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.




4 comments:

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.
Erin

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.
xo

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