Saturday, September 14, 2013

The patient compartment

A compartment of the desirable sort, luxury sleeper car accommodation.
What compartmentalization really looks like.
On Monday I posted about invisible illness.  What I'd thought and what I'd written stayed with me.  There was more I could have said and chose to leave it as it was.  My mind was in a not-too-small compartment of self as object and observer.  It only took a call from my health care plan to let me know the nurse practitioner would be out the next day to check on me and that compartment became pinched and narrow. I went into patient mode.  The good part is that by Tuesday I knew I was creating the compartment.

Living as a whole and integrated human seems like asking an awful lot of an ordinary person, especially one given to twitchings, one whose ancient spontaneity, if I ever had any, had lost all elasticity, one for whom panic mode hovers like an urban helicopter on a Saturday night, only more stealthily.  The me who made the domestic and personal preparations for the nurse's visit did not, at least for a span of some 12 to 16 hours,  recall having been or even meeting the me who wrote or drew or watched samurai movies, who once walked 3 miles each morning before work, who read bedtime stories using a different voice for each character, who was able to leave her apartment building at will.

I was not unwell, not in pain except when walking and exercising and even then it was far from unbearable but all the same I shrank the essence of myself down to a one-dimensional, one-word shadow creature.  This is who I chose to represent me for the coming encounter.  The Patient.  Or maybe not.  Having whittled down all non-medical portions of my personality or resume, being left with the quantifiable essentials such as blood pressure and the results of cholesterol testing, I had trouble accepting how fractionalized I let myself become at the thought of the White Coat.   So as we addressed the business at hand, I spoke about Invisible Illness Awareness Week, about writing a post to connect with it, about thoughts from that post, about my own and observed others' invisible illness and how there seemed to be a connection to childhood abuse and trauma.  I spoke from beyond the acceptable boundaries of the patient.  Since I often feel, when I am fully myself, that I am talking in tongues (and this seems to be the week to own that) I didn't feel I was risking too much if I seemed odd and inappropriate.  From words found either Monday or that morning, "Don't be delicate.  Be vast and brilliant," I figured vast and peculiar would be an improvement on delicately well behaved.  I wave my arms and hands when I talk as my whole self, I'm sure my eyes take on an off-putting gleam, I become zealous.  I find zeal hard to muster when only part of me is present.

The meeting went well.  Either she is a brave and unflapable young woman or I did not frighten her unduly.  Within me there are so many more walls to scale or pull down, compartments to identify, doors to open.  To be continued.


Erin in Morro Bay said...

Luckily you are a woman of many compartments, the invisible illness being just one. All best wishes and thoughts with you on a daily basis.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Erin - Thank you so much for daily thoughts and wishes. They make such a positive difference. If all the compartments could become friends or at least acquaintances. We continue to strive. xo

Patti said...

Beyond brilliant - I love it. You are inspiring.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Patti - Thank you. I assumed, what nerve, that some out there would know what I was attempting to say. How fortunate we are in this world of mutual support and inspiration. xo