Me and Phineas Gage

I came out  yesterday morning to find the driver’s side mirror assemblage had been ripped off my car, obviously by another vehicle. The mirror assembly had been moved out of traffic to behind my car; the mirror and a few stray bits of plastic were still  beside and underneath my car.

No note – though I suspect the garbage company who delivered a large roll-off dumpster next door and had some difficulty getting it in, there’s no way really of knowing.

It was not the best way to start my day. It was just one thing too many.

Here’s the thing – I’ve been a nasty little ball of emotions lately, and what makes it that much worse is that I can’t tell any longer what of these emotions are really mine.

“You can’t tell the difference anymore, you can’t separate it out: the taste of the cigarette, the aftertaste of the inhaler, the nausea, the constant diarrhea, the muscle aches, the mood swings. You can’t tell anymore where you are in all of this; what emotions are yours, which are the drugs; if the you that’s really you is still in charge or not, trapped in this Phineas Gage reality.

It’s a terrible thing, this mucking about one’s mind with chemicals. It is a terrible land that you’re living in.”

And there it is – that’s the reality I’m living in right now. I can’t tell any more what’s “real” in my emotional landscape; what’s a result of the process, the whole enduring of months of being ill, and months to come, and all that engenders; what’s a result of the chemicals mucking my mind about – o, let’s hear it for loss of executive function!

Being ill is isolating, and scary, and depressing, and painful, and it just goes on and on. Everything is more intense – physically and emotionally, all the nerves scraped raw. After the last chemo, I had a blinding headache that lasted for days, the kind where the flickering of the light hurts, every sound pierces, every one of the five senses hyperacute and stretched to the breaking point.

Raw. And immensely fatigued.

Emotionally, it’s much the same. Only more so.

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