Tag Archives: doctors

“Brain on Fire”

The past couple weeks have been a mess.

I’ve been in the hospital (ER and admitted) twice now in a week.  This inexplicable hypertension coupled with untameable vomiting and nausea is getting worse.

Recently I picked up the book “Brain on Fire” by Susannah Cahalan.  It’s a non-fiction account of a woman’s strange experiences trying to get her unusual medical condition diagnosed.

Brain on Fire

I’m about halfway through it and it’s causing me some concern.  Now, I don’t think I have what Ms. Cahalan has.  I’m not that crazy.  But if her inexplicable seizures were replaced with my random hypertension spikes, we would have a similar illness.  Her mental-health related symptoms are slightly different, but only in how they manifest.

I wish I had access to such doctors as she did.

The most I can be thankful for is having a mother that is just as much of a warrior for me as Ms. Cahalan’s mother was for her.  I am most thankful for that.

I am however, enraged with doctors, depressed by the hopelessness of my condition seeming to be un-prognosis-able (I made a word- deal with it), and just tired.  So very tired.  The additional meds they’ve put me on just have awful side effects on top of the actual effects of my body trying to fight this mysterious condition.

So far I have the following:
-hypertension (scary-high blood pressure) that does not always respond to meds (it seems to fluctuate at random and not really in relation to what I am taking/prescribed)
-crippling migraines (they usually happen during the BP spikes)
-random bouts of nausea/vomiting that is so bad I spend hours in the bathroom
-bursts of tingling/numbness in varying extremities or somewhere on head/scalp that lasts for hours
-dizziness and lightheadness frequently throughout the day (and not necessary when the BP is at it’s highest)
-extreme insomnia
-low to nonexistence appetite (this may technically be a mental-health symptom due to my ED, but I’m not sure)
-verrrrrry slow healing and bad scarring from the simplest cuts or scratches (my mother insists this is part of my symptoms)
-constantly low potassium (even if I try to take supplements, arrange my diet to try and get extra)

And that’s not even counting any of the mental-health symptoms; which if I read into the interesting case in this book, can be coupled with physical symptoms to form a diagnosis.

I haven’t gotten far enough in the book to read about Ms. Cahalan’s actual diagnosis, but I have read articles on this case in the past.  It ends up being some lesser known autoimmune disorder.  My mother still thinks this is what I have.  I did have some blood tests show my ANA as positive (which I’m led to believe is some sort of indicator of an autoimmune problem).  But further tests were all inconclusive.

Anyway, I’m struggling.  I’m struggling a lot.  I’m feeling very lost and hopeless with these walls that keep getting thrown up regarding my health.  Even when I try to work with a plan or a doctor, it doesn’t help or another roadblock is placed in my way.

I’m wondering if perhaps it isn’t really all worth.   I wouldn’t say I’m suicidal, per se, just…tired and hopeless.  I wouldn’t say no to an “off” switch, but I don’t have the energy to create that switch on my own.

Obviously with the constant pressures of 200/150, my body is doing it for me anyway.


I officially have valid health insurance as of Friday. 

I just got the cards in the mail.  It’s so strange to have glossy nice looking cards with my name on them.  I’ve mostly been on a parent’s plan before this.  Or I had an HSA (health savings account), which works a bit differently.

Anyway, my point in this post is I’m debating on whether to talk more in depth to my doctor about my recent mental-health struggles.

She’s slightly aware of them and has prescribed me stuff in the past when I’ve been bad.  I think I may be tilting towards bad again.  But I think meds might not necessarily be the right course this time.

I’m actually debating on that whole psychology/therapist route. 

Which is terrifying.  But I don’t think I can keep living like this.  I think with my GP behind me, a rare medical person I trust, I may be able to actually track down someone who could work for me.

I just don’t think I can keep going with the ED picking and cackling at me, the disassociation rearing up, and the depression moaning in the background.

I want help.  I just don’t want shitty back-sliding help like last time.

I’m also terrified that someone I know will find out and I’ll be judged.

I’m thinking of talking to Texas about it tomorrow night.  I’m supposed to drive her to get another tattoo (her, not me).

I just don’t know what to do.

But I know I can’t keep doing what I’m doing now and live.

Doctors again are completely dumb


Things have gone down shit creek again.  Wait.  Or is it up?  I can never remember which.  Anyway, they suck.  A lot.

I’ve been feeling like complete trash again.  And this time the nausea, dizziness, vertigo, and exhaustion is so bad that my mother had to drive me to work today because I wasn’t sure I could drive a car…
She wanted me to call in (and take me to the ER), but I can’t miss any work this week because my co-worker is on vacation and there’s no one else in the office who can do our jobs.  So she’s grumpy with me.

My reading was 197/154 on Monday evening.  It’s crept down slightly to 181/136 this morning.  I have many of the stupid symptoms I had before I landed in the ER the last two times:
1. Nausea (and vomiting occasionally)
2. Dizziness and vertigo when I stand up or walk too fast.  Or turn my head too fast.  Or think about spoons.  Jk on the spoons.  Probably.
3. Body feels like I’ve been beaten up.  Inside and out.  Very very sore for no reason.
4. Food and drink all tastes weird. Including water.
5. I’m exhausted. All the time.

So I called my GP and went over a couple blood test results I snagged from my (former) kidney doctor and from when I was hospitalized.

We’re thinking it’s an auto immune disorder, due to my positive ANA results on both tests.

Guess what one of the possibilities is?

Obviously we aren’t saying it’s Lupus right now.  There are some other possibilities.  But it means having to go see a goddamn specialist again.

Hopefully they won’t be as dumb as that kidney doctor….

From nataliedee.com

That Night – another Claire scribble

Another memoir-like story Claire composed a couple years ago.  This one is about the night we took too many sleeping pills.

She was wearing her nightclothes. Well, if an oversized bright green t-shirt and red boxers could it could be called that. A huge smiley face stared up at her from the t-shirt. She could barely make out the embroidered writing coiled around the smiley.

“Turn that frown upside down”.

She blinked. It seemed almost a cruel trick with how she’d been feeling lately. She looked up to inspect the room she was in. It was tiny. She was laying on what seemed to be a step up from a hospital gurney- not quite a full hospital bed. A couple monitors sat behind her. To her right was a tall narrow table.

Was she in a hospital? She racked her memory but couldn’t find anything. The last thing she remembered was….

She shuddered. The last thing she remembered was that she had to make the pain go away. She just wanted to sleep. And not wake up to her arch-nemesis: Life.

How did she end up here? She lived alone. It didn’t make sense.

“Hi there.” said a calm voice. She looked at the doorway to see a woman in scrubs- she assumed a nurse- standing with a bundle in her arms. “We’re going to need you to put this gown on and put your clothes into this plastic bag.”

Kit squeezed her eyes again. Her head felt sluggish and stuffed with cotton. She forced it to process.

“What…about underwear?” She murmured. The nurse nodded sympathetically.

“You can leave your underwear on. Not your bra though sweetie.” She set the bundle down.

Kit blushed. She could tell she wasn’t wearing one anyway. But that wasn’t unusual. She didn’t wear them to bed.

“I’ll be back in a couple minutes after you’ve finished changing.” She closed the door behind her with a loud click.

Kit quickly discovered the sluggish feeling extended to her body too as she tried to maneuver to get her shirt off and put the gown on. It took her a couple tries to manage it.

Was she drunk? She didn’t think so. After the mess two weeks ago she had decided to not touch liquor for awhile.

Sleep sounded good right now. She put her shirt in the bag and then dragged herself back onto the gurney-bed and curled up into a tiny ball. Just sleep.

“Miss?” said a voice as someone touched her shoulder firmly. “Wake up.”

She jumped up suddenly and for a flash, someone else surfaced, hands curling into fists. The nurse pulled back, startled. “It’s okay sweetie, you’re in the hospital. Do you remember how you got here?” She held a clipboard and pen poised to write. Kit took a breath and steadied herself, staring blankly at the nurse.

“Got here…?” She paused, looking around. As if something in here would jog her memory. “I remember I was so tired. I just wanted to sleep. I haven’t been able to sleep for days.” She intoned. Lines from a well-rehearsed play. The nurse tilted her head and pursed her lips. She didn’t seem to be buying it.

“Have you been sad lately?”

“No.” Kit answered. Honestly. The nurse nodded.

“What about…feeling like you don’t really want to do anything?”

She hesitated at that one. The nurse read the expression and continued, “Perhaps you just like to stay around your house not doing much?”

“I don’t have….much of a social life.” Kit replied, a bit defensively.

“Why’s that?” The nurse asked.

“Things…changed. I…broke up recently with someone. I lost my job. And my house is being foreclosed on. It’s been hard.” She sighed and drew her knees up to her chest. “And now I can’t sleep.”

“I see. Did you take some pills tonight? To help you sleep?” She prodded gently. Kit reached up and pushed back some of the thick honey-red mane that was falling into her eyes.

“Yeah.” She admitted. Somehow the mask didn’t work here. She was finding it hard to lie. Was it the location or her sleepiness? The pills?

“Do you know how many? And what kind?”

“I think they were Tylenol PM. Maybe some phenergen.  I don’t know how many. I just poured a bunch into my palm…” She held up her palm to her face and inspected it as if to figure out the amount it could be. “Maybe ten?”

“Okay.” The nurse said, writing something on the clipboard.

“How did I get here?” Kit asked. The nurse smiled lightly.

“A nice police officer brought you in.” She murmured, writing some more information down.  Kit wondered who contacted the police.  She felt a tingle in the recesses of her mind.  A snarky remark about ‘rescuing her from her own stupidity’. But the voice was quickly silenced by the pile of cotton filling her head.

“No one knows I’m here…” she whispered pitifully. The nurse didn’t reply, writing more on her clipboard.

Of course…that wasn’t entirely true...

Soon, the worse night of Kit’s life started to draw to a close.

This was after she’d been told to drink three glasses of charcoal. She vomited up two glasses. They told her if she couldn’t keep the third down, they’d have to pump her stomach. That started another sluggish flurry of activity in her head.

She snuck past the nurses’ station to the bathroom poured it down the toilet.  Then sweetly told the nurses she’d drank it.

There were endless questions.

Where she was living? A slum neighborhood.
“Old house on Kurtz.”

Who she was living with? Just the voices.
“No one.”

Had she’d seen the doctor recently for how she’d been feeling? Of course not. Doctors are the followers of Satan.

Did she hear voices? That was a tough one. But admitting to it usually led to more doctors…

She was left alone for over an hour. She lay curled, drifting in and out of a hellish nightmare of her life the past couple weeks. When she woke up, she realized she was still in the nightmare.

A nurse came with a wheel chair.

Kit stared at it. There was nothing wrong with her legs.

“We’re going to take you upstairs and admit you to the psych ward. You’re going to stay there for a little while.”

“I want to go home…” Kit murmured.  Distantly, others started wailing in fear of staying further in the hospital.  The pills still preventing Kit from entirely hearing.

“Well, we can’t let you go until we know the drugs haven’t hurt you, and we need to keep you up there for now. Okay?” She motioned to the wheelchair. Kit blinked owlishly at it.

“There’s nothing wrong with my legs.”

“It’s procedure.” The nurse said soothingly. Kit sighed and slipped into the chair, resigned.

It was a short trip upstairs. Kit felt another wave of exhaustion as the drugs took hold of her again. She fought to keep her eyelids raised.

They stopped at a set of metal double doors. She felt something being put into her hands and looked up to see the nurse pushing a clipboard into her hands.

“I need you to sign this sweetie.”

“What is it?” Kit asked. The nurse smiled. It was snake-like and familiar. Kit tried not to physically recoil, even as she mentally scuttled back.

“Just an agreement. It’s for your own protection.” She appeased. It seemed reasonable.  And yet…Kit fought to put a skeptical look onto her face. It was hard.  The voices caterwauled in protest.  Kit put a hand to her head, feeling the beginnings of a migraine.

“You can leave as soon as we see the drugs have worked safely through your system.” The nurse compromised. Kit saw the lie, as usual (when advised by the voices). And as usual, she let it wash over her and picked up the offered pen. Signed her name above the bold block line.

She was wheeled behind the double doors.

Tribute to Charlotte

Armes requested that we all do a sort of tribute to Charlotte to try and help her.  Some of us don’t feel like saying much, still a bit too shocked and wounded by the whole situation, but we’ll do our best.

i like how she always take over the body if someone or something scared me. she doesn’t always get along with the others, but she’s always nice to me.
i don’t like how her dreams are bad sometimes. she dreams about people doing hurting things and taking her clothes off, but in the dream she liked it. she refuses to tell me about it and always says she’s sorry her dreams upset me.
she watches disney movies with me too, though she doesn’t like other people to know that. she said she didn’t want anyone to think she had a “romantick side”.
she sneakes me strawberry ice cream or milkshakes if she’s out.


I hate how she fucking flirts with almost anyone who has a penis.  I hate that she usually manages to make that work for her.  I hate that she almost never listens to my advice on whether people are trustworthy.
I like that she did listen with Stalker, even though she flirted with him past the point she should have for our safety. She was really regretful about that though. I like that she handles any sexual encounters that upset the others, even if it isn’t the “type” of sex she’s “into”.  She still understands her job, unlike most.
I hate her cravings that work their way into the system and body.
I like that she takes care of it herself most of the time.


I love how she’ll usually split her cigs with me, even if they are sometimes those disgusting Parliaments. I love how she praises my baking to high heaven, even if she pretends to bitch about the calories making it “harder to flirt”.
I hate how she rips on my music, but then I catch her humming the tunes sometimes.
I hate how she twisted the BDSM lessons we learned from our exes into something pleasurable for her. I like how she doesn’t let anyone else drag us into sex games anymore. I love how she’ll talk to people at a doctor’s office when I can’t contain my fear enough.  I hate how we both can’t handle hospitals.
I love that she’ll look the other way when I swallow a couple extra pills and help me slip some baking supplies into the cart during the next shopping trip.
I hate what Daria did to her.


I like that she knew better than to smoke around family (besides Grey).   I hate how she jokes that Claire and I are “practically the same”. I love that she can always tell us apart, even with her eyes closed.
I love that she’s sweet with Armes.  I love when she lets us all share snuggles with Zoe, even if it’s her rightful time out.
I hate that she doesn’t realize she’s stronger than this.


I hate that she thinks she isn’t worth anything unless a man wants her.  I hate that she loves it even more when it’s more than one man. I hate it so much that she decided it was better to shove away someone who was so good for us because of rumors of another man’s sexual prowess.
I love that she made herself not do that this year. She said it was just for me, but I know she really was realizing her deep-down morals. I love that she let herself feel attraction, even without sex for weeks.  I hate that I felt a little jealous of Saturday night, even though it was my own stupid fear that made her take over. I love that she didn’t turn in into some kind of depraved type of sex…
I love and hate that she mourned so much for Audrey and the loss of the pregnancy, even though she refused to be around “the grossly pregnant body”.
I hate that she tried to be some sort of stupid hero last night and I hate that it made her so scared.  I hate that it scares me so much to see her so scared.  She’s always been mostly fearless, like Rika.
Please don’t be like Audrey. You’re so much stronger than her. We need you so much.

Doctor Update

Realized there are some of you wondering about the low-down on the whole doctor bugging the shit outta us thing.  There’s some other shit that went down this weekend that others will probably fucking write about, but for now I get the lovely fucking job of telling you what a dumbshit Dr. Ken-Dumbshit is.

We called his office back on Friday and the secretary was like “We’re just checking on you and wanting to record some of your recent readings.”

Jesus. For this they left us four vague-as-fuck messages whipping us into a frothy frenzy of fear, anxiety, annoyance, and anger (yeah, that was mostly me).

So we were honest about how the “new” med (that he prescribed about 4 weeks ago) isn’t doing jack-shit and our readings are still in the range of 180/120, if not higher.  She’s says we need to speak directly with Dr. Ken-Dumbshit on Monday.

He calls this morning.  I don’t want to fucking handle it as cussing up a storm while threatening his precious bits probably isn’t a good way to speak to a doctor.
Middi decides to take it (being at Charlotte is unavailable for other reasons- more on that later). He starts spouting out nonsense about more fucking pills and more goddamn tests (that are the same ones we’ve already done, he’s just hoping for “clearer results”).  Middi politely (way too politely in my goddamn opinion) informs him that we are NOT MADE OF MONEY.
She also slips in a hilarious comment about him basically going at our hypertension like a witch doctor who has NO GODDAMN CLUE. He’s annoyed of course, but we’re all laughing our asses off in here on the balcony.

Then he launches into some scare tactics, saying if we don’t listen to him and follow his instructions, we will die of this.  That is quickly followed by a firm lecture about all the “special” shit he’s doing for us that has Middi skeedaddling (he sounds like our Father with that lecturing shame-inducing tone) and some vague fragment is instantly out that is softly agreeing to everything he says, robot-style.

The shame-fragment hangs up and disappears, and an auto-pilot gets us towards the car, Claire briefly takes over in order to explain to our passenger that doctors suck, and then auto-pilot gets us to work with an extra half-hour to spare.

It is used for us to have a complete shit-fit, before Serefina and myself get completely tired and fed-up with the others’ self-loathing and rapid cycling and drag the body into work.

Not to mention hog-fucking-tying Victoria because good-goddamn-god we soooo don’t need more of her bullshit on our body today.  Already still recovering from last night.

So the short of it is: Doctors are assholes.

Good vs. Bad

(warning: some triggering talk of self-harm, a miscarriage, and sex)

A simple comparison of all our voluntary relationships…


We’ve known him since middle school and he’s always been vocal about his crush on us.  We ignore it for the longest time.  Then all our friends start dating and we feel the pressure of that peer pressure.  We cave and agree to “go out” with him.  Of course, so early in life, this merely means holding hands in the hallways (his are always clammy) and occasional sloppy kissing sessions (he uses way too much tongue).  He’s extremely socially awkward and not much to look at, but it feels nice to not be one of the single ones.  He makes us laugh and over the summer he writes us long heartfelt letters.  We are charmed, though far from infatuated.
It still hurts like hell when he dumps us.
We remain tentative friends, due in part to having a lot of mutual friends and in part to the fact that we don’t care about him enough to be wounded and shy away.


He is in a class with Germany and us.  He sends us flirty glances and soft smiles.  He finds out we are Pagan and explains that he’s been drawn to that and wants to learn.  He writes us the dorkiest poetry on the face of the planet, but we smile and keep them in our locker anyways.  We like feeling adored.  When we cave this second time, his hands are dry and firm, his kisses electric.
Eventually the electricity burns as he pushes further.  Red flags go up and we retreat for two long years.
Then he finds us again and tricks us with talks of fate and pining desperately for us (our body).  We are tired of being single.
And we miss those electric kisses.
The second time he pushes harder and we have no choice but to allow the electricity inside.  It claws it’s way through scratching nails and sharp teeth.  He talks about claiming and branding.  He says we belong to him.
He breaks our heart when he leaves us for one of our best friends.  We realize how undesirable we are and start making sure no one will touch us again.  The razors are a sweet escape and our stomach eventually stops expecting food.
When we see him again months later, the electricity is completely gone.  But not the scars.


She’s been our friend for a couple years and though we know she is bisexual, we think nothing of it.  We are broken and weary from our last relationship, but every morning we paste that mask on tightly and step out into the world.
She sees right through that mask.  She drags us to her house after school and convinces us to eat enough to not starve.  We decide to go to the Turnabout dance to forget and she accompanies us (she has to film it for Media anyway).  We invite her to spend the night after.
When Charlotte makes a move on her, it doesn’t take her much time at all to smile and go along with us.  She says she has been waiting.  We’ve heard the fate line before, but she floors us with the line of knowing there are “others”.  She delves into our psyche and tears us open and we like it (at first).
She sinks her claws in deep and the relationship becomes one of codependency in no time at all.  For a good while there is a good amount of give and take. The sex is dark and rough, but Charlotte takes what she can gets.
It is perfect.  But she had a white knight syndrome and soon she thinks she has fixed us enough.
She finds another wounded bird to rescue.
It turns our world upside down.  We beg, beg, beg.  We swear we can be exactly what she wants, what she needs.  She is deaf.
We are living alone for the first time in our lives when she leaves us.  The house is monstrous.  It feels like a tomb.  We think perhaps that is best.
The pills go down easily and the slashing is even easier when we are high as a kite.  Then the switching and paranoia becomes too much and we hide the basement from those who will find us and take us away.  We battle our fear and triggers as it becomes harder and harder to breathe.  Finally one of  us (Rika…) gets fed up and forces the body upstairs and onto the front porch, where she calls an ambulance.
Rika realizes the mistake when we land in the psych ward fighting to keep ourselves semi-sane.
We have to call Her to ask her to check on our dog.  How could we have been so stupid as to leave the poor puppy alone.  When we are released, we go to collect our stuff to move in with Daddy.
She is there, watching TV.  She looks at us.  She sees that we are a horribly broken, wounded bird.  We could not be any be any more broken than this one moment.
She goes back to the TV.
We leave and Rika sends her a nasty text about getting the #$@% out of our house.
She eventually leaves the state.  But not before she spends a good amount of time trash talking us to our friends and calling us all sorts of names (slut).
We have to scrub, scrub, scrub her influence from our mind because every time she calls (too much), she is able to twist our system into knots and turn us against each other.  We cannot scrub that influence.  We cut the tie.


Charlotte takes over for a while after the psych ward and prowls around the dating websites before she discovers someone she wants to meet.  He takes her to a new year’s party where she drinks too much and flirts with his brother.  He doesn’t seem to care as she grinds up against him during a song and kisses him during a match of beer pong.  Over the next couple weeks, Charlotte quickly gets fed up with him as she discovers he’s terrible in bed and doesn’t have a job (even a slut has standards).  She brushes him off.


After thinking we really shouldn’t be dating for awhile due to our issues, we are asked out by a guy we used to go to high school with.
We don’t particularly like him (he’s a supreme asshole), but Charlotte is again peaked due to rumors she’s heard from friends about his sexual prowess.  She is surprised when he is polite during the date and even walks us to our car after the late movie.  A couple days later, she has him in bed with her, as she wanted.  And it’s better than she expected.  She likes that he leaves soon after and insists on “just a casual relationship”.  She can do fuckbuddy well.
She is momentarily distracted from her fun when she is late for a period.  Impossible.  Our body is like clockwork.
When the nausea and constant exhaustion sets in, she flees in terror and doesn’t come out for months.
He feels the need to be responsible even though he (really really really) didn’t want this (and jokes about running to Mexico).  It is horrible to have to tell people.
We lose friends, our health insurance, and our place of residence (Daddy says we’re a badgirl…badgirls can’t live under Daddy’s roof. Or use Daddy’s health insurance. Only ladies.)
We move in with him and the stark reality of his true personality (Asperger’s) and quirks (that is waaaay too many guns for one person to own) comes out.
Then it is awful when we miscarriage.
He goes into his medical mode, which is momentarily helpful, but he does not know what to do when we sink down, down, down and start back with the old habits.  Pills. Cutting. Not eating.  We are harsh in the punishment to ourselves.
He only calls us stupid and says to “cut it out”.
Soon Charlotte is the only one who can stand being around him most of the time and so the constant and wild sex starts up again. It’s ok, he got fixed. No birth control needed. Children are awful he says.
For the first time ever, Roms (not rika) thinks nasty and angry things. She hates him for the way he is relieved about everything we’ve gone through.
And soon, even Charlotte gets fed up with his ways and lack of compassion for most things.  She is disgusted with her formation of a conscience and blames it on being bored and ready to move on.


There aren’t many bad things we can say about this one.
The bad things are all us.  We abuse his trust and compassion and flee every time he tries to get close.  Charlotte tries to turn him far away by taking up with his friend.  She feels no sense of triumph when he does distant himself for awhile.
There are temporary things about his situation that annoy some of us.  He seems to be a bit further behind the life stages than us, but perhaps that is something that is needed now.
The kisses are electric for the first time in a long time.  Charlotte toes the line, but surprises all of us by pulling back before going too far.  There is an ability to banter without turning to insults that we love.  And for the first time, we voluntarily surrender the information about our mental state.  It is a bit of self-sabotage as we assume he will not want someone so broken.  But he takes it in stride.
We waver, feeling that cliff we are standing so close to.  This one could definitely pull us over.


Last Night

trigger warning: descriptions of being injected with a needle

Things went to total shit last night.  Let’s see if I can tell this in a stream-lined enough way.

First of all, the workshop was successful, in the eyes of my company.  For me, it was too effin’ long and I had to stand the whole time fighting an oncoming migraine.

I cave at one point and down a vicodin.

It doesn’t make a difference. Fantastic- it’s going to be one of those migraines.

I manage to make it home and curl up on the couch for a brief pity-party before Army comes back from visiting some douche.  He glances at me.

“Hey, I gotta cook up the steaks in the fridge tonight before they turn.  You want one?”

Army is a steak connoisseur. I am spoiled by the steaks he purchases. I adore steaks.  And the combination of animal fat and protein usually makes my migraine reduce. Weird, I know. Probably related to the eating disorder I struggle with.

“Sure.” I murmur.  He flips on “The Walking Dead” on Netflix and I stare at the screen, not really hearing or seeing. At some point, a plate of gorgeous thick steak is placed in front of me.

Despite my migraine, I am able to tell he overcooked it. Medium-rare is ridiculously hard for this man. Still, it’s a good enough cut that I can forgive him and down a good portion.

I feel momentarily well enough to take the dogs out for a brief walk.  Then I decide to go to bed.

Migraine turns on full blast.  I am forced to the bathroom a couple times to vomit violently. I lament the loss of such a good steak.  I am moaning and curled in the fetal position, knowing I won’t be able to keep down any pills I take when I remember the new drug my doctor gave me the other day.

An injectable drug.

However, not only can I not manage that myself (waaaay too trigger-y), but I’ve never done it before and I’m in no condition to manage a complicated self-injector applicator thingy.

“Army.” I call towards the living room. He does not hear me due to the volume he has “American Dad” turned up at. I stagger to my feet and stumble into the living room, attempting not to vomit again.  He blinks at me.

“You look like shit.”

“Can you give me that injection of my migraine stuff please?” I ask.  He’s aware of the drug. He’s tried to explain to me how to use it in case he isn’t home when I need it. I tried to tell him the explanation is pointless as no power on Earth could get me to inject my own body with a needle.

“Yeah!” He says, a bit too excitedly. He gets up and follows me back to my bedroom where I direct him on where I hid it. He pulls out the box and quickly opens it up and pulls out the applicator. “It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to even do an Epi, so this’ll be good practice.” He says.

“What??” I say, starting to get nervous.  He chuckles and just grabs my leg, arranging my thigh between his so if I flinch (he knows me well), he can hold me firm.

I look away.

“You’ll feel a prick.” He says. I tense. Suddenly, I feel a poke on my thigh. I yelp. I hear him sigh, “It didn’t engage. Hold on, gotta do it again.” He does.


Hurts more than the stupid lab techs at hospitals who attempt to draw blood from me.  Distantly I hear him counting to ten as a flurry of activity goes on in our head.

He removes it.

“Hey. Hold your hand here.” He grabs my hand and presses it to the prick site.  I feel something warm and sticky. Glancing down, I see blood.

“Am I supposed to bleed that much?” I murmur distantly.

“You have hypertension, remember? You’re a bleeder. It’s okay. It’ll stop in a second.” He says calmly while putting the needle safely back in the box.

Suddenly everything goes sideways.

My face and ears are burning. I feel tightening in my chest and upper arms. I stare wide-eyed at Army. He tilts his head.

“You okay?”

“I feel weird!” I shout, not really knowing I’m shouting.

“Shh. I’m right here. How weird? Describe the weirdness.” He coaxes, pulling out the paper that came with the drug and looking at the side effects. “Is it your throat? Are you having trouble breathing?”

“What?!” I shout again. My brain is a mix of emotions, alters, and thoughts. It’s like we’re all in a blender. The outside world seems far away.

“Can you breath?” He asks again.

“I think so.” I say, not entirely sure. He stares at me for a second, then looks back at the paper, “Hm. A lot of these indications of a reaction match up with possible side effects. How useless.”

“Am I gonna die?!” I exclaim. I feel like maybe I’m seeing things but I’m not sure if it’s the bleeding of the inside world of my head with the outside world. Army turns into his normal button-pushing asshole self, having no idea that this is entirely NOT the time.

“I dunno. Let me have your tablet, gotta Google something.” He reaches for it and I don’t stop him. “Aren’t you on anti-depressants?” He questions.

“Yes.” I whisper this time.

“Apparently you could have something called serotonin syndrome if you take this drug while also on SSRI or SNRI type anti-depressants. Remind me the name of yours.”

“Amitriptyline.” Midori recites automatically. She is keeper of all drugs we have access to. “What’s serotonin syndrome?? Am I gonna die???” I start rocking back and forth on the bed. I can’t seem to stop. Zoe appears out of nowhere and curls closely to us. Armes appears briefly to stroke her, then flees.

Army doesn’t answer me this time, focused on the screen of my tablet. He glances up at me with his focused “medic expression”.

“Hm. Says the effects of the syndrome are high blood pressure…” I squeak in terror. He igonores me and continues, “Dilated pupils and increased pulse…which you do have. Mental effects include unexplained agitation and mania…”

“WHAT?? I’m gonna die!!!” I scream, rocking even more violently. He clears his throat.

“It’s not usually fatal.”

“Not USUALLY???” I retort. He hands the tablet back and stretches, “You should be fine. I’ll keep an eye on you. I’m gonna go back in the other room.”

How can he be so calm??

But he is. And he goes into the living room. And I start freaking out again.  I’d been texting Jeff throughout the evening, talking about stupid shit, and I text him now, explaining that I feel weird.  He insists we keep texting. That seems to focus me, so I agree.

He keeps trying to calm me down by calling me K—–, the body’s name.  It’s freaking all us out for some reason. Normally we don’t bat an eyelash, after all, it’s the body’s name.

Then the mania finally retreats and we feel extremely drowsy.  I text this to Jeff, thinking it will be obvious that I’ll probably fall asleep shortly.

I’m aware of Army checking on me again before saying he’s going to work. I nod and roll back over.

Then I hear my phone ringing distantly. I groan and move to hit the silence button. Then I go back to sleep.

Suddenly Army’s back over me, shaking me awake. I jerk, staring at him wide-eyed.

“Hey! Are you all right?! Can you focus? Are you really just sleepy or are you having other problems?”

“Lemme sleep. I have work in the morning.” I say and try to turn away. He sighs and mutters an expletive under his breath.

“Look, I have to go to work. And I can’t check my phone most of the time when I’m on shift, so if you feel like you need medical help, don’t call me. Call someone who can drive you to the damn hospital. Understand??” He grabs my shoulder and turns me to face him. “Hey. Got it?”

“Yessir.” I whisper. He rolls his eyes and disappears.

I sleep.

This morning I send an embarrassed text to Jeff apologizing.

I receive an embarrassed apology text in return.
“I’m sorry if I created awkwardness. When I couldn’t get ahold of you, I asked [Army] to check on you. I figured he was just watching Netflix in the other room.” He didn’t realize he was already on his way to work.

It’s whatevs. We were both dumb.

Also, I’m not sure whether the drug was actually effective or it was just the mania and adrenaline, but the migraine disappeared for the night.

Break a Leg

Another beginnings story here by your lovely writing host, Claire.  Been feeling like explaining a bit more of why we don’t deal well with hospitals and Daddy.

mild trigger warning for hospitals and breaking a bone

The body has been involved in theatre since a very young age.

Some people think that’s surprising because we have DID.  It’s actually not at all.  Our system is full of extremely outspoken and theatrical alters.  We don’t have a lot of the social anxiety that many DID systems do.  And we can seamlessly become another person. We’re quite good at that.

Anyway, there’s a common phrase in theatre said to the cast before a show to wish them luck.

“Break a leg”

It’s rather morbid, but such is the tradition of theatre people.  We are a morbid bunch.

In the summer of 2003, we were set up to do this amazing play called “The Little Prince” and we took a break for the holiday of July 4th (Independence day here in the States).

We were staying with Daddy that summer and he had invited his sister’s family to celebrate a special Century of Flight celebration that Ohio was having.
(Dayton, Ohio gets really into the whole Wright Brother’s and First in Flight thing- mostly because it’s all they can brag about…)

Our younger cousin is a bit of a slob.  She leaves her crap EVERYWHERE. That July 4th day was no different.

I believe it was Kit who was out, as she tends to handle family the best.

She trips over our cousin’s suitcase that is sticking out slightly from under the bed.  The trip has Kit falling forward rapidly, and she SLAMS the top of her foot right into the corner of the door frame.  There is a sickening crack.

Kit is gone, replaced by Rika who is cussing up a storm at the pain.

Daddy arrives and is not pleased with Rika’s mouth.  Rika disappears and Roms takes over, who can usually withstand physical pain decently. She trembles.

Daddy says “Suck it up. It’ll be fine. Don’t you dare ruin this family gathering. Act like a lady.”

Roms flees at the cruel words and Midori comes out, immediately resolving to find painkillers.  They have to be OTC, as we are only fifteen years old and not yet diagnosed with the migraines that get us access to narcotics.
She hobbles to the bathroom, shuts the door.  Daddy calls after us, “I expect you to be out within 5 minutes!”

Midori opens the medicine cabinet and finds the bottles of Tylenol, Aspirin, and Ibuprofen.  She downs a couple of each, sucking water from the faucet.  Then she takes a heavy seat on the closed toilet lid and stares at our rapidly swelling foot.

Having accomplished what she set out to do, she gives way to Rika, who cusses a couple more times before Roms gently takes the reins.  Roms sighs and waits a couple more minutes, forcing our mind to think the painkillers are enough for our foot.
Shock finally sets in and we manage to walk back into the living room and go about helping everyone prepare for fireworks that evening.

The fireworks are lovely and Armes manages to peek out briefly to see their dazzling colorful brilliance.  When they are over we struggle to our feet.

And immediately fall down again.  Kit goes far far away as the pain is excruciating and physical pain is one of her greatest triggers.

There is a brief switching frenzy as we have trouble dealing with this level of pain. It is nothing like the secret burning and slashing at our flesh we’ve done.

Someone unnamed who rarely comes out emerges.  This alter has no gender and is entirely mute.  Mute stares up at Daddy who is looking at us silently.  His expression is pondering as he considers the fact that he is surrounded by scores of people, including his own family, and cannot yell at us.  He sighs.

“I broke my arm when I was 12 years old.  It was a lot like this.  Painful, then a period of no pain, then the worse pain imaginable.” He offers.

Mute does not reply.  It is possible Mute does not even understand English.  The only times we’ve heard Mute whisper to itself, it’s been in German.

We are awkwardly put in our youngest cousin’s stroller for the ride back to the car (we are a small 15 and Daddy does not like touching us, even for assistance).  It is not the worse humiliation we’ve experienced.  Mute remains out until we are transferred to Daddy’s car for the trip to the hospital.

Then even Mute isn’t brave enough for a half hour car ride entirely alone with Daddy.

There is again a switching frenzy, and Daddy ignores us, fiddling with the radio.  He assumes it’s the simply the pain that has us so “out of it”, as he mutters.

We arrive at the hospital.

We are there for over 24 hours (it is 4th of July, a holiday celebration of explosives, leading to way too many ER necessary accidents).

We don’t remember much of it.  The combination of a hospital and being alone with Daddy has us triggered so badly that we float in and out of a sort of haze.

The bits we do remember is the initial x-ray taken has hospital doctors sending us to a “walking shoe” clinic, where we’re supposed to just be outfitted with a special kind of shoe that would allow us to go about our day-to-day lives as normally as possible.

The clinic’s doctor takes one look at our x-ray and huffs.

“Those hospital docs are idiots.  You can see here that each of your three fractures are connected to a tendon.  Therefore, my shoe would only exacerbate the fracture, eventually causing further damage as the tendons continue to pull and pull.  You need a full leg cast.”

Back to hospital.

We are outfitted with a cast.  The biggest argument and moment of coherence we experience is when we have to pick out a color for the cast. They’re out of purple, so we go with a powder blue.  The cast is awkward and forces us to hobble.

We return to the Loft Theatre where we’re rehearsing for “The Little Prince”. We get cast as the Fox and our director takes great fun in adding a subplot where the fox has been shot in the leg by a hunter and now walks with a limp.

Ironically, by the time the show opens towards the end of the summer, we’ve gotten so agile with the cast that we have to fake the limp!!

Suddenly off meds

Being suddenly off 8 different meds is not a good thing.

As mentioned a couple times in the pass, we have severe hypertension.
Doctors can’t figure out a real cause for it, and it doesn’t respond well to medication.  Because of the lack of response, we’ve been prescribed 8 separate blood pressure medications to make it barely managable (readings are still 180/125 frequently).

However, due to some financial constraints and a mild disaster with the car that we had to fork over $200 to fix, we ran out of money on Friday.

Our meds were all due for a refill on Friday.

The combined cost of those stupid meds is over $400 (because we have no health insurance), which we certainly can’t pay at the moment.

And now we’ve been off of them for over 72 hours.

It’s migraine, nausea, dizziness, numb hands/feet, and back pain galore.  Not to mention our readings are getting scary.

We don’t want to end up back in the ER or ICU…

And the only possible solution is begging money from Daddy….

But we really really really really don’t want to do that.  That always comes with stipulations that we can’t handle right now.

Then again, we can’t handle not being on the meds.

We don’t know what to do…