Wednesday, November 01, 2017

From childhood's hour...

I know that this is not what Edgar Allen Poe had in mind when he penned these lines ...

... but think about a child who has been sexually abused repeatedly and read them again.

When I saw this image, that was my first thought.  That this was a meme for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, but it was not.  It was just a poetry meme.  Only, for me, that is exactly what the image was ... is.

Were I a poet, I could have penned these words and they would have been about my past.  About how I was as a child.  About who I am now because of that.  I wish that I could pen the words in my head as a poet.  For me, I can only fumble about whilst I try to find the words to make them make sense for anyone other than me.

My cardiologist knows about my past, not in detail but as a concept.  Because of that, since the beginning, he has not had his nurse deal with me first collecting my symptoms, but has taken them himself, so that I would learn to deal with him.

When I had my pacemaker surgery, he was very, very, very accommodating for me.  For one, I wore a bandeau bra into the surgery and he worked around it.  For another, he had an all female support team.  And he made sure the hospital had all female staff for my care.  There was one snafu with the tech sent for the in-hospital pacemaker interrogation, but, upon reflection, I am not sure it is realistic to have expected perfection with the hospitalization.  And I could have refused his service.  Well, if I were a different person, I could have.  The possibility was there.  I am not sure my cardiologist could have prepared perfectly because I am not sure he's ever had a patient like me.  In any case, I don't blame him ... which is big for me.

But something happened last Thursday during my appointment that has me deeply, deeply spooked.  It was something that was innocent and actually, upon reflection, probably good for me, but still I am distressed.

During my appointment, my cardiologist touched me three times.  He very purposely does not touch me and when he's near me, to listen to my heart, he asks my permission to approach and to lift my hair and just about anything he does.  When he's not listening to my heart, he sits pretty far away from me.  So, for him to touch me the way that he did was pretty unusual.

In my head, I know that he has spent years being patient with me and working up to me trusting him. But, also in my head, my first thought after the third touch was "He's grooming me!"  I panicked, but was able to shove that panic deep inside.  I know it is a lie.  But I also know it as a truth that has been proven over and over and over again in my life.  SIGH.

The conflict within has been ever so difficult to bear on top of the gastroparesis flare, the pain of which drove all thoughts of my medications out of my head, which added gabapentin withdrawal on top of all the other bodily misery.  To be so ill and so conflicted makes being so alone even worse.

In sum, the past week has been ... brutal.

I should add another thing my cardiologist did last Thursday was that he immediately and directly responded to something I dared to mention.  You see, there was this change in my appointments a couple of years ago where I no longer left with the next one, but was to receive a phone call.  Each time, I have not received a phone call.  I don't call myself because I feel such a bother and reckon the missing call is proof of my being a bother and do not feel worthy enough of his care.

Had I called for that appointment when I wasn't called, I would have seen him a month prior, right when I was in the grip of whatever was raising my overall heart rate and he might have caught the reason.  But I didn't.  I couldn't fight through the 1,001 ways I am utterly convinced that I am not worthy of care (or anything else good), including that I never get a call for an appointment.  Last time this happened, I didn't go in for almost a year.  I only called because I have been so worried about being short of breath with exertion.  The breathlessness didn't even start until after I had my apointment.  SIGH.

Anyway, I dared tell him about that issue of mine because it kept me from coming in and he once said that he didn't trust that I would call him when I needed help.  I reminded him of that remark and then explained why I let things go and how much it bothered me that I couldn't bring myself to call for an appointment.  His immediate response was that he would give me an appointment before even leaving the exam room and he would make sure that happens each time I come.

He's proven over and over and over again that I can trust him.  So, why am I certain his touches were grooming when I know that they were not?

I hate my childhood's hour.
I hate my mind.
I hate my ever present self-loathing and abject fear of the next time it will happen.

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