Monday, June 11, 2007

Vacuum v. Dead of Night

If Oakley feels like her heart is a black hole and she is living in a vacuum, I feel like I'm walking through the dark, though I don't crash into anything--I just don't really see anything either.

Today, the doctor asked me about my mood/sleep charts and how Justin was dealing with his mother's death. I told him I didn't have my charts: "For someone who was once obsessed with charting information, I am now your least compliant patient. I take my meds, but the charts just aren't happening. But we literally just got in from LA because Justin's mom died on Wednesday, and we've been driving back and forth and up there taking care of her since April 29."

So he asked me about April--not really depressed, not too anxious, sleeping OK and without Ambien. And I told him May involved more Ambien to sleep and how could one really tell about depression when someone's mom is dying? But he said I was doing well, because I faced the situation well and stood up to it all: the diapers, the dying, the in-laws, the stress. I didn't feel inclined to stay in bed (though at the beginning we did, because we didn't want the days to happen), and I did carry out all the necessary tasks of attending to my husband's disintegrating family. He asked about how my "rejection sensitivity" was, and I said, "That's the only thing that's not so great," but how many people really have great relationships with their in-laws, leave alone their step-in-laws?

So all in all, hoorah!

When he asked how Justin was doing I told him he had to come back last Friday because he had to take his clinical exams final and that he has another final in primary care coming tomorrow. He gave me the perturbed look he gets when I talk about practical business while he wants psychological insight and said, "I mean emotionally."

"Hell if I know," I said. "We haven't had time to be. We've just been getting stuff done."

"OK. Well, knowing him like you do, how do you think he's doing?"

"I don't know. He's ploughing through like he always does; doing his Marine/doctor thing. He took care of his mom while she was dying and was right there with her at the end. I don't know how he does it. I think I've been crying more than he has, but he just hasn't had the time."

He went on to say the same thing so many people are saying, imbecilically and truthfully at once, that "with long, drawn out illnesses like this, he's had a longer time to do his grieving and a lot of it is already done, so the grieving process is shorter afterward."

Right now Justin's telling one of his best friends that he has a "final exam tomorrow I haven't studied for yet... I have good days and bad days... We've been so busy it just hasn't had time to sink in yet... Worst case is, I fail and I have to take it again... Just the exam."

So what if he's had seven years to know that she would die sooner than later. It's still like someone took the flashlight away and we're heading through a land we vaguely remember; we can make our way around somehow, but we can't really see anything.

How we're not crashing into the furniture and falling over things, I do not know, but I'm afraid that soon we will.

Like Justin just said on the phone, "We've been so busy, I'm still kind of in shock."

When the black numbness wears off (which is paralytic--no studying, no unpacking, no real anything except sleeping and eating), if it's followed by body-swallowing oceans of sadness what will we do?

1 comment:

oakmonster said...

That would be when you call US. And we can come down to swim in there with you. We'll make it the Ocean of Sadness Beach Party. I'll grill for you guys. It'll be fun.