Wednesday, January 02, 2013

"Sucks, Doesn't It?" A Memoir, Entry 8

Chapter 8

Home, Sweet Home, Catonsville, MD
The day after that abominable hospital stay, I’m perusing the movie channels. Already getting bored with being in this bed stuff.  Let’s see. TV time. What to watch? How about “The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill And Came Down a Mountain.” Stars Hugh Grant. Sarcastic fella. Be hard to live with. Sounds like a good flick, though. As the movie unfolds, I drink loads of water and even try a little soup. Feeling not too shabby now. A couple more days of siesta, and I’ll be ready to fly the bed coup and return to normal land. Nurse Huffy was oh so wrong. Until . . . as the Englishman was coming down the mountain, my nose begins to bleed. 
And it doesn’t stop. A thin ribbon of scarlet flows over the top of my upper lip as if my nose has morphed into a fountain of pearly red water. I'm horrified! I've never had a bloody nose in all my born days. I swipe at the gore with a velvety soft kleenex hoping the bleed will end soon. It doesn’t. The more I swipe, the more it flows! Then . . . without warning, the ‘switch’ I’d tried so hard to find in the back of my head goes OFF. This time, it stays off. The voices of insanity—voices I thought only existed in cartoons, like the ones I watched as a child—spew out of my mouth like lava from a majorly pissed-off volcano! Whole sentences are reduced to garbled words of nonsense. Wails worse than a banshee issue forth when the voices become fatigued and take a break. 
So, the me I know real well, that my family and friends know real well . . . kaput! It's like I've been shunted aside by some internal fiend, and all I can do now is watch helplessly as it takes over and directs the next act, leaving my husband to pick up the pieces. But the poor man has no idea what's happened to his wife, or where the hell she's gone. That's because you really need a rational adult voice to make that understanding thing work for people. And even though I'm screaming the words HELP ME, HELP ME, HELP ME in my head, they aren't making their way through the traditional channels of verbal communication. 
      As the terrible reality sets in that there is this inexorable disconnect between what I'm thinking and what I'm actually saying, my thought process undergoes an abrupt switch; I'd quite like to fall into a coma now. Or die. Death is infinitely preferable to losing one's mind. Isn't it? Fortunately, my husband comes to his senses and has other ideas. It's back to the hospital I go. Quickly, he helps me out to the car. Voices are coming out of me like Robin Williams on speed dial. And I can't stop them! Oh dear Lord, I can't stop them!
It gets worse. As we travel the Baltimore beltway, I've taken to rocking back and forth, alternately jabbering and wailing like a hyena attacking a herd of squealing pigs. My fingers, hands and arms have taken on a life of their own: fingers flapping, hands punching the air, arms twisting like pretzels. I need more room. I need air. I need to leave the car. I try the door handle. No go. I pound, pound, pound on that door trying to get it open. No go. Must be stuck. I begin to chant, open, open, open. No go. I kick the door with my feet, still chanting open, open, open. Frantic, my husband yells, stop it, Liz! I begin to chant, stop, stop, stop . . . I stop. 
      At the hospital, I stagger out of the car and into the ER as if I’m drunk or on drugs. The voices continue to poor out of my mouth. I swing from childish to demanding to profane. I know this, I hear this, I watch from afar. And . . . I can do nothing.