“How bitter were
the Prozac pills
of the last
few hundred mornings”
- Leonard Cohen, Book of Longing
Today I think I'm going to die.
It started with a nose-bleed. Nothing I thought about much; easy enough to deal with.
Two hours later I'm being rushed to the doctor's office, covered in blood, because I've just thrown up a toilet-bowl's worth of life's precious liquid.
The taste is still in my mouth. The stench won't leave my nose.
I think that I might actually be dying, and for a moment, I'm not even sure how I feel about it.
Turn out it's a reaction to a medication. Dried out some blood vessels in my nose, which burst; blood ran down my throat in my sleep. The nose-bleed was just the first sign.
There is relief, but there is exasperation, too; I am so very tired of taking poisons to try and extend my life and improve my life just a little bit more, a little bit longer.
FDR survived polio and became president, I tell myself, so I can survive this.
It's become a mantra. I'm obsessive about reminding myself of this.
But I don't always believe it, I have to admit.
My doctor had me giving myself shots with insulin needles. Shots of magnesium.
Except I hit a blood vein by accident one day. The magnesium strips all the flesh from the vein; everything becomes necrotic, but it's under the skin.
I can't even see the problem.
So it takes a while, until I find myself in a wound clinic. They've numbed my leg and are cutting, cutting, cutting away dead flesh, dead skin, dead fat, and by the time they are done it the hold is so large you could put a golf ball in it.
It looks like a zombie took a bite out of me, I find myself thinking, and I know I'm a little bit in shock as I stare at the hole in my leg and my father helps me walk best I can to the car.
It's not so bad until the numbness wears off.
Then I start to cry and grit my teeth so I don't scream.
I refuse to scream.
If I could keep the tears in, I would; my eyes are squeezed so tightly shut it hurts, but they insist on coming out anyway.
I am a slim woman who has such inflammation she's gained over fifty pounds that she can't lose with exercise. Only treating the inflammation will do that.
And I understand. I accept.
But I feel so ugly every time I look in the mirror that I want to sob.
I want my life back.
I'm on so many medications that make my already-pale skin sensitive that no matter the time of year, I must wear sun block to go outside.
I sometimes forget if I'm going out for just a few moments; I burn as a result, and I can blame no one except myself.
The medications I take eat away at my stomach. I call them poisons, and they are; they poison the disease.
They just poison me too.
I just want my health. I want my life.
Why is this so much to ask for?
At one point my hair started falling out.
It's grown back. But it was one more thing; the illness is no longer so invisible.
I wish it was again, even if it meant fights with people who didn't believe me.
I didn't hate myself or my own reflection so much, then, at least.
That was better.
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