If the Coronavirus does not teach people we are all in this together, we have problems. We are all in this together. We take care of our own. We know that our weakest people are valuable. We should.. I do not like the way this is going. But we ought to be aware of these things at all times and it should not take a massive catastrophe to do it.
Laura has been my ONLY caregiver other than a few specialized nursing services, since I got out of the hospital last summer.
This is not sustainable. Frankly I am afraid it will kill her.
We have the means to pay you somewhat through Aris.
But we really, really, really need help.
Please if there is anyone in the Burlington area, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
This is urgent, this is going on right now, we are in over our heads, please anyone who can help even a little, contact us, the worst we can do is not need it but we probably need it.
Some people take this as meaning that God will take care of everything and we have to do nothing. My take on it is that we have been handed this one fragile little place, that we wholly rely on, and that we need to take care of forever or we are in deep trouble. Then I ran across this, in a context that gave it a very similar meaning:
The Sun Of Life is a tarot card I ran across as the most important card in a situation involving the way the world is right now. The card depicts the idea that everything important in life, humans get from sunlight and love associated with sunlight. It reminds me of my need for fire in order to be alive, but even more so reminds me of Julian’s vision. It’s a picture of so much of what we have to lose, and how important it is not to lose those things. Also the artwork is beautiful2.
1 I am neither Christian nor neopagan, but I respect both of these and other forms of religion and spirituality. That respect means that I ask others to respect other people’s belief or lack of belief (atheists and agnostics welcome. too). You don’t have to agree with me or anyone else, just please be nice to people.
2 Wildwood Tarot deck. Mark Ryan and John Matthews, card illustrations by Will Worthington.
Julian of Norwich
was a medieval anchoress, a woman’s version of a hermit nun in Catholicism in those times. An anchoress would obtain her last rites and then be walled up in an anchorhold which was usually part of the church. She would have had both rules and freedoms that other nuns did not have. She stayed in the anchorhold until her death. Julian also happens to be the first woman to write and publish a book in the Engilsh language. Her Revelations of Divine Love, or Showings, detailing her spiritual experiences and how they changed her life. She was sometimes controversial for things like calling Jesus “mother”.
Probably because of this kind of thing, she almost but not quite became a saint in Catholicism, Lutheranism, and Anglicanism. But she is venerated in all of those denominations regardless of sainthood, and has been honored by these versions of Christianity.
Like many mystics, Julian was more concerned with her thoughts on God and theology than on getting personal recognition, so we don’t even know her name. Julian is the name of the church she lived in. Most of what we do know, is guesse based on what was probably going on when she was an anchoress. For many things, including whether she had a cat (anchoresses were advised to “keep no beast save one cat”), are just people’s guesses about her. But her hazelnut vision outlives her, and I seriously hope that everyone remembers we were given this little fragile world to take care of, it’s all we have, and now is the time, not years from now — we are already late but we can mkae a difference still.
If I start looking like this. And I either can’t hold my head up or can only do so with difficulty. Or if I do hold my head up but by the moment I get it up, it’s practically already on its way to flopping its way down. Some of which is subjective, some of which is really frigging obvious…
Those are all bad signs.
Because it seems to go in sequence with me. The myasthenia-related weakness.
Eyeballs and related facial muscles are the first thing to have trouble. They contribute to my blindness, in fact, by pointing in different directions. But they point different directions different times of day, so there is no foolproof way to correct it at the eyeball level whether through surgery or prisms.
Neck usually comes next, if not first itself. Holding my head up is hard at the best of times, impossible at others. This has gotten blamed on poor posture most of my life. It’s not poor posture. Myasthenia is not poor posture. It sometimes causes poor posture, but not the kind you can correct for on purpose. It’s like when people congratulate me on my weight loss (I weigh less than I have since I was maybe 20 for the first time in my life since then) knowing I have gastroparesis, which is a disease very few people want.
Then come elbows and knees. I say elbows and knees because they either hit at the same time usually, or one right after the other. I’ve had other weird neuropathy-like stuff that went for my elbows and knees at the same time like that. I don’t know a whole lot about the neurology of this but I barely understand certain aspects of CMS (Congenital Myasthenic Syndrome) myself.
Sort of on equal footing with elbow and knees is some of the muscles involved in breathing. Sometimes it goes straight to breathing, sometimes it takes a detour through my elbows and knees along the way.
And obviously if it messes with my breathing muscles, I’m headed up Shit Creek without a paddle. My best bet at that point is my bipap. I normally use it as the usual nighttime vent for sleep apnea. But since I have both central and obstructive sleep apnea, there is a feature called AutoSV — Automatic Servo-Ventilation. It detects how much you are breathing and shoves air into your lungs to try to jumpstart your brain again. Which makes it so perfect as a noninvasive daytime vent that I have actually had ER breathing teams, ICU teams, and regular parts of the hospital teams, all would rather get someone to bring my bipap from home already set up, then set up a new one.
But that is not a place I want to be.
Because my mom was begging for a bipap just before she coded during a myasthenia crisis in a hospital with no pulmonologists on staff. They only bothered with the bipap after they had decided she needed chest compressions.
But at any rate my pulmonologists have always approved of this use of a bipap.
But I don’t want to get there. And my roomie is sick. And I am exhausted. And I am dealing with longer and longer periods on my own. And this is just how it is. At any rate, I get disoriented same as always, but nothing and nobody around necessarily to orient me. So i just do the only things I know how to do. Which are not always the best or the right things to do. But when your options are limited, you do whatever you can do, because you don’t have other choices.
So that’s what I’m doing.
BTW so-called “head drop” tends to be one of the early signs of agrin-type congenital myasthenic syndrome. One of the most terrifying things I did was find an obscure AGRN-related CMS paper with a picture of a young boy with an all-too-familiar posture. So this is why my neck goes floppy. This is why my eyes point different direction. This is why my eyelids drop asymmetrically a lot, etc.
In a minute I have to stand up and deal with meds. I am dreading standing up. Hell, I am dreading lifting my head up. But you have to do what you have to do.
I am falling or near-falling every day. People from howard still come in periodically. None of them are informed about the falls no matter how often I or they report them (since staff have witnessed some of these). I have to be really careful when i stand up, to use all four limbs, never just try two, or i will fall as often as not.
Even intermittent emergency speech. Hell, most of the time for me it takes away communication privilege somehow, so I don’t even get that most of the time. I just get this, and even people around me seem to agree::
it happens to me all the time, I am used to it, but I hate it.
I wake up into a new world.
Then I have to figure out how to function in that world.
And sometimes that works out.
And sometimes it really doesn’t.
Laura keeps saying she never realized until living with me this long, how much difficulty I have in certain areas.
Mostly eyesight, time, and memory.
It is like things are just blank where they should not be blank. Probably seizures or something related to the epilepsy even if it isn’t directly seizures.
And I get really confused, disoriented, and insecure.
Insecure like a terror that I did something wrong in the blank spot I don’t remember.
And sometimes I have.
Today I need to eat and I can’t remember something about how.
This is normal.
But for now there is nobody to ask because of other things going on in life.
So i am just waiting, and scared, and there’s stuff I don’t understand.
All of this it happens all the time.
I do hide some things about my disabilities sometimes and that includes, well… especially, I hide eyesight issues and certain cognitive issues. So I pass as far more sighted than I actually am. And I do not know how well I pass cognitively but I know that I at least try to hide how disoriented I get and the full extent of my memory and time confusion.
So what I end up doing in these circumstances.
I do what I know how to do and then just wait for things to work, if I can’t find anyone.
This is NOT a request for help or attempts at help, those things make it worse and make me not ever want to write about this. And today I just can’t deal with explaining.
Anyway this is just to talk about the fact that this goes on. So people know what it is like, and that it happens, and things like that.
So like today, I will do any of a number of things. Like I did some washing up around the house earlier and some crochet, and am about to do meds. I just can’t at the moment figure out a few things that are crucial to eating. And I can’t ask for help. So I just have to wait until all the time and abilities and people come together — and they will — and eventually I will eat. This is not ideal. It is what happens though, when there just is not the resources to do things right. It used to be I really did get help in areas I didn’t have the skills for, by people trained and paid to do it. Right now it is all falling on two shoulders, mine and someone with an autoimmune disease, and that just is not how it should be working.
But the waking up disoriented and missing huge amounts of information about the world is almost a daily occurrence, sometimes even more than daily.
Family means everything to me that it means to most people, but it also means more things.
Which means when I use terms like birth family I am not using them the way some people use them. I am not using them to either make it more or less family. All of my family is family no matter how they came to be a part of it.
I do not like using the words chosen family. I think that is a wonderful concept for those who experience it that way. It’s not how I experience family at all, no matter who the family are. I have not chosen a single relative, whether biological or not.
I won’t get into what makes someone family if they’re not biologically related. I’d never finish the post.
But love is a lot of it. And being in my life in certain ways is a lot of it. And I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who has become my family in this manner.
But the important part.
The really important part.
Having non-birth-related family does not take away from either my relationship with my biological family, or my relationship with my non-biological family.
And I do not, in my head or my heart or anywhere else people use as words for thoughts and feelings, I do not put either biological or non-biological relatives as more or less important, more or less loved, or more or less part of my family.
You’re all family.
And I love y’all. Every single one of you.
And I’m sorry I couldn’t make you the post you deserve.
But I did my best.
And the post got written.
And that’s something.
No, it’s a lot.
But thank you all for being in my life and making it better even though I am terrible at keeping in touch with other people. You all matter to me and having, say, a second mom, doesn’t mean I don’t also have a first mom. and these are all just bad translations of family relationships. But the big thing: More family means more people I love, it doesn’t mean dividing people into greater and lesser parts of my family. And yeah I don’t get along with everyone, but that’s true of every kind of family I’ve ever heard of.
Thank you for being out there.
Thank you for being my family.
Sorry, again, that I haven’t been able to make you the post that you deserve. But I love you, both people I know and people I don’t. people I’m related to by “blood” and otherwise. And again the reason I don’t use the term chosen family is because I didn’t pick anyone out any more than my biological family picked me out. My non-biological family are no more chosen than my biological family, and chosen doesn’t make anyone better or worse than anyone else, or more or less close to me, or more or less loved.
Also I have both immediate and distant relatives, and living relatives and ancestors, within my non-biological family. Just as there are in my biological family.
So. All of you: Thank you. I love you.
Understand guys — I wanted to make y’all a post. I know exactly how I want it organized. I know what I want to put in it. And the whole point is showing you I love you. But for whatever reason, I can’t write it as intended. It’s like walking through sludge until I’m surrounded by bramble and can’t find my way out in any direction. Then my head gets tangled up in everything else and I run off and don’t write.
The reason it was going to be so complicated was because I wanted to really pay tribute to each of the individual people in my life who currently count to me as family. This is difficult for many reasons. One reason is juggling privacy concerns — who to use names, who to use initials, what details to leave in, what details to leave out, what details to change. I’m not talking about legal limits on privacy, I’m talking about my attempts at common decency. Which are sometimes stricter.
So there’s a post I want to make, and I’m trying to make it. And I think I’m gonna succeed at making it, at this point. But this is the lead-in to it — that again, I’m having issues with trying to get everything said. So I’m trying again for allowing myself to write without writing as perfectly as I want to.
Because if I had my way?
I’d have a drawing for each and every one of you, or a photograph. And a little bit of commentary. And it’d all be done so that only some people were identifiable, and only in some ways, and so forth. And that’s just not how it’s gonna happen.
The most likely outcome is I’m gonna write a summary about my relationship to y’all and what it means to me, but without as much personalized touches as I would like. And then maybe the personal touches will trickle through to the light of day in the end when I’m done writing all this other stuff.
But for now? This is all I can promise. This post here. Because I already wrote it. But I am pretty sure I will be able to at least write a couple short posts. Where “short” doesn’t necessarily mean the post is short, it just means… something in my brain leading up to the post is shorter than it would’ve been otherwise.
This gets a little bit carried off into corners of my brain it’d never come back from — if I were to explain to you the communication and cognitive issues that I am having here? If I took more than just these couple sentences in this short paragraph, to describe it? I would never get the post written. So this paragraph has to be all, for now. Suffice to say temporal lobe epilepsy does not make for being an efficient writer.
Anyway I’m gonna go and try to write the best post I actually can write, as opposed to what I want to write, and that’s gonna have to be good enough.