Hi everyone, it’s The Heathen here, err… I mean Linda.
Earlier today, Elizabeth looked around the study dazed. We (Cheryl and I) had asked her if she recognized the books in the bookcases lining the walls. “I’m not allowed to read fiction.” she replied in a hesitant tone. I told her I had just read Peter Pan. ‘That’s a tool of Satan,” she said. She looked at me closer. “Are you one of ‘US’?” “No” I replied. “Then you’re a Heathen!” Beth stated, in the black and white tones of a brainwashed teenager.
Confused? You aren’t the only confused one today. Beth had a bad seizure earlier this afternoon while I was grocery shopping. Apparently she was in mid-sentence talking to Cheryl when all of a sudden she passed out. When she woke up she was back in 1987, living in California and going to high school.
Cheryl was a doctor because she asked her medical questions and had a stethoscope and stuff. When I arrived on the scene she did not recognize who I was. As she was talking about her religious private school, when she wanted to know who I was, I said I was her guidance counsellor. She wasn’t so sure about that, as heathen’s wouldn’t be allowed to work at her school. But then she remembered heathens were occasionally employed.
Beth looked carefully at me and said “but you’re old?” (Definitely a teenage point of view. )
She was very concerned for me and wanted to save me from being killed and tortured during the end of the world. Only 'the Chosen' would be saved. While this was fascinating, it was also sobering to hear her talk about the way things were when she was 17. We both grew up in the same conservative church/cult, but listening to her recount things, twenty years after they happened, made me realize how far she and I have come.
At one point Cheryl told Beth that she was married and when she want to know to who, Cheryl said that she was married to me. Beth giggled and told Cheryl she was silly. ‘Girls can’t marry girls!’
Cheryl was treated with suspicion because in our church, people didn’t go to see doctors. And you didn’t take any medication. (Elizabeth: “If you truly Believe you WILL be healed.”)
Beth’s memory was stuck firmly in 1987 for over 4 hours. She wanted us to call her parents to pick her up and take her home (to California!). I did eventually call them, let them know what was happening and asked if they could come over for a few minutes. When Beth saw them she became very upset because they were imposters – they didn’t look or act like her parents. “My father would be wearing a suit,” Elizabeth declared.
I had asked her parents if they could help her by saying it would be better for her to stay with me and Cheryl rather than go back with them. Cheryl could help her more because she was a doctor. How else could we explain why she needed to stay here at home in a place she didn’t recognize.
“Those aren’t my parents,” she told the doctor (Cheryl), as I escorted her them out. “My parents don’t ask me what I want to do, they COMMAND.”
We were eventually able to get Beth to use the bathroom in preparation for lying down. In the bathroom she found my straight romance and read the back cover. She was shocked and appalled that I had this book in my house. Coming out, she said to the doctor (who Elizabeth had been told was, likeher, of ‘US’, 'the Chosen'), “There was a man and a woman having a relationship and they weren’t EVEN married!”
This made me crack up so I had to turn away as Elizabeth turned and whispered to the doctor, “How can you still be friends...?” (Elizabeth had been told that while Cheryl was ‘US’ and I was not, we were still friends. This was humorous, but also heart-wrenching.
It was sometime between the bathroom and the nap that Beth thought we were sent to deprogram her, or had kidnapped her for ransom, and were drugging her and keeping her against her will (because she had no memory of yesterday or the day before). We decided this was not the time to offer her a valium and muscle relaxant. Didn’t want to fuel the ‘drugging’ idea.
When she did wake 1.5 hours later we were relieved to find she was starting to put things together and no longer 17 years old. But all the 'new information' was making her head hurt, and more seizures followed. We have decided to leave the connecting of memory dots to another day and instead show her some of the old familiar. We went for a drive to one of the local parks and stopped at Beacon Drive Inn, a favourite haunt of ours, for ice cream sundaes.
It was an exhausting day for everyone, physically and emotionally. Personally, it made me face the possibility that there may come a time when Beth won’t recognize me and may never recognize me again. How will I cope then and how will I help Beth to adjust to whatever state she is in, and her relationship with me? I’m just thankful I didn’t have to tackle that problem today alone. Here’s hoping a long rest overnight will keept the the memory button reset for a long time to come.
All being well, you’ll be back to your regular programming tomorrow night.
22 hours ago