Friday, March 8, 2019

Gardening, 2019

It's 2019. It's hard to believe this is really a year, I mean one that exists. I remember looking at a book in the school library during my early years that told all about how things would be in the year 2000. This is definitely not that future. In other words, where's my friggin' flying car?!

Okay, gardening. I'm a zone higher than I'm used to. I mentioned in the post Still Pursuing that I'd moved to a bigger city. That move took me from zone 5 to 6. This time of year in my old zone I'd generally be turning my dirt, tending any volunteers, and driving slow past the nurseries to check out what new plants were starting to show up on the shelves. Now I'm significantly poorer and there is still snow on the ground. Although I've secured a couple of gardening spots, I'm still waiting impatiently for the world to thaw. My internal rhythm says it's time to get ready to plant. My reality says it's barely time to get ready to get ready to garden. Being poor sort of helps. I can't afford to buy tiny plants so I've had to settle for seeds. The way this helps is that I got to scratch my gardening itch earlier this week by planting my indoor-start seeds. It won't be long before I see those two-leafed little seedlings pushing their way up through the soil and my soul will be lifted a little.

That's not really why I'm here today. On the depression front I took a pretty bad hit earlier this year. I just thought you might deserve a break from my normal whinging on before I got into that. Happy gardening done. Now, let's get into this.

I'm going to try to keep this one brief for two reasons. First, there's a lot and I don't want to burden you with every detail all at once. Second, I'm not entirely sure what happened and I haven't even begun to deal with it. It's hard to write about something one doesn't understand and hasn't processed.

Let's start here. In early January I nearly drank myself to death. This isn't a tale of a drunken night, this is the condensed saga of the months and years of self-medication with booze that landed me in the hospital in January.

I'm not sure how much I've talked about alcohol here but it's played a big role in all my adventures. For me there's no quicker solution to a depressive episode than the numbness that is readily available in any cheap bottle of vodka. I know, I know, alcohol is a depressive. I know it's the last thing a person with depression issues should turn to. However, it's also a beautiful temporary solution when the valleys get too dark. This isn't to advocate drinking, it's just my reality.

So, I'd been drinking and drinking. Then this and that happened and my pancreas shut down. By the way, this is where I'm going to start glossing over the events. For reasons you'll soon see, I'm not sure what happened to me during the last half of January.

So, I'd been drinking and drinking and I started getting sick. First it was vomit and lots of it. Then it was black vomit, which means I was bleeding internally. My wife forced me to go to the ER which tuned out to be the beginning of a nearly two week stay in the hospital. The nurses and docs took a look at me and declared I was staying. They put drugs and hoses in me then started asking questions. In my state my usual filters were down and I mentioned something that I soon regretted.

This is one of the things I'm sure of. I told them about my woman who isn't there. This is my joking way of referring to a very real thing that's been happening to me for years. It comes from the poem that mentions the man who isn't there that the poet keeps meeting on the stair. My woman who isn't there appears to me by peaking around the corner or doorway of wherever I am. She smiles at me and then is gone. It's never dramatic and never frightens me. I should mention that I don't believe in ghosts although I do think about them a lot. I think it's just my imagination that delivers this odd little haunting three or four times a year.

So, I mentioned her and they jumped on it. It's almost like I was feeding a need they deeply craved. A drunk with failing internal organs and hallucinations?! They were ecstatic! At least that's how it seemed to me. They peppered me with questions while I tried to downplay it. No luck. They had they teeth in my damaged psyche and they weren't about to let go of that morsel.

The next few days are a complete blank and the rest of my time there was spent in a crazy hallucination filled fog. From what I've been able to piece together they tackled the pancreas problem first, as that was an immediately life threatening problem. After that was resolved they tackled the mental stuff. They pumped me full of brain drugs that were supposed to help me stop seeing things. Instead I was tripping my eyes out and seeing people and monsters everywhere.

To add to the fun, I developed c-dif during my incarceration so I had to be quarantined.

I swear, I'm trying to tell this quickly.

My memory returns gradually from those first few days during which I didn't exist. It's full of confusing visitations by fantastic monsters, nurses, and impossible-that-they-would-actually-be-there people from my recent past. It's really hard for me to admit that last bit because the visits from those people seemed so real. Maybe I'll expand on this in a future post.

Soon I got enough of my brain back that I began to realize what the game was. More than anything, I wanted to go home where I could rest and there would be no one forcing me to take those mind scramble drugs. In order to get signed out, I had to act sane. Otherwise they were talking about transferring me to a more permanent situation. I don't remember what they called it but I was definitely picturing One Flew Over scenes when they discussed it. Time and my attendees' patience were working against me.

Once or twice a day the doctor who would ultimately make the judgement call against me appeared before me. While the monsters and phantoms danced behind him I would answer his questions. The month was January. The president was Trump. The state I was in was Missouri and I as in a hospital. I got to where I could recite the answers to his questions correctly and in order before he asked them. Finally he would ask if I'd seen any hallucinations recently and I would soberly say no. I was always careful not to oversell it nor giggle along with the creatures of my mind that were laughing hysterically at my lies just behind him.

I guess I was eventually no more fun for the staff and they finally signed off on my release. It had been 13 days, but it felt like the only reality I'd ever known. In fact, for several days after returning home I wasn't sure that I was actually there and not just dreaming in my hospital bed.

I'll stop there. You're a hero for having read this far. I have plenty more to tell you about this event and my - hopefully - recovery. There's my relationship with my wife which changed in a lot of ways as a result of all this nonsense. There's my perception of healthcare and my time there. There's alcohol. There's drugs. And on and on. Plus, more gardening as it progresses.

Keep fighting the good fight, sisters and brothers. We may never achieve pure happiness, but isn't there fulfillment in the pursuit? Well, I least I hope there is. I wouldn't know what else to do.

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