Friday, September 10, 2010

Back to Reality

I dreamed I'd died as a little girl and nothing was right without me. My parents divorced, my sister remained as irascible as ever but lost her compassionate heart, my mother was nowhere to be seen. It took me a while to figure out that this was what had happened, because I was of course, dead. After I figured it out, I begged anyone to let me go back and be alive and set the world right again.

I suppose I dreamed this because in a moment of comingled pique and weakness I wanted to have not been born, not to have had to suffer and been disrespected and emotionally and physically abused by doctors and given no recourse. But when the patient's blood work and imaging says she is well, she must be well. And a well person does not lie in bed all day, so here come the doctors to make reality align with the scientific method (which cannot ever be wrong.)

They haul me up by my shoulders, which immediately sublux. "My arms," I moan. "It's okay," they say, "It's not good for you to be in bed all day, we're just taking a walk." They force me onto my feet and frog-march me down the halls. I do my best to keep up the pace. Nurses give me pityingly insulting looks. I'm the crazy girl. A seizure hits without warning, nearly pitching me backwards. One nurse's face registers alarm, then he is conflicted, not knowing what to make of me and my behavior.

Yes, that really happened. That was the hospitalization I was finally diagnosed with POTS, after seven days of hell. I had nightly nightmares for months. Should the price of truth be so high? No one ever offered so much as an "I'm sorry."

Tomorrow I am re-introducing myself to world, so to speak, in my full physical form. The first step was leaving the house again, then starting this blog, and now I am meeting with a group of people I don't know, but share a common interest with: Japanese language.

I had four years of Japanese instruction and I still do remember quite a bit.

始めまして。私の名前はイベットです。

My name is Yvette, nice to meet you.

卒後した後で日本語を忘れてしまいした。ごめん!

After I graduated, I totally forgot my Japanese, so forgive me!

The idea of Japanese as my second language acts as a shield, a purposeful barrier to prevent me from disclosing too much of my past or expressing the full range of my emotions. Japanese itself prevents me from being effusive. As a language it tends to shy away from emotional over-involvement, although I'm sure some would disagree.

In other words, most of the things that I would say and embarrass myself in front of people I barely knew, I simply don't have enough Japanese for. I hope I can make new friends and not scare them away when I explain that I am a 詩人 (poet) and yes that is what I do for real. Which means I'd better bring a copy of Starting Today...

But I also do want to mention something about being sick.

大学院の卒後した後で、とても病気になりました。本とに怖いかった。

After I graduated from grad school, I got really sick. It was terrifying.

Weirdly, I feel nervousness verging on outright fear. Like anyone with my combination of ailments, I look normal. I spend most of my public hours in able-bodied drag, showing as little sign of pain or struggle as possible. Long stretches of sitting require me to drink something I invented recently called my 'high-octane' Gatorade, an obnoxious solution of water, lime juice, baking soda, salt substitute (potassium), epsom salts (magnesium) and a full tablespoon of salt. All this made mildly more stomach-able by the addition of two tablespoons of honey. Each 1.5 L bottle contains over 8000mg of sodium.

It's the only way I can stay upright for longer than an hour at a time. I don't look sick, so I can't look sick, not even for a second.

And if need be, I'll remember a sudden appointment and bail before the going gets tough.

4 comments:

brilliantmindbrokenbody said...

skoshi nihongo o hanashimasu! Unfortunately, I've forgotten nearly all of it even in romaji. I never was good enough to read kanji, but I did at least read hiragana and katakana, all those years ago...

My it feels so long since I started studying Japanese 11 years ago.

Yvette said...

You should pick it up again! I had a great time at my meeting (although I did break down and end up giving everyone a 15 minute primer on EDS, oh well.)

I still could understand very well, just not speak. It's so hard to hang onto a language like Japanese, spoken nowhere but Japan....

Chronic Geek said...

Knowing Japanese as you do is really amazing. I lived in China for a year and I learned conversational Chinese because I was alone and had to survive, but I never learned more than a few characters to write and could recognize only 100.

I hope you enjoy this group! I'd love to hear more.

Yvette said...

Emma, I had a wonderful time at the group, even though I broke my promise to myself and ended up giving everyone a nice EDS primer...in English.

Secretly, kanji is my weakness too. I would dread our Friday quizzes because I would get the stroke order or the radical wrong. Reading is a little easier for me, but not by much.