When you can’t sleep — don’t.
…was an interesting month.
On 12/10/2018 I underwent a two-level anterior cervical disc fusion to fuse three troublesome herniated discs and some other issues in my neck. The surgery was easy — I slept through it all — but the recovery from the heavy anesthetics and antibiotics was brutal. The first two or three days I hallucinated in neon colors and felt like I could just float up to Heaven and not be missed because I already felt so absent from reality.
I turned into a clam and pulled deeper inside myself than I have in a very long time. I cried for no reason at all. The surgery had restored much of my hand function and wiped out years of neck pain almost immediately — shouldn’t I be leaping for joy?
Except that I threw up for a solid week after surgery and did not really have time to enjoy feeling my hands again before I ended up fighting another diverticulitis flare.
While in a mental (and often, literal) fetal position unable to do much, I wrote music in my head, including a symphony of sorts. That sounds wonderful but the first movement came from nowhere into my head and was live on the internet within 36 hours. That is not my normal weeks and months of writing and polishing and practicing and editing.
This change concerned my daughter because it meant I was not sleeping. I wasn’t, but not for lack of trying. Lyme disease is notorious for drug-resistant insomnia.
When you have Lyme disease and/or a coinfection each time you are given massive antibiotics (which I was) it upsets the spirochetes and they die off en masse. That bacterial die-off creates toxins that the body cannot keep up with and makes Lyme patients even sicker before feeling better. This reaction is called the Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction, but often simply called “herxing” by members of the Lyme community.
I just wanted to get through the day so that it could be night so that I could “faux sleep” (pray and write and draw and just be still in my mind as much as possible.) I did not want to talk to anyone which worried people who loved me and so they kept trying to pull me out of my shell which made me turtle up even more.
Talking is abysmally hard for me. I lose words, thoughts, and will be in the middle of a sentence and go totally blank. It is embarrassing to say the least. I don’t use the phone or text much for this reason — when I sit and type I can take hours to get a thought out the right way. I text so slowly it may take me an entire day or three to rally my thoughts to reply and appreciate GIFs and emoticons which now make up the majority of my “reply” vocabulary. (I also get hopelessly lost and confused so I don’t drive much either.)
And so while my brain is trying to unscramble itself it kept spitting out bits and pieces of art and sound and so I wrote music and comic strips in bits and pieces.
Here are the two movements born of Lyme mania.