Thursday, July 12, 2007

Confession time…

I had a mole removed yesterday…

No, that ain’t it.

I had a mole removed yesterday, a mole that has been on my back for some time and had grown into the size of a small archipelago. Vicky had been telling me to have it removed and, well, I finally did.

No, I said, that ain’t it. Give me a minute.

The doctor shot my back up with lidocaine to dull the pain and then sliced it off like she worked at a meat counter. I didn’t feel that.

I did feel… “Is that blood?”

“Yeah, it looks like your mole had its own blood supply.”

Nice, huh?

But that wasn’t the worst part.

The worst part was when I had to tell her, out loud, when I had to explain to a medical professional that I have been having bouts of insomnia, sleepwalking, nightmares, and hallucinations for nearly eight years running with only intermittent periods of normality.

It sounds a whole lot crazier when you say it out loud.

“What kind of hallucinations?” she asked.

I wondered if she meant having conversations with people who aren’t there or experiencing my own weather patterns.

She explained, “Auditory or visual?”


Both?!” Her expression of shock did little to quell my unease.

She recommended an MRI. She recommended a neurosurgeon. She told me I would definitely need some kind of medication and she gave me a referral to another doctor.

But I lied to her, thinking I would put her at ease. Actually, I was trying to put myself at ease. I told her I was “functional”. Interesting word, that. Functional.

Again, last night, I couldn’t sleep. And I need to be clear about this and I need to say this out loud – in a way – because it doesn’t have quite the same impact in my head. It’s not just the voices or seeing things or sleepwalking that’s the bad part. The bad part is when I stay up all night hardly able to move because I’m too busy twitching and spasming like some kind of mental defective. The bad part is when I take my wife’s car to 7-11 to buy cigarettes because I’m so terrified of my own mind that I need something to calm me down in the middle of the night when everybody else is asleep.


I stayed home from work today not just because I’m exhausted from lack of sleep, or exhausted from quietly losing my mind, but because I’m horrified at what might be going on – what has been going on for years now.

I’m no more functional than an alcoholic who can’t admit to his addiction, who pretends to be normal to convince himself that there really isn’t a problem. I’m missing work – from a job I like – and I’m spending days in great discomfort. I am NOT functional. And I need to remind myself of that. I need to tell myself that over and over again. If I don’t, I’ll never get the courage up to do what must be done.

All this time, I’ve been so afraid that a psychiatrist was going to prescribe me drugs that would turn me into a zombie, make me something other than the vibrant, lovable Ken you all – well, some of you – know and love. But what have I been without the drugs? Am I any less of a zombie in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep because of the screaming in my head? And what good has delaying this done me? Yesterday, my doctor emphasized that my psychiatrist/neurosurgeon should be affiliated with a certain hospital just in case surgery needs to be an option. Surgery? Is it any wonder I’m terrified?

And through all of this, the worst thing I’ve done is forget that this isn’t just about me. This affects Vicky as well. She deserves far better than me; I know that. She deserves someone who can give her a normal life, not someone she has to worry about when he’s sleepwalking down stairs or up all night or hearing voices tell him whatever she might be imagining or worse. I’ve done a pretty shitty job taking her into consideration through all of this.

So, today, I’ll make the calls. I’ll set up an appointment with a doctor.

I would much rather be telling you about my new book right now but this is something I had to say. I have to remind myself that it is real and stop ignoring it. Then, later – maybe then I’ll be functional.

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