Whenever I need to be reminded that there is still good in this wild and senseless world, I simply think of my mom. As children, we put our mothers on these superhero pedestals. They can do no wrong. They kiss our boo-boos, wipe our noses and tuck us in at night. For a time our world revolves around them – and rightly so – our mothers have known and loved us since before the rest of the world ever even knew our names or saw our faces.
The mind is a curious and wondrous machine. So many things about the brain are unknown and surely the vastness of its functions and failures are put on full display while under the influence of anti-NMDA. The various ways my brain responded to this attack, processed information under duress, and ultimately healed, continues to amaze me everyday.
There are people who seem to seek out Death. We call them thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies. They jump from planes, drive incredibly fast, or partake in extreme sports. Some of them fight fires or go to war and some of them resort to drug use or crime sprees. No matter the outlet, they all seek the same adrenaline rush that comes of blatantly tempting fate through intense life experiences. They seem to thrive on the thrill of chasing down Death, tapping him on the shoulder, and jumping just out of reach.
When Erica was about four years old, she became afraid of wolves. And it was easy to see why, since wolves played so prominently in some of the stories read to her. In retrospect, maybe not such a good idea at bedtime, but then I was a new parent and just learning the ropes. After finishing a wolf story, we would have the same conversation each time. She would ask rather anxiously: dad, are there any wolves where we live? No, I would say.
I just need to focus. I am willing myself to focus.
I have just “woken up” to find myself sitting on the bathroom floor in the one-bedroom apartment I rent. Although, truthfully, I haven’t actually been sleeping per se. Just…unaware. I struggle to recall what day it is or even what time it is. Should I be sleeping? Getting ready for work? Why am I on the bathroom floor? How long have I been here – I mean… minutes…hours? I slump against the wall next to me, the cool, rough texture grazes my cheek and for a moment, it’s the only thing holding me up as the room tilts around me. I’m shaking, confused, dizzy and wondering what in the world is wrong with me.
The sound echoed in the nearly empty waiting room when my name was finally called and I rose slowly to my feet and made my way to the waiting nurse. I was taken to a small triage room just beyond the open door where my vitals were taken and I was shocked to see my blood pressure register so high. I chalked it up to anxiety and began to try to explain how I felt. My symptoms had gone from a minor stomach ache and feeling worn out to extreme nausea, short term fevers, and body aches. The symptoms resembled the flu, so I wasn’t really concerned, but they had lasted for more than 3 weeks and I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. I had been to the doctor a couple of times in the last couple weeks, but I didn’t seem to be getting any better.
I suppose there is no better place to start than the very beginning, with my first trip to the emergency room, at the onset of my first auto-immune disease. This is an excerpt of what I recall from that day, a lifetime ago.
It should have been raining.
In the movies, whenever “the plot thickens,” it rains (cue dramatic music – bump, bum, bahhh). The characters are mad or sad or afraid and the storm brings about a change in the mood of the movie. Blurred images of rain drops are slowly sliding down the windowpane, nature’s tears reflecting the internal emotions of the character.