Friday, August 23, 2013

Cliffs and forests...

Apparently, middle-aged women crawling beneath a chair is upsetting to some.  SIGH.

Yesterday was worse for me, that I thought.  While I managed to sort of hold at bay the assaults of my mind, at least long enough get through the diagnostic part, I was felled by the moments waiting to hear if I had to do further testing, which I usually do.  I curled up into a ball on the floor, shaking and weeping silently, and then looked for the nearest tight space.

If I were at the surgeon's office, either of her nurses would have simply joined me.  No. Big. Deal. I would have heard about how brave I was and how proud they all were that I had come in and was making responsible decisions for my body despite the battle it is for me to be examined, poked, prodded, stuck, etc.  I would have been applauded for finding a way to help contain my emotions and thoughts.  Even through my tears, I would have felt better and would have managed to get dressed and leave somewhat together.

Apparently, an imaging center is not the place to show weakness.

There was this moment when I knew that if I did not get up, get dressed, and leave, I would no longer have the option of leaving.  I find it interesting, at times, how readily medical personnel are to take the course of action that is easiest for them rather that what is best for the patient.  My father spent his final months in a cycle of sedation to the point of a catatonic state to wild physical, verbal, and emotional outbursts that led to the profound sedation.  I am rather ... confused ... about that time in his life, but I think more folk than I and my brother believe that he was misdiagnosed with Alzheimer's and, instead, was afflicted with frontotemporal dementia.  I do not believe he had the best care possible.  But I also know that it was an impossible situation.  I also know that when one is living with decline it is harder to see the overall fall than for those not there on a day-to-day basis.

I have a video on my phone of my father still coming out of sedation.  It is so upsetting to me that I honestly want to delete it, but I also do not want to lose it.  What I really, really, really want is to have someone sit with me, watch it, and let me talk about how he is and my fears for my future.

But as far as the path of ease, this was most certainly the case the night of the pit bull attack.  From the EMTs to the hospital staff.  I have learned so much, since then, about how trauma affects the brain.  How I was—my collapse, my tears, my tremors—were normal.  NORMAL!  What was happening in my brain and my body should have been expected.  That is what trauma does to a person. But everyone I encountered just ... well ... just kept making remarks about either causing trouble, making more of the matter than need be, needing to grow up, needing to pull myself together, or threatening to restrain and sedate me.

If someone had explained—had explained about the chemicals being released in my brain, had explained the ways we react to trauma and danger,  had told me that it was okay that my body and mind did not yet grasp that I was safe—I would have been better.  Better then and better now.   Instead, I was a bother.  I was someone who was making others' jobs harder for them.  From not being able to walk into the ambulance to not being able to stand in front of the x-ray machine.

All that is to say what happened yesterday was something that did not need a needle, but compassion and patience and words of encouragement.

The crowd of personnel, the whispers, and the suggestion for "consultation" and "something to calm her down" drove me to crawl from my place of safety, to get dressed, and to stumble to my car.  I drove out of the parking lot and felt myself falling off a cliff.  So, I dared call my friend Mary.  I asked her to just talk to me, to tell me about her day or about something tasty she had made.

Mary has told me that she does not do well with unexpected upsettedness, with being a comfort to someone in need.  I think she is nuts in that regard.  She is so utterly perfect at handling unexpected upsettedness.  She talked about her girls and her son growing within her. She talked about her presentation on the morrow.  And she let me drop little tidbits of my fear and shame into the conversation.  To speak them. To get them outside of me to a place where the Gospel could cover them. 

You see, we talked a lot about the presentation, which meant talking about the Word of God, Law and Gospel.  And the Word of God is a refuge for us all. It was for me.

Eventually, the panic subsided.  The lingering sensations tormenting me ended.  The tears dried up.  The shame eased.  All because of the Word of God.  The Word of God came to me because a friend was willing to step outside her comfort zone and talk with me about her life during a time of great distress.

She did not dismiss what was happening or try to fix me or tell me to try harder.
She let me be who I was in that moment.
She let the Holy Spirit do the calming, the sustaining, the healing.

She trusts the Word of God.

My friend Mary is deeply sensitive and keenly aware of the damage burdening consciouses can have.  So, she is oft slow to speak to me on the matters of heart and mind that I raise, but is quick to speak of the Gospel whenever I share something that is inevitably twisted Law.  When I do share my struggles, Mary listens and lets me know that sharing is okay, that thinking is okay, that feeling is okay.  She listens and thinks thinks herself and then shares, eventually, Jesus in some fashion.

And it isn't some sort of Life Application Jesus.

Yes, sometimes the Living Word has very practical guidance for life.  If nothing else, our triune God caused to be penned Proverbs.  But Jesus is the whole of the Living Word; Christ Crucified is the forest, not one particular set of trees or bushes or plants.  He is the water and the soil, the wind and the sun.  He is the mast beneath the trees, the moss and lichen on rocks and bark.  He is the insects and birds and animals.  He is the whole and every single individual aspect.

Thus, our lives in Christ are the whole of Him, of His divinity and His humanity, His eternal life and His early existence.  He is not something to be packaged up and sold or parsed and studied.  Jesus Christ is to be received.

That what are bodies are for ... even this body,  my body.

My body—in vary and sundry ways—is ill and thus the playground and easy fodder for our foe.  Yet Mary helped me thinking about the fact that even before the fall, our bodies were created for fellowship with God.  After the fall, our bodies were still created for such.  And it is through our bodies that we receive Jesus, receive forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life.

I hope she talks on the morrow about some of what we discussed, but no matter what Mary ends up saying on the topic, her audience will receive Jesus, not some outline for success on the topic.

Because my previous studies had not actually arrived, the doctor decided to wait to even read the ones from today.  Who knows how long it will be before I learn if I have to go back.  At this point, given how strongly I reacted yesterday, I am not sure I could bring myself to go back.  I am not that brave.  And, these days, I pick and choose my battles.  So, I am trying not to think about that, about the what if of the day.

Instead, I give thanks that when I was falling, Jesus caught me through ear and mouth and mind of my friend.

Lord, I believe.  Help my unbelief!

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