Day 11 of 31 Days in July
The TBI Collection from the PTSD Poetry Project
Poetry created from blog entries, both public and private, or journal entries
“Three More Days”
I look out the window
Birds, noisy outside I’m sure
Flit in and out of trees
Sparrows, yes this is their name
I look down at my iPad
I feel nothing
There is an emptiness inside me
An echoing stillness
Filled with the buzzing of white noise
I watch family members
Stressed faces as they sit
In uncomfortable chairs
Next to recliners
Their loved one’s eyes closed
As their array of bags hang above their head
It will be a long day for their family
All alone I will soon leave
I glance up at my bag
It’s close to time
Soon I will go home
The dark medicine flows into my vein
I can taste it in the back of my throat
The smell of it is in my nose
I look out the window
When this will end?
Will I get better?
Will I finally see a year?
Three years later
I’m at the year
We thought would come much sooner
Three more days
I will drive up
Sit in my car
Face the nature preserve
I will watch the birds, the deer
Then I will put on my brave, smiling mask
And walk in
And I pray some more
July 11, 2016
My brain is exhausted. This week heralds the appointment for what makes a year since my last infusion at the oncology center. The most confusing of places to go as I do not have a diagnosis of ‘cancer’. I remember last year’s 3 months, then 6 months, then 9 months without an infusion as my blood work had come back in normal ranges. Considering the specialist had said it originally read as a anorexic’s blood work this is a gift after three years hard work. In spite of brain injury I’ve worked very hard to get to this place.
My body has been pushed hard these past three months to get to my year’s time of no infusion. I wanted to see if I pushed hard, within the limits of my heart issue, if I would still stay in normal limits. Nutritional supplements by the high dose handfuls. Protein intake pushed to my upper limit. Protein first and most of all was always the credo I’d lived by to begin with until I simply stopped eating due to no signal of ‘hunger’. Yet, in the irony of my life, after losing close to 250 lbs. This amount I’d kept off for over a decade? Well, menopause changed everything and my body weight went up.
Hormone supplementation caused fluctuations in weight, especially fat stores. After losing so much, keeping it off, a thirty pound weight gain wasn’t a big deal to anyone but me. After a point I had to find a new doctor who had experience with long term gastric bypass patients. Not an easy task. The advice I received was to wean slowly off the hormones and then it could take anywhere up to well over a year for everything to settle down.
A year is not that long until it become two years. To be judged after over a decade of not being judged was not helpful to my personal issues. Sizeists show themselves at all sizes. I chose to get a personal trainer while still on the hormones and together my body changed drastically confounding others. Then my pain levels shot through the roof and major surgery occurred. Then a year later another even harder surgery to recover from. Then three years of painful, personal physical therapy.
Blood work issues had been ignored until they no longer could be and I was sent to a Hematologist. Five months into treatment for the nutritional deficiencies, brain injury happened. The woman in the mirror was not one I recognized. She was not one I remembered being. This woman with fuller hips, breasts and a belly ring which cut through the skin until one day the skin broke. This was not me, it couldn’t be. My world became these 3 times a week appointments. Three times a week of the lead I.V. nurse having to find my difficult veins as we worked to avoid the need for a PICC line.
I sat there with the IV going into my arm flowing with what looked like coffee. I sat there and watched all the other patients talk to each other or sleep with their arrays of multiple IV bags hanging above their chairs. I sat there watching stressed family members wait, sitting in a chair next to recliners. I sat there and watched movies on my iPad or stared out the window as no one interacted with me and I could remember no one’s name. I felt out of place. I would be coming here the rest of my life, there was to be no end for me. Even if it did get to the year the doctor had said was the goal, even then I would still be going back every six months. The shots? Now those would be every month until they too became every 3 months.
I sat in my recliner, watching the movie I’d watched many times before. They’d all be new to me anyway because of the brain injury. I looked at the nurses walking past until mine came to check my IV. I never remembered her name. Sometimes I’d remember things about her and this was about it. It took over a year before they got it that I’d had a brain injury and began treating me with the worse of insults. They treated me like a brain damaged patient who was an idiot.
No wonder I hate going there.
There are no other options to avoid this negative place. I focus instead on the few there who are super positive people. The gal who takes care of my insurance is always so cheerful and treats me with respect, kindness. The doctor’s nurse who has been my strongest advocate. My IV nurse who is skilled at getting ‘flash’ the first time, every time.
It is a week in which it is difficult to find the positives as the day approaches I have to get up, get ready, go in and face whatever the results will be. Each day I wake up dreading the next day and yet I still manage to find the joy in each moment. I work on my digital art. I interact only with the friends I want to. I only live stream when I want to. I smile at strangers when I’m out. These days are my own to do with what I want.
My days are now numbered and it is three more wake ups until I find out the results.
I pray my hard work has paid off.