A Man Goes to See a Speech Therapist

Sounds like the opening line of a joke, I know, but there’s nothing funny about it. I’m sitting in a hotel bathroom because I can’t sleep and my wonderful friend and wife needs sleep in a serious way. Tomorrow we’re going to see yet another neurologist as well as my next primary care provider. I’m beat from the trek that visiting speech therapy turned out to be, but you know, can’t sleep because of anxiety.

You know it’s an existential crisis when you just can’t sleep no matter how tired you are. And before any of you tell me “It’s going to be okay” maybe try signing up to let a perfectly good stranger burn a radiation hole in your brain. Then you’ll probably get where I’m coming from.

Despite all the failings of our craptastic medical system I will say this for it. It gives patients, especially chronically ill patience with difficult to classify symptomology, plenty of time to consider our plights. Here’s a brief list of my conclusions.

One. I am suffering from a sever dearth of beauty. I’ve been operating so close to survival for so long that, honestly, I can’t even remember where to look. Stuff that used to be beautiful, like my orchids for instance, no seems more like an ordeal than anything else.

Have I been dwelling on all that’s wrong with me for so long that apparently I’ve forgotten all that’s remains right? I want being sick, this sick, to teach me to appreciate the hell out of anything that brings joy. I want it to drive me crazy with passion. I want anyone looking on mundane me to say “Shit! Half empty? Half full? That guy knows how to drink a glass of water!” Or whatever.

Two. I miss working, but it’s not safe for me to drop trees or run saws. For the past two weeks I’ve been sending my eldest son out to do my part and I AM JEALOUS. Even when he sends me pictures of our crew getting soaked in a shitty day long deluge.

Knowing that it’s not safe and probably wont be for a while doesn’t change my desire to do it. Plus, my monthly 30% VA payments aren’t even a drop in ye old financial bucket. Honestly, the money just makes the effort that much sweeter. The converse of this relationship is that when there’s no money/work you end up feeling hollow while you lack the means to fill that hole.

So, aside from the pain of speech and the constant headache and the worry that this surgery is going to change me, or kill me, or result in a cancerous tumor down the line I’m forced to wrestle with my own helplessness. I’ve got to figure out what the next steps are going to be for me because I can’t abide this helplessness much longer.

In other news, speech therapy went about as well as I imagined it might. My Dad drove me from Seattle to Federal Way with a splitting headache in nasty weather past what appeared to be a miserable pile-up on I-5. At least we weren’t in that pile-up.

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