Thursday, December 31, 2009

Embers of 2009

In less than nine hours, the new year will begin, 2010. In less than ninety days, a new kind of life will begin -- Bernie's job will end, and for a time, at least, he will be a free man.

The future could be daunting, but instead, I'm looking forward to this next year. There are a number of things I'd like to accomplish, but before I do that, I should remember what 2009 was like.

Let's see ... around Superbowl time I caught some horrid flu (was it h1n1 in disguise?) and coughed so hard I herniated a disc in my neck. Muchas owies, lots of pain-killers, physical therapy. Not only did I get sick again after physical therapy was done, but also I had some freako physical reaction to --- something --- that caused me to break out in painful and ugly blisters until nearly the end of May. Lovely!

In the mean time, my mother's 24-hour caregivers turned into a batch of idiot flakes, allowing a boyfriend to come in and steal my father's tools from the cellar (as well as some of her medications and a LOT of food), and requiring me to pursue sending her into protective care in a nursing home.

"I feel like I have nothing left to deal with everything," I told my medical consult, a genius nurse practitioner who assists my physician. "I hear a phone ring, any phone, and it hurts me like someone slapped me across the face."

That was the key she needed to unravel my lousy physical state. After some in-depth questioning, she prescribed a serotonin-uptake inhibitor called Lexapro. "You're depleted," she said. "The neurotransmitters that allow your rational brain to tell your flight-or-fight brain to calm down aren't there, so everything makes you want to run away."

Now maybe that explanation was right on, or maybe it was dumbed down for me, but after three weeks I went back to see her. She practically pounced on me with one word in question: "WELL???" Dropping my usual deadpan, I just smiled and nodded. I was feeling better. "And it just keeps on getting better," she told me. "Then after six months you should be all right."

Right again! January will see me gradually reducing the dosage of the drug, and I do feel that I'm ready. Strong again. There's a well that's no longer dry inside. Very cool feeling. Now it didn't hold off the stomach flu (yuck) but when Bernie brought a cold home from work, I was the only one who didn't catch it -- I'm strong again, yeah!

In accord with the year ending, I finally received, the day before yesterday, from my mother's trust officers three boxes of memorabilia: fading slides and ancient photos, bags of letters that Mom had saved, the wooden bowl and chopping blade that must have been Dad's grandmother's; the flag sent to Mom when Dad was buried, a framed picture of his SeaBee battalion, a couple of his knives that I hadn't thought to ask for but was tearfully grateful that they included in the shipment.

In the old photos of my mother when she and Dad were young, I was able to see again the indomitable personality that I admired so, and the hope and innocence in her eyes that age and the steadily encroaching Alzheimer's turned into meanness and suspicion and anger in her later years. At the end of 2009, I remember again with fondness the shiny curly black hair, the ready grin, the refusal to conform, her clear light brown eyes ... and the love she did have for my sister and me.

Happy New Year to all!

1 comment:

Tweetywill said...

"You're depleted," she said. "The neurotransmitters that allow your rational brain to tell your flight-or-fight brain to calm down aren't there, so everything makes you want to run away."

This sounds very familiar. Perhaps I should speak to my doc about it...

Thanks for another wonderful post. Happy New Year!