum disorder.
Now I have experienced a summer’s worth of “normalcy,” combined with a rigid adherence to my primary therapeutic components of proper sleep, proper exercise, sensible diet, laden with fresh vegetables and fruit, and an avoidance of caffeine. Am I back to “normal?” Sure, and the weather’s been normal too for the past ten days or so, but you never know.
Bipolarism is something I am going to have to deal with every day of my life; it is a full-time job. Therefore, I am experiencing a fair amount of challenge trying to figure out how I am going to be able to help Annie. It turns out that her “kidney stone” is not a kidney stone at all, but rather, an eight-centimeter-tumor, taken up residence in one of her two kidneys. I can’t even tell you which. When I say it like that, it sounds so much more benign than cancer. I mean, you just remove a tumor, right? Cancer sticks around and causes havoc. Right now, the thinking appears to lean toward simply removing the kidney.
This is the part where my mental faculties want to stop the truck-dead in the center of the road, and demand a re-examining of the life’s schedule of events. Overload! Too much going on-lay off a bit. How is a bipolar guy, suppose to assume the nursing needs of a cancer patient? The answer is, “He’s not.”
In the first couple of days, I kept running at full speed into oak trees, one representing something that needed to be done for Annie, the same one representing something that I needed to be doing for me. The result was that the two paths kept crossing, and every time it happened, I was left scattered, dazed and confused.
One good thing we had going for us, however, was that the radiologist did take a close look round, while examining the dye-encrusted region, and saw nothing else that might overly have alarmed him. It seems as though we are early in the process, and our hope is high. We have a consultation with the pros from Dover in San Francisco, on September 6th, and we will schedule surgery then.
In case you all are forming glowing images of Mark, still on that white steed, riding at the head of the special forces, conveying Annie along to wellness, think again. It sounds so good, and I told Annie the very first day, that I was going to do everything that possibly needed doing, and she wasn’t going to have to worry about me one bit.
That was my best moment, in a short list of best moments. My flaw is that the only reason I could have been doing so well, is because I had Annie. It goes like this: Annie helps Mark; Mark is able to thrive and be productive; Mark can therefore help Annie. If Annie now has to pay attention to Annie, first, then she cannot help Mark first, who therefore struggles, and is therefore not able to help at all.
Fortunately, it only took me four days to realize the flaw, and to take the necessary steps to correct it. That doesn’t mean all is well; it just means that no one is functioning in an unreasonable role, and new roles take time to form. There is a tremendous amount of immediate support within the hill community, so Annie is in good hands.
She is forcing herself to slow down and deal with the needs of her illness. She has expressed a desire to minimize phone calls and visits to those of the utmost of importance, so that she can get the rest she needs to prepare for her upcoming surgery.
Whether you look to the gods and goddesses within the very existence of your home and garden, whether you follow the principles of a number of available man-made options, or whether you just trust to luck, be thinking of my sweetest of apple blossoms, as she battles something which seeks to dim those fragile flowers. Together, I know we can make a difference. The proof is in all of the middle school kids, who peeked their heads into Annie’s classroom, stepped inside, and emerged to be productive members of our community. Now I need your help to get positive energy heading this way.
I want her on her feet, with the devil looking up in alarm saying, “What the hell’s she doing up already? I thought we took care of her. Damn!"