September 24, 2010

Stinky Continued

So here we are, with me sleeping 12 to 18 hours at night with the odd nap thrown in during the day, which isn't really a problem except for not being able to get anything done, feeling weak when I'm out in the sun, lethargy, ennui, etc. etc. Plus I can't get any work done.

My medical oncologist had asked if I wanted to meet with Norton Hospital's Behavioral Oncological folks, and The Tall One and I both immediately agreed.  Clearly things aren't working for me right now, and I can't find my way through this forest; and people who specialize in cancer seem to me to have an edge when it comes to solutions.

They've put a new procedure into place for people interested in psychological help.  You call them, and they mail you a 14-page form to fill out.

In and amongst your crying and looking for something to blow your nose on other than your sleeve, you fill out these forms; and then, because you have plenty of spare time, you take this pile to the post office and have it weighed and mailed.  They review your answers and work out all of the questions who would be best and call you back to schedule an appointment. I don't know about you, but I think that's a really good way to cut back on your clientele.The first thing I do with a stack of papers that need filled out is lose them; and then things get worse. Anyhow, the excellent young woman making the appointment coaxed and cajoled and talked and promised; and my appointment was made for today without any fuss.  Okay, yes, there were papers, but they were mostly the check-off kind like this:
 There were three pages like that, all restated in different forms and checking on things like whether you ate, ever, or drank excessively; and all you had to do was make check marks; so that was fine.  And then there were 2 or 3 ages of essay questions of the "why are you here?" variety.

I filled all of them in one day, and when I looked it over the next day noticed that I hadn't mentioned the word "cancer" at all.  Not one single time. So I tossed the diagnosis in and also said I'm ADHD and so is The Tall Guy; and our quite different forms of PTSD that emerged when I was undergoing treatment. The last question was whether there was any other information that might be helpful, and after consideration I wrote down that my late sister thought she was Jesus.
I don't know when she decided she was Jesus or whether she always thought so or only thought so part of hte time.  She first mentioned her trinitarian rolein 1992; another quick mention in 1999; and a final one in 2001 or so. She intended to use her powers for good; in fact, she planned to cure Fred's multiple myeloma but he wouldn't cooperate by drinking the mud or dirt that she brought from a sacred site out west; and she kept saying to me (I was still ordained back then) either A.) You don't know what you're talking about; or B. ) You gotta believe.  I think she must have been mildly delusional, because anybody who ever met Fred knew he was never ever going to drink mud, no matter how few parts there were to the million.

And that's all I know about that.  For instance, I don't know if she told anybody but me.  I said something vague to my close friend Mary Flowers during the 1999 visit, but otherwise I think I never mentioned it. What would one say in that situation?

So today I had to park half a mile away from the building where the cancer behaviorist treatment center is, on the second floor but the numbering gets wonky in the parking garage so when you leave it's the third floor; in any case, I was ten minutes late.  The person I talked to had really good initials after her name (LCSW); and she was quite respectful and very careful in asking things like whether I wanted the psychs on their staff to review my medications. (Well, yeaaaaah.  If we're here, we might as well check everything, doncha think?)  And then near the end of our conversation she asked if I minded saying a little more about my sister; so I told her the extent of the conversations.  She asked if she'd ever had psychiatric treatment, and I said the only way to get her there would have been with a bullet to the brain, and we thought that might create problems of its own.

Here's what the LCSW looked like:
I know she had eyes, and I distinctly remember her smiling, and even laughing, a number of times; but I can't visualize her features.  Also, it's possible her hair was waaaaaaay longer than that.  I don't know.  I was preoccupied, by which I mean totally self-absorbed, as is appropriate at these times.

The upshot is that we talked for over an hour (I couldn't stop talking about recent events, including the dog's stupid anal gland problem, which has contributed mightily to the stress around here and by the way she's doing that humping kangaroo move again so probably has to go back to the vet tomorrow.)

And what happened next?  What was the upshot regarding the five doctors and the fatigue-weakness-depression circle/cycle?  She smiled, and she said, "Mary Jo, what's wrong is that you're tired.  Go home and go to bed."

I said, "What about going to Ohio to see my mother?"

She replied, "No."

I said, "Is that because of the physical strain or the emotional strain," and she said, "Both."

If you want a moral to this story, you can't have one:

All I can say is that deciding to seek out yet another potential source of healing  made me feel better.  I wasn't brought into this world to be miserable; I'm one of the happy ones; and sometimes you have to do the work to make it happen.  I'm not interested in doing much work -- 'cause, as I've explained repeatedly, I'm tired -- but I don't think this is going to to be horribly taxing.  And now I'm going to bed.

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