Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What is real...

This morning, I awoke screaming, shaking, and vomiting.  I promptly fled to the closet, tucking myself into the furthest corner and clutching Amos as if the pit bull were still trying to rip him from my grasp.  

Both sleeping and awake, it is sometimes extraordinarily difficult to tell what is real.

I mean, I know that what happened in my night terror did not actually happen.  Only a tiny version did and it was enough to make real what I just experienced.  The unthinkable becomes plausible and then the plausible seems certainty.

In my dream, I slowly became aware that I was living in a stranger's house.  Not even a room to myself, my space was a couch allocated to my use.  Amos was not in the house, nor was a single object from my own home.  No pictures, books, or linens.  Nothing around me even hinted at my presence in the house.  

As I struggled to figure out where I was, a woman appeared to tell me it was time to eat and asked what I wanted to drink.  Automatically, I replied, "Dr Pepper," still struggling to figure out where I was and why I was there.  She curtly informed me that I could not have Dr Pepper and I knew what the proper answer was.  When I failed to come up with it, she said, "Water.  Water is what you drink now."

With each passing moment, I was more and more frightened.  I tried to get up and leave the house, but she blocked my path without actually laying hands on me.  Another person came up from behind me and told me that I should sit back down.  I knew her.  A new friend.  Someone who has helped me out. A part of me wanted to trust her, but I could not understand why it felt as if both of them were not really speaking to me.  The first chance I got, I dialed 911 and then dropped the phone down behind a cushion.  As confused and scared as I was, I thought help would come.

When the police arrived, the first woman produced a letter from a neurologist stating that it was determined a brain tumor was causing all the neurological problems I had been experiencing, so he had to remove a portion of my brain.  As a result, I would not be able to remember anything of what occurred prior to the surgery and would not be able to distinguish between reality and fantasy.  Since it was not safe for me to live alone, I had been placed in the care of the woman.  

As the police officers read the letter aloud, I kept trying to interrupt, trying to say that I did not have a brain tumor, that what they were reading was not true.  But the new friend assured the police officers that she had known me before the surgery and that this was want I wanted.  So, the police left and I was left trapped there. Conscious and in control of my faculties but powerless, moneyless, without transportation or any avenue of escape. 

But I knew who I was and where I lived and that I had Amos and that I had a POA to whom I have given complete legal, financial, and physical custody of my person. By that I mean, I know that there will be times when either I am too ill or too insensible or both to make good decisions and so I made arrangements for my best friend to serve as my durable power of attorney. 

No one had talked to any of my current doctors,
No one talked with her or had asked her permission.
All this had happened by and with and through the hands and minds of others ... others' interests.

When the police left, the woman turned to me and asked, "How many more times are you going to call before you understand this is your life now?"

No compassion filled her eyes or softened her words.  In fact, behind them was a glimmer of victory I knew full well.  The certitude that I would, eventually, shut up, be still, and wait until it was over.  Only this time there would be no over, no ending.

I have vistors right now.  I had suggested they go to the museum as a way for them to have time together and for me to get more sleep than I have been getting since their arrival.  Sitting in the closet, all I could think was that I had to calm down ... somehow ... before they came back for a late lunch and then an airport run. 

How do you make unreal the unreal? 

What is real?  I ask because one of the things I have learned is that what one person experiences is not always the same as what someone else experiences in the same situation.  

I ask for help. To do so is extraordinarily difficult.  I ask specifically.  And yet the other person does not experience my difficultly, does not bear the weight of that which burdens me, does not understand the magnitude of the request.

Yes, we can do that.
Yes, I will talk with you.
Yes, that is something I will do.

I asked.  You answered.  So, I wait.  I crossed the Himalayans on bare and bloody feet to get to my request. All I ask is that you make this small effort to do one specific thing to help me continue on my journey.

You forget.
You set it aside.
You prioritize other things.
You have no clear understanding of what that waiting is doing to me.

Someone I know has asked for help.  Others said they will.  She is waiting for them to make a specific offer, so as not to bother them.  They are waiting for her to make a specific request, so as not to bother her.  To her, they do not care.  To them, she does not care.  

I have stood in her shoes and so I tried to explain that she has asked for help and has not heard their offer of help.  They insist that she has not asked for help and is ignoring their many offers to help.  Words catch in my throat and tears spring to my eyes.  I cannot make them understand what I understand and so all remain a chasm apart.

I ask what is real because the dream, though not real, is real to me.  The feelings I have are real.  The physical reaction of my body is real.  The thoughts in my mind regarding what happened in the dream are real.  They are real to me.  And as such I must face them.

I post my dreams.  
I am asking for help.  
No one hears me. 

I posted the crux of the dream and announced that such would not happen.  I wanted someone to read to me.  I called my POA and announced that such would not happen.  I wanted her to read to me.

Christ crucified for me is real, though I admit I doubt and waiver under the assaults of my foe upon my body and my mind.  That is why hearing the Living Word is important to me.  It is external to me, external to my thoughts and feelings and physical reactions.  The Living Word is also stronger than I and does not doubt or waiver under the assaults of my foe.  

With the PTSD flashbacks, something that I learned was to engage my other senses.  Smells. Sounds.  Touch.  So, I have pinecones scattered about my home.  And there is one in the cup holder of my console in the car in the hopes I do not have another accident caused by a flashback and my ingrained reaction of disassociating from the assault of unreal smells, sounds, touches.

Today, the presence of the pinecone was ridiculed and dismissed.  To the other person, it was a totally useless and senseless thing to have in the car.

In a way, I feel as if those whom I have dared to ask to be one I could call to hear the Living Word when I am overwhelmed and struggling with what is real to me view the desire, the longing, to have the Bible read to me as useless and senseless as the pinecone.  

In the past, I have tried to call, but the response I most often get is not a simple reading of Scripture but rather the other person on the other end of the phone wanting to understand and then wanting to help me understand what they believe to be real.  They want to help.  They want to assess the moment and apply a solution to the problem.  I get that.  I get that they want to help.  But it is not about their understanding or what they believe is real.  It is about the power and the efficacy of the Living Word and the fact that God already understands and knows what is real and unreal ... and when the unreal is real.

As those times, I feel as I am a broken and bloody body lying in the road, longing for someone to scoop me up and run to the nearest doctor.  Yet instead of calling an ambulance and wadding up the nearest cloth to staunch the flow of blood until the doctor can save me, the passer by wants to study the wound and determine just what caused the bleeding and try to figure out how much bleeding has occurred and then tell me how a doctor might be of help.

Would that it were Amos could have read the Psalter to me as I clung to the reality of his presence, hidden in the closet.  As I struggled to concentrate on the still present scent of lavender from his bath Friday night.  As I twisted his curls between my fingers.  As I tried to soak up the warmth of his body to thaw the ice around my heart and mind and soul, trapping me back in the dream.

I am afraid to sleep.
I am afraid of dreaming.
I am afraid of waking.

Would that it were Amos could read to me ... a psalm or two ... or ten....

I am Yours, Lord.  Save me!


Anonymous said...

I read your request to hear the Word read to you, and think this may help:

I hope this gives you comfort.

Myrtle said...

Thank you for thinking of me. I actually have listened to that resource, but I have the entire Psalter in chant tones and the bible on tape. It is that I long to hear the Living Word read *to me* and *for me*. I can read to myself ... which I do. I long for the "realness" of someone reading specifically to me.