It’s with a general heaviness, random panting, irregular heartbeats, in and out of focused vision, an incredibly determined migraine, and somewhere around 2-3% energy that I write todays post; pale faced and slow moving. I said I’d write good bad or ugly, so here’s sticking to goals. I’m sitting up in bed, with the computer propped up on a pillow and pill wrappers and bottles skewed about the room. If you didn’t know any better, it’d be anyones guess what’s wrong with me. Aids? Cancer? Recreational Pill User? I don’t even say the name anymore when people ask. “I have health problems.” It’s surprising that people don’t follow up after you spill that general type of information. They usually nod and that’s the end of that.
Poor Monty. I always feel bad for him on days like today. It’s beautiful here. Sunny, cloudless. I hear the neighbors who are sitting out on their docked boat- they must have an awesomely hilarious guest over today because they keep erupting in this uproar of laughter and somehow, it helps. I like hearing it, even though it doesn’t involve me. Monty is wondering why we are indoors when the weather is what it is. And yet somehow he knows. He doesn’t insistently paw at me and make the whiny strange sounds of a dog trying to speak a humans language in an attempt to get me outside. He sees the signs and lays down next to the bed. I left the door open so he can come in and out as he desires but he stays in here next to me. What a friend.
As usual, I try to connect the dots. This is the fourth migraine this week and my medicine is running dangerously low. Insurance only pays for 9 tabs a month of Frova, (it’s a new one I’m trying) and I used up all the maxalt already. I ask the pharmacist how much 9 tabs of Frova is out of pocket and she clicks away on the keys and I wait for the damage. “Two hundred and thirty dollars,” she finally gets out. I laugh and she, sympathetically, laughs too. “Sorry.” “It’s OK.” But we both know it’s not really OK. It’s strange that a company decides how much medicine they’ll cover for you in a month, almost arbitrarily. It’s strange that someone who needs the benefits of insurance the most is often denied. Strange that the cost of healthcare under an insurance policy is of an affordable, negotiated rate and yet if you aren’t covered those rates are 200% more. That’s one way of saying it. Strange. I count my three remaining pills and send a prayer to the universe to let up on these train wrecks of migraines I’m getting. Most likely, I’ll have to dig in out of pocket again and feel that scary, hopelessness of watching my parents savings go to pills. I cringe when I think how much of it has already gone to medical expenses. Too much.
But there’s no sense in fearing it, in having anxiety over it. It’s our livelihood we’re talking about. “What’s the alternative?” my mom asked as we were going over finances before my visit to the CFS clinic in Miami last year. “Sit around and suffer endlessly while holding onto our savings?” The truth is, we’ve been rich and we’ve been poor. We, like so many families, have felt the sting of the placid economy in the last two years. My mom and I are unable to work, so my step-dad has been the only one bringing in income. And his workload has been lower than he’d like, but you do what you can. Today, we’ve got a roof over our heads, food on the table, and we have our damned pills. So no stressing about when the money runs out. My dad told my mom never to worry about this sort of thing. That she and the kids would always be provided for. And so far, he’s been right.
I know this sounds like a sob story of a post, and I don’t want it to be confused with a cry for help or plea for sympathy. It simply is the reality of this illness and day-to-day life. There are so many people out there who don’t have a parent’s couch to crash on, who don’t have their parents to pay for medical needs, and are forced to work fulltime–through the pain, exhaustion, and ache of this, and most of the time it’s silently, because no one really gets it. Telling your boss or co-workers you have “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” doesn’t seem to go very far. Many times it worsens the pain from the sting of not being believed. When I told the owner of the gallery what I had, he suggested yoga, and I contemplated shooting myself. But once again, my point, is that you don’t have to be believed. Don’t make that your cause. They will or they won’t believe you. Only you can know what your battle consists of, and we live among so many who are fighting quiet battles of their own. We aren’t the only ones; far from it. You can only do you, and you can only do today. All I can tell you, like my mom tells me, is that there is so much research going on right now–More than there ever has been, and there is this tangible feeling of hope that comes to me at night sometimes that there is an end in sight. We will get there. So hang on.
Probably the rest of today will be like spent like this, in bed. Luckily I’m reading an incredibly good book (Freedom by Jonathan Franzen; if you’re couch or bed bound these days, or simply looking for a great read, I highly recommend it.) so I’ll have that to carry me. My migraine has finally subsided enough to where I should be able to read sentences and actually comprehend thoughts without wanting to vomit. His writing is incredible. It’s more than just a wonderfully told story, it feels like a literary education in itself. I underline all the words I don’t know in blue. I’m in love. Anyway, it’s time to rest some more. Which will be followed by more resting. And then possibly I’ll conjure up some energy and brush my teeth! May even get dressed! If I’m feeling really adventurous, I may even braid my hair! Nah, who am I kidding. I’m just going to read.
Health, Happiness, Bed Bound.