More Autumn Dinos; More Thoughts

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Big battle between a Titanosaurus and a Tyrannosaurus. I place my bet on the Tyrannosaurus.

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For a bonehead, this fellow looks really lovable. I like him very, very much. I would like to keep him in my backyard with Romeo, my dog.

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This giant mantis is a “ringer” among the dinos, but I like him anyway. He is a throwback to The Deadly Mantis, a favorite film from my childhood. I believe that is Judah, my seven year old, standing next to him to provide a sense of scale. Or maybe not; perhaps Judah appears in another one of my dino photos.

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Here are some random thoughts of the morning, presented in no particular order:

My mouth (and I’m sure yours, too) tastes DISGUSTING after waking from a night following a late night dinner of cheese eggs and raisin toast at Waffle House and a mouthful of medications. Iced tea helps cut the bitterness (and half a banana).

Modern conveniences which have had a major impact upon my life: free bananas in hotel lobbies (indespensible for taking meds); flavorless Miralax powder which can be mixed with any beverage (indespensible for dealing with what the meds do to you); and, most importantly, free computers and wi-fi in hotel lobbies. This last has been a true life saver on two occassions. The first was back in 2005, when Dara, Levi, Asher, and I were stranded at a Doubletree Hotel in Albuquerque during both Hurricane Katrina and Bubonicon. I would have been completely out of touch without the hotel’s computer, because all of my personal computers were back at my house (under water, I believed). It enabled me to constantly check the NOLA.com website for news of the West Bank and to try to determine the fates of our eight stranded cats. The Doubletree staff were extremely accommodating, allowing me to sit at their computer for hours at a time, knowing I had come from New Orleans and could not go home anytime soon. The other time a hotel computer has been a lifesaver is right now. I am not without my personal computers, but again, they are at home, where I left them. I am staying this time at a Hampton Inn in Dumfries, Virginia, close to I-95, where I needed to go to stay with my mother-in-law so I could have a temporary respite from my children (as horrible as that sounds). I do not have my paper journal with me, either. So this blog, which I can log onto from almost anywhere, is my substitute journal.

People can be incredibly nice when you are able to ask them to do nice things for you. This was not always possible in the hospital. Oftentimes, I was too paralyzed with panic to get out of bed, and when I was able to get up and see an aide, oftentimes my messages of distress were not passed along to the nurse. Do not believe your preconceived notions of the speediness of care in hospitals which you have received from TV shows; hospital staff can be very blaise about patients’ distress, particularly when they are dealing with a lot of alcoholics with DTs, so they do not rush to your bedside and provide soothing cool cloths on your forehead and nice injections of morphine. I discovered the only way to get some immediate attention is to thrash about in bed while screaming at the top of my lungs, “I’M SCARED! I’M SCARED! I’M sCARED!” They come, but they may not do anything. Also, your mother-in-law will not turn down the volume on MSNBC unless you manage to ask her (found that out this morning).

When you are in a state of ready susceptibility to panic, it is like you are a science fiction telepath (like Professor X or Jean Grey) whose powers cannot be turned off. You turn into a helpless sponge which soaks up all the vibes and emotions of the people surrounding you. This is the biggest reason why I need a temporary respite from my children. They all want my immediate attention and panic or have a fit when they cannot immediately have me. Also, electronic waves from TVs or radios can be mind worms. Things I have learned to avoid: all TV and radio political talk (whether progressive or conservative); most “modern” comedies; big rooms with bad acoustics (like indoor swimming pools); live accordians; some food shows on TV; any form of internet, radio, or TV current events news. Things which are acceptable: Disney animated movies made before The Little Mermaid (ones without snark); episodes of The Munsters and I Love Lucy (the original series, only); cheesy horror movies from the 1970s (such as The Dunwich Horror or Madhouse with the brilliant Peter Cushing and Vincent Price). Thing which are sometimes okay: certain episodes of Star Trek: the Original Series (none of the “edgy” ones, like “Dagger of the Mind” or “Amok Time;” only the silly ones involving Tribbles or Harry Mudd); some episodes of Kolchak: the Night Stalker (ones without too many scenes set in the newsroom); and soft-core pornography with very little plot (lesbian characters preferred).

It is the hardest to stop laughing when you know that someone who shouldn’t hear is listening to you laugh.

Things I am sort of like right now: Dustin Hoffman (as Rain Man), but with a somewhat better haircut. The fellow from A Brilliant Mind, but who can’t do any maths harder than second level algebra. An eccentric with a circle of friends a lot like that of Johnny Depp in Ed Wood (and, friends, rest assurred, that is a TOTAL COMPLIMENT).

It is very difficult being an empath/emotional sponge. The last few times I was like this were all bad: when my then-disturbed stepdaughter Natalie was prone to violent fits of frustration; when I was in the final month or two of my failed first marriage; and when I was little boy who came home from Sundays with my father to face my mother who practiced cold rages upon my return, who would turn down the temperature of the house by forty degrees because of her anger at my having enjoyed time with my father; those nights, my only escape was to walk my dog outside for ninety minutes and then to disappear into the bathroom for another hour. My safe havens.

It is very hard having “diahrehea of the mouth” out in a crowd, knowing you cannot control it. I am working very hard on regaining my internal editor (although anyone reading this blog may doubt my sincerity). Still, I am making progress, just as I am with my driving skills.

I am looking forward to starting group therapy on Monday in Fredricksburg. I am told I should expect a more coherent set of co-patients than those I had at the hospital.

I will never, NEVER sneer at anyone who is struggling with alcoholism or substance addiction. I now know without a doubt that these folks are engaging in self-medication. The main difference between them and me is that my medicine comes in controlled, supposedly safe dosages, as opposed to malt liquor from a can or a rock of cocaine. I have met some of the loveliest alcoholics and substance abusers I could ever hope to meet. Some I would like to stay friends with forever. Some did far more for me than the professional staff at the hospital to survive my panic attacks (having experienced such attacks themselves). Alcoholics and drug abusers are most DEFINITELY among God’s children, and I MUST love them as I love all the other, “normal” people who have tried their best to help me.

Also, I apologize very much that I could NOT get Spellcheck to work properly in Word Press on this PC. Please ignore my errors, if you are kind!

2 comments

  1. Lori says:

    A friend of mine posted this on Facebook today and I thought of you. So, for what it’s worth: http://sometimesmagical.wordpress.com/2013/10/26/supporting-a-loved-one-through-ptsd-or-panic-attacks/

    • Andrew says:

      Lori, your kind submission is SO appreciated. I haven’t yet had a chance to go to your link, but from the title, I know it will be worthwhile. Thanks in advance! I hope all is well down there in South Louisiana, and at your library.

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