I had been working on the spine of this website–the sections on Surgery, Retirement, and Withdrawal–when I realized, in the middle of the section on withdrawal that I don’t have a story with a happy ending or, even at this point, with any ending at all. So I just pooped out. Narrative-wise. I am in the “middle” of withdrawal, though I don’t even know that for sure. So, to repeat myself, I just pooped out. I just didn’t know where to go from here.
Purely accidentally, a week or so ago, I read a review article of a Sick: A Memoir by Porochista Khakpour. The reviewer remarked that the traditional narrative of a memoir about sickness went something like: a) the person was in perfect health, and b) the person gets a mysterious disease and has a horrible time with doctors and medicine more generally (and, of course, with the disease itself) and c) miracle of miracle the person gets well somehow. Ms. Khakpour’s narrative didn’t go like that. First she admits she had been sick a long time before the illness she thinks she has, Lyme disease, developed, and then she has a terrible time with doctors, partly because she is a woman, and when women have a disease doctors can’t figure out, they tend to think it is all in the woman’s head, and then she isn’t better at the time she wrote the memoir. So the reviewer says, there’s a lot of ambiguity.
Ditto. I want to say. Same here. Of course, the parallels are not exact. I am not a woman, for example, so I can’t claim to have been misdiagnosed because of unconscious or quite conscious gender-bias. In fact, I have not been diagnosed at all. Indeed my disease may be far more mysterious than hers, since I have diagnosed it myself as “benzo suffering.” So it might well be in my head. And I also, freely admit, that I was not well before this disease, since I took the medications that created this disease, to ease my psychological troubles.
So I too have a lot of ambiguity. And I don’t have the faintest idea, narrative-wise, about how to resolve it. So I gave up with the narrative, and decided to create a blog where I might occasionally write up-dates on the progress of my misery and offer speculations and reflections on whatever the heck is going on.
Oh, I bouught Ms. Khakapour’s book. It’s now on my Kindle.