Sunday, October 5, 2014


so far, so good.  treatments monday, wednesday, friday mornings. my retired friend mark comes with me the first day, and he will come  with me henceforth. you gotta have someone with you, even with a taxi.  that's because every treatment requires general anesthetic, and you are seriously and unpleasantly stoned when you leave, even with sleeping after the treatment and then eating donuts and drinking coffee from dunkin donuts.
so i lay down on the table--one of several hidden from one another with white sheeting (it looks like a small emergency room] and the staff gets busy while dr. barker patiently waits. theyre a friendly crew: alison, anette [two black women with slight central American accents] and dr. andy, the white anesthesiologist who enjoys the fact that they are all three 'A's] and who brings in tomatoes from his garden, harvested that weekend, to share with everyone there. i like their combination of friendliness and professionalism.   i notice classical music playing quietly, and comment on it. annette beams.  friday, she tells me, is opera day. all day, opera is the music they play. we both recognize 'traviatta' and make small dance gestures. she's excited about her birthday in december: her friends are taking her to new york, to the met. she's never been to the met before.

meanwhile i am told to lie down on the bed, my head close to the top, and then to take off one sock and put it over the other one.  obviously the anesthetics have taken effect, and i am dreaming. i note that it's a very silly dream.

which it's not. annette is quite seriously telling me to do this. when i can't get up past all the plastic geegaws on my body, she removes the sock for me.  Later the anesthesiologist explains: since the anesthesia paralyzes my body, they can't tell if the brain is having seizures, which is the whole point of the thing. so the anesthesia is somehow prevented from going down into the right foot.  remember te archetypal mother who warns you to wear clean underpants whenever you go out? from that day for me, for the next few weeks now, it's clean sox.

then they do the anesthesia and i'm gone. when i wake up it feels unpleasant.i'm not fully awake;  moving is clumsy, like im unederwater and can't swim my way up.  i try to talk and it comes out in disconnected words. they think i'm awake; i think i'm not. i manage to articulate, very clearly, 'i wish i was dead.' they let me sleep a bit longer for my next treatments.  then they direct me to a little recovery room with the dunkin donuts goodies and coffee and gingerale. i gasp dramatically but earnestly,"water!!' and they seem surprised but agreeable. as i eat, i wake up further [i've had nothing to eat or drink since midnight].when mark and i leave i am zonked, and zonked i stay all day. i go to bed as soon as i get home, and it's just about noon. around 5 i wake up and have a combo lunch and dinner and a lot more water.  and then back to bed.

the next 2 days are pretty much the same, and i still feel crappy. but now my brother has come in from new york to be caretaker, giving poor mark the only break he'll get, as far as  i can see.  but by sunday i can feel the difference in my depression, and it feels good.still dead tired, but not quite in that dark hole.

we'll see how this goes on in week 2.

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