THIS IS A TWO PART SERIES OF RERUNS FROM MY VERY FIRST BLOG POSTS. GIVEN THE TWEETCHAT THIS PAST MONDAY WHICH WAS ALL ABOUT CHEMOBRAIN, THEY FIT. PART 2 WILL AIR TOMORROW......FROM LAST AUGUST.......
I WISH I could provide a simple explanation of the Oh So Subtle things that happen in my brain. And, I wish that the explanation would just be accepted. C’mon people, you know me. You know I’m not the lying type so if I tell you it’s different, can you cut me some slack here and just go with it. Even if you don’t believe me, can you play along? Humor me just because it’s the right thing to do!
Months ago I was engaged in a conversation with a friend. I was trying to understand the concept of addiction(s) as a disease. I had just learned he was a recovering alcoholic, twenty years sober. He used a great analogy.
I can have a drink or five. I can have a run of a few consecutive nights of drinking. And then, a month will go by and I won’t drink a single thing containing a drop of alcohol. If I’m in a restaurant and we are ready to leave, I can walk away without so much as a glance toward my unfinished cocktail. He was painting this picture for me, about me. And he continued……..
“It’s like trying to explain a toothache to someone who has never experienced the pain of a toothache.” Now THIS, I can understand. I have had my fair share of toothaches. I get it. I can describe the pain, the throbbing, and I have been known to throw myself on the sofa in what would look like a very poorly overacted scene in some straight to DVD movie. If anyone happens to be present when I am thrashing around like a fish out of water, they would be sympathetic, empathetic. It’s highly likely they might be fumbling through cabinets and drawers to find some type of medication to help alleviate the pain. More likely I would be begging them to go get a gun and just put me out of my misery.
Let me just say I am a BIG baby when it comes to my teeth. They are highly (abnormally) sensitive. Meaning, “the you need a root canal” toothache will easily put me into the “I am going to die mode” and if I don’t die from the pain, I am going to hurl myself off a bridge. Still….. if the audience witnessing my stake burning never had a toothache, they would NOT, indeed, could not know precisely how it felt.
Unlike Joan of Arc, there is no stoicism while I am at the stake. I am shameless when it comes to a toothache although I think I have a pretty high threshold for pain when it doesn’t involve my teeth. Go Figure. But with a toothache, I make no attempt to hide anything. Witnessing, no matter how graphic the scene, is still NOT feeling. The rippling effects of the wailing can be heard `round the world (word travels fast within my extended family, so maybe not round the world but definitely in the NY tri-state area-I have a big family).
There are good days and there are toothache days and for me, that’s a very frustrating (downright painful?) component. I never know who is reporting for work on any given day. BC AM and AD AM job share and let me just say that I’m having an HR conflict with myself over myself. AD AM isn’t pulling her weight and when BC AM reports for work, she gets extremely ticked off that she is coming into a messy workspace and has a much heavier load because her partner is not only failing to perform, she’s actually losing things, blowing deadlines and why the hell aren’t we both being terminated for lack of performance???
When I spoke to the doctor, I told her how I handle The Bad Day. Apparently, I’ve already implemented many of the things that would be suggested. I have a “hot folder” on my desk. The ONE thing I must do is check that folder. Every Single Day. The folder is buried. Today, for example, I remembered to check the One Thing I Must Do folder at about 4PM. My brain was spent and thankfully, there was no marking on the calendar for today.
There was, however, in the pile of unopened mail, a bill that was already five days late. Seriously? Trickle down economics in my life is the act of wiping out an excellent credit rating. Maintained for decades, I’m well on the road to shattering my credit with a few of these episodes. Is it really essential for me to actually write a note so when I open The Hot Folder, I have the calendar on one side and on the other side, a HUGE note which is more of an admonishment than a reminder? MAIL MUST BE OPENED AND SORTED EVERY DAY.
I make sure to keep my femara and the necessary calcium supplements to combat the bone loss caused by the femara in a pill case so I don’t overdose on suppressing my estrogen, or forget to take the meds for one or two or TEN days. Fix one problem, cause another… it’s a running theme.
My iPhone is my best friend. The calendar has everything on it. The instant I have a thought of something I need to do, I use the voice memos on my phone. Two issues here. There is a problem if I left the phone home or if I cannot locate the phone (thank you, apple for the Find My Phone app). Problem two. I seem to have finally disciplined myself to check the calendar. Sometimes, I forget about the voice memos. Maybe I need to add that to the big list about opening my mail?
And despite every aid I have employed, too many days I get NOTHING done. I just can’t get started, or if I can get started, I can’t focus, or, if I can focus that may only last a short time before I’m distracted by something. Or, if I do begin the way I always did and I maintain focus without distracting myself, I may be interrupted by a phone call for information or assistance. Depending upon how long THAT takes, one simple call and I’m done. Brain on drugs fried egg done.
Gray matter, white matter, it doesn’t matter. My brain is depleted for the day. Time for cleaning a closet or Angry Birds. Tomorrow better be a good day. I know there is a deadline looming and it’s headed right at me. I have yet to find a consequence of any sufficient magnitude to get motivated and stay motivated. And, for that matter, the reward system doesn’t work either. I may have to just work on coming up with a mind blowing reward.
Maybe that will work? Mind blowing rewards…..I think I’ll go make one more list……While I’m at it, I’ll put a voice memo on the phone to remind me in case I get sidetracked. “Make a list of mind blowing rewards.” Why is the light blinking on the phone? I FORGOT to listen to the voice memo I recorded four days ago. Here we go again….