This may be the most inelegant writing I have accomplished. Usually, I will write over a period of days, put it away for a week, revise, put it away again, write something else, come back to it when It is no longer is my head, revise and edit as though it wee someone else’s work. I want the writing to sing, sway, build images, make motion. I want to write music. It looks like words.
But not tonight. I will finish this tonight. I may revise, I may not. It will be rough, incomplete, dissonant, shaky. It will mirror how I feel and I will leae it at that.
I attended a concert a month ago. Coyote Run. It was at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ft. Lauderdale. Coyote Run is a high energy band with some high energy fans and the outpouring of emotive support was evident and loud.
I had not counted on that.
When I was in high school, I used to hide in the library during pep rallies. Once I was found and made to attend. I was not allowed to read quietly but was told I must cheer for the team, whatever team or sport it was. I was escorted to the auditorium and the bleachers, given a seat. The roar started, the whistling, the clapping, the pounding and the yelling and I fell over, onto the bench, unconscious and silent. Woke up, did it again and again.
As a teacher I would trade out of auditorium duty even of it meant watching the indoor suspension. Once or twice, I was ordered to a post in the auditorium. I would hold on to a railing, cover my ears. With warning I would bring ear plugs. Without warning I would hold tight.
At Coyote Run, I remember when I started to feel exhausted. Then started to rock slightly, then became withdrawn, quiet, dull. Shaking. That night I was famished. That night I barely slept. The next day I hated myself. I was depressed. Slow, shaking, twisting, seizing, wanting out of amy skin and able to see, only with effort, the wonder my life is, those things others see in me that makes me the adored friend of people I hold dear, the beloved of those with whom I am lucky to share my life. The husband of the most wondrous woman in the world and the father of the Earth’s best children. I could see that wonder that is my life intellectually, but felt none of the joy in it, only weight and hate, my own and my own.
It passed in a few days.
I heard John McCutcheon was coming to town. A rare event. Six-time Grammy nominees do not have to play small churches. It was a benefit concert and I was going to go.
It was at a Unity Church I have attended from time to time for events and talks. Half the size of the UU at which I saw Coyote Run. I knew many of the people there. I sat next to Craig. He asked what to do if I start to seize. Nothing, I said. He asked if he could point and laugh. Absolutely.
I waited a long time to hear John McCutcheon play and I paid as close attention as I could, even as the rocking started directly with the first too-loud applause, the sharp whistling and the lingering camera flashes. I quelled it and my right foot started to sway back and forth instead. The my head, twisting sharply at the neck. Afraid I’d give myself a concussion, I tried to slow that and hold tight, letting the shoulder and neck muscles pull suddenly but giving them no space to move, ending with a head and neck ache. The diaphragm started to spasm as well.
People often ask me if I have the hiccups. I just answer no.
It started at eight. By eleven I was withdrawing, quiet, in pain, exhausted, famished and inwardly hateful. I still took my CDs up to John to have them sighed, to talk a bit, hoping to hide my discomfort. I always hope to. I always fail.
I fell asleep at two from exhaustion despite the blinding lightning, the constant flashing behind my eyelids. I was woken at four by spasms in my trachea and bronchi. Flutterings and beetlewings in my throat and chest. I stayed awake breathing, trying not to shake so I would not wake my dear one.
This morning, I feel fat, heavy, ungainly, slow. I feel tired, taught, tense and tortured. I am depressed and despondent. I am wasted and washed-out. I have been famished all day no matter how much I eat and then no matter how much I stay away from food. Good choices seem the furthest thing from good.
Meditation does not come. My perception is off. I try not to drive.
And I can feel nothing that is positive though I can point out every blessing that fills my life, every talent I am told I possess. I can point the myriad directions whence love comes but feeling none. It all goes out but none makes it in. Least of all for myself. I think not feeling this anymore would be good. I think never eating again would be fine and think thoughts envious toward those who have the will to eschew food for days and days, those who find the ways to stop. Stop eating, moving, breathing, being.
In a few days this will leave. Maybe by tomorrow even. I’ll return to rhythmic work and the seizures will leave for a while. I’ll stay away from loud sudden noises, watch nothing violent and, as long as I am careful, controlled, cautious, the lightning will be sparse, the thoughts will return to joy, the hunger will subside, the pain will be kept away.
Until a door slams or the TV is too loud or I forget and buy a ticket for another concert.
The music was wonderful last night. How much more sad it is today.
December 16, 2008 at 12:38 PM
I had no idea. I knew you were uncomfortable with the volume and the crowd of people, but I had no idea you were suffering so much, and I’m very sorry. No more concerts or shows (even mine!) I apologize for, as often, not being perceptive enough to see what was really going on.And the CD I sent you is just as good played softly…….
December 18, 2008 at 5:16 PM
So, not to go all clinical on your ass, as I’m trying to understand this, these are actual seizures, not panic attacks? What a horrible thing to have to experience. I’m so sorry.
Adam Byrn "Adamus" Tritt
December 18, 2008 at 6:02 PM
“So, not to go all clinical on your ass…”What an interesting turn of phrase.No, not panic attacks, actual seizure activity. And not the temporal seizures that are fun and make the world glowy. The other kind.Just too much stimulation, I guess. It’s not just the volume, but qualities of the sound. And, Val, of course you didn’t know. To tell you might have sounded like complaining or whining. So, instead, I drove I-95 from Ft. Lauderdale to Boca in that state because I didn’t want to whine and, clearly, because I’m a dumbass with very little sense of self-preservation but an overblown sense of self-sufficiency.”No thanks, Doc. I’ll set and cast my arm myself. Thanks anyway.”
December 18, 2008 at 9:56 PM
It’s amazing how much I don’t really know about seizures. Fascinating and scary stuff.
March 30, 2009 at 2:06 AM
wow…that is interesting. I did not know this could happen.