fear, health, pain

on insomnia, part two 

This is going to be a rant. An insomniac’s rant that will make little sense later, perhaps, but right now my choices are to walk into the kitchen and help myself to some whiskey (which my brain tells me is the equivalent of swallowing a handful of pills, a thought that tempts the middleman to go take a nap himself) or do what writers do: write.

But the tears returned a while ago, maybe (probably) from the comments from the last post, when it occurs to me that I’ve lost or fucked up or maybe (probably) never even had the kind of love I was stupid enough to think I was lucky enough to find a second time around. I thought the tears were gone (mostly), having largely been absent the past few days. Those have only been trickles, though. This time the flood revisits.

I don’t want another night of crying myself to sleep, of wondering what I could have done better or different, of just wanting the basic human comfort of being held. Being held. Such a simple thing that helped so much with all the pain I’m in every day. Except now the pain is deeper than that, as deep as the bottoms of a dozen whiskey bottles and a half-dozen more amber vials with my name so neatly typed on their labels.

My left breast—the one with the lump I keep putting off biopsying because I can’t find the right kind of doctor and because I haven’t had the time or energy to make it to Chinatown to get the CD with the images of my mammograms and ultrasounds; these are the tiring and invisible errands of sick people who Have No One To Help—has started hurting. And not in the “oh, my boobs are swollen because I’m going to get my period” way but in a deep sharp scary way. It feels as though a razor blade is periodically slicing into my breast, just for a moment. The last time I felt anything similar I had an infected milk duct while nursing Basil, and the doctor swore that wrapping cabbage leaves would calm my “angry breast” right down. Less than 24 hours later I was in the ER with mastitis and a 103° fever.

As long as we’re on depressing topics, I talk about my health issues a lot, but I don’t believe I’ve ever clumped them all together. Here’s the full list: degenerative disc disease, scoliosis, lordosis, trocherantic bursitis, facet joint syndrome, osteoarthritis (all conditions thus far make simple things like getting out of bed, washing my hair, and standing for long periods of time to cook dinner excruciating; other things, like sex, require a conscious effort to “forget” I’m in pain), knee valgus deformity (I’ll need replacement before I’m 50), pelvic organ prolapse (including a partial rectocele, if you don’t mind getting squeamish), an abdominal hernia (which I tend only to notice when lifting heavy objects), the aforementioned breast lump; chronic migraines (2-3/week even with the best preventative meds + Botox injections every three months), an arachnoid cyst in my brain, treatment-resistant depression, panic disorder, fibromyalgia, excessive fatigue necessitating a narcolepsy medication, mixed incontinence, and PTSD.

Plus: on Thursday I’ll begin a battery of years for ALS, which I’d gladly not have. All of the above have been painful and difficult but none are fatal. I’m terrified and don’t even have anyone to go with me to hold my hand, make sure I ask the right questions, see I get what I need.

The tears are, then, about heartbreak and loneliness and not being able to sleep. But they are also about being alone. Dying alone. Going to appointment after appointment after appointment alone. 

Who wants to go to a cancer biopsy alone? No wonder I’ve waited.

Yes, it’s about being held. But it’s not (just) about sex. It’s about the intimacy that comes from not being alone in the rough patches. And I don’t even have that. 


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