We have a date for Booth-Gardner, though not the one we wanted, Linda’s post covers that. Which is why I am going to talk about deliberate suicide, life, my and other choices and yesterday. I wrote a blog post yesterday and then realized the post was a lie: because it was all about hope (so I didn’t publish it). Hope is NOT what I am feeling. I am feeling something between frustration and despair. Yesterday was spent, the entire day, doing things that were largely unpleasant, but also needed.
I had to get ready so that I could go to the lawyers and re-read my entire will, ask questions and sign, read my living will, upon which Linda will determine when I get to die, and the power of attorney. I am sort of a non-human legally now. I would recommend any person read any living will VERY carefully as there are many loopholes and since both sides of my family tend to like to kill each other off or tell doctors, "Oh they are in horrible pain, please give them morphine drip to put them in a coma" - I have to be extra careful. The lawyer aghast at the McClung family dinners where everyone before dinner ran around putting their names on things, pencil in one hand, eraser in the other as they erased the name of the sibling and put their name. Then at dinner (my Grandmother is still alive and would be at the head of the table) the siblings would yell at each other about how they put THIER name on the clock first and YOU erased it...etc. The lawyer said, "So, death is something of a silent taboo in your family" very dryly.
From there, Linda’s surprise was that we were going to my parents to borrow their dolly/cart in order for Linda to get the Wheelchair Ramp from Port Angeles. It was an exceedingly painful visit for me. My father had offered to care-give and I accepted, more as a way for him to understand the actual limitations of my body now. Pus Linda put him to work, moving a bookcase. That somehow unplugged my lifeline phone. Lifeline started calling the numbers to make sure I was still alive and my father was one of them. We were notified and plugged the phone back in. Apparently that wasn’t enough, Lifeline wanted HEAR me, know I was safe, so they wanted me to push the wrist button. I wear this bracelet at all times and if I push it within 200 feet of the phone, they sent paramedics. I have done this in an aura when I thought I was alone and was taken to hospital. Lifeline called us, they called my father and Cheryl I guess.
At my parents, my father was away and I watched through the windshield as my mother held on, refusing to release the dolly to Linda while she made a prolonged emphatic statement to Linda. Linda got in the vehicle upset. We had to go home now in order push the button as my mother did not want lifeline calling the house again. The 30 second call was annoying. The fact that someone, for a minimal amount a month wanted to make sure I was alive and safe, and that there was a safety net in place to keep it that way was irrelevant. The call was annoying. It should not have happened. Was I hurt? Did she care? I don’t know. I know that she didn’t care enough about me having my father called to come and check on me to put up with a couple 15-30 second calls. Though it was suggested she hated the reminder of what she has not ‘processed’: that she has a sick and dying daughter. Or as she said, “I did it with my mother, I’m not doing it again.”
My mother’s irritation that someone called her on the assumption she might care brought to me how there isn’t another human being in this city who would come and check on me. About 18 relatives and many neighbors but no one who either cares or wants the responsibility to see if I am on the floor and dying or not.
From there we went to a new walk in health clinic that was taking new patients. They advertised no wait longer than 15 minutes for walk in. It was an hour long wait and then 30 minutes talking the doctor. We will hold off transferring to them until we provide medical records and they say what they are willing to do (specialist referrals, treatments, etc) and respond to a letter of our concerns (like will they follow what Booth Gardner will tell them to do). Also we need to wait until we hear about the palliative program as all efforts, however minimal where I am currently, will cease once I transfer (by the way the palliative is a year long program, you can register up to three years in advance so it doesn’t mean I am going HAVE to die this month). So, now we are waiting to decide medically to stay with the devil we know or transfer with hope to the new one?
After all this I was exhausted so home to sleep and up then again, since now I now needed to break the pro-biotic wall that I created in order to stop the food poisoning several days ago. Between waiting and pushing it took about six hours and brought me to the point of exhaustion where I couldn’t speak anymore. That was a day. My ‘restful’ day.
So Booth-Gardner (B.G.), we have a date and while it is what we ALL have been waiting for, it is different things to different people. For those who want me to live: it is hope, regardless that it is slim and if dashed I will be emotionally crushed. For the doctors here it is direction on what to do, what tests to order, what to prescribe. For Linda it is the culmination of months of requests from DOZENS of places for tests, and mountains of paperwork. And it is a place where I lose my identity, where a life of stability is gone and instead of everyone had accepting my condition, and my degeneration now the medicos will ‘evaluate’ me all over again. Even if there is a very high probability that they will say that I have what everyone says I have: MSA variant (Cost $700). But this time I will have paid a lot to be told for SURE, that I am going to die. Can I emotionally withstand that? Can I deal with all the tests we are going to try and shove in at the last minute for them to tell me how soon I will die….my phobia and yet lots of needles? But this is the only path to hope, right, so I should be happy? Only they don’t promise hope, they only promise to take money. And people forget that I only have a 50% chance at best of living long enough to make the appointment.
With my life of ‘consistency and stability’ I was trying to save money for three things: Sakura-con, art books for the blog and Hawaii. I put up DVD’s on ebay yesterday, as much as I could concentrate and have energy to do and sold one. Last April I promised Cheryl that if I was still alive, I would go with her to Sakura-con. To me a promise is more important than living. To break a promise which has helped keep me alive is an insult to Cheryl, it hurts people’s feelings and that is more important that what I want. Someone depended on that promise, and so did I. I have been saving for some specific art books at Akadot because my memory is visual and so people enjoy the pictures on the blog. I had put up my ski’s for sale and was working to sell my bike to make money for Hawaii, and getting manga ready to put on ebay for Hawaii too.
But in plops Booth Gardner (B.G.) and suddenly I find (on Linda’s blog) that the ski’s I am selling and my bike and the money I have saved is actually for the medical fund. Now while I do contribute to the medical fund from my allowance and a portion of what I sell goes there, the ‘making sure Beth gives a damn about the future so she wants to take her next breath’ fund seemed more important. But it isn’t, or so I am told, compared to the wonders of medicine; which will tell me I am going to die.
Because it won’t be a visit, it will be a lifestyle. I will need tests before the visit, and the doctors will probably want to eliminate the anemia, the thyroid condition and the heart erratics all with follow up tests, maybe every month or every other month to see how their medical choices are progressing, then back for another visit. Time to try for a pacemaker or maybe some sort of treatment for Lymes, or Lupus, or IVIG, or anything that passes the brain/blood barrier as they have ‘had some success with some patients’ and then there will be tests on that and follow up visits. If I live. Where is Sakura-con in that? Where is Hawaii.
I asked Linda today what percentage she gave to me living to reach the end of April, and she said 50%. I asked what had happened to Hawaii, and the money we were raising, the tax refund money, the early filing. There was a long pause and she said that the timing wasn’t right and it would be late summer. “Summer, me, in Hawaii in SUMMER.” She amended that to make it clear it was more like fall. That would be a better time for Cheryl to have a vacation. Better for B.G. too. She got the book from D.K. on planning our Hawaii trip five days ago, and got the news about the date for B.G. three days ago and now we aren’t going to Hawaii.
I am being drowned and disappeared by the medical game that treatment, that appointments are the same as having more life. Right now there is little rest, and my life is NOT ‘stable and consistent.” My night care worker who told me she had ‘lots’ of experience with seizures due to her cousin told Linda yesterday she would fine not coming since she has no real experience with seizures, and hasn’t seen any since she was a child. Not a close cousin then. Plus Monday was her “day off.” So I have no night worker anymore, since I need someone who wants to make sure I am alive and sleeping instead of lying in pain. Not someone who thinks they have to stay up too much and this is their day off after all. My support is crumbling. I feel that E.F.M., that the fragile Beth, that the Elizabeth than needs to be comforted are all disappearing under this blanker of B.G. and the hope it will solve everything so lets just ignore everything until then.
That sucks. Because this isn’t just about me, as so many people have been excessively generous, and I want to thank you again. You have given to the medical fund, because collecting all those test and keeping me alive until I could get a date cost money. We personally have gone in debt further, on this hope of Booth-Gardner. And yet the highest percentage is a frustration that the Canadian Neurologists never did tests Q or R, or did a follow up, or just left ‘ideopathic’ all over my charts (meaning “Fuck! I don’t know!” in medical speak). So they have to make an educated guess and send me for the test, so more waiting, an more into the medico. Then B.G. does a follow up visit to start a round of treatments, and more tests after the treatments (if I am still alive) and then a visit to get an idea of my progress. Do you get the idea? We don’t have that money, and we are selling my book, and wrist bands and t-shirts and trying but I don’t have energy to put on 40 items on ebay (try 4) as having a shower IS my day. Linda is disabled and taking care of her IS most of her day. So we, or rather I will beg; I will beg on the street, when I can, and beg in the blog.
And that frustrates me as I don’t want to do it. These are people who are so kind that they gave me books to read, when I am too ill to move. They made the quality of life better when they had no hope of extension of that life, just because they cared.
But B.G. threatens us with HOPE, or the hope that HOPE of an extended life might happen....except that will cost thousands. Yet already I feel that we have betrayed the people who read here: they thought it was simple, give money and it covers my trip to Booth Gardner (except they forgot the transport and hotel and keeping me alive UNTIL then). So that I am so ill that the government and my advocate say I need a $23,000+ wheelchair or I will be too weak to move. That I need my body supported, my butt supported by a $1000+ cushion or I will have oozing sores, that I can’t feel. Only we can’t get it in the van, because we have to get a ramp: medical fund. How am I to GET to B.G. without the chair, without the other medical needs, of which we are still paying 80%+.
And all I can think is of all the tens of thousands that Linda will have once I die; because in an incentive for govt. managers to stay in government work, they doubled the spousal insurance with NO MEDICAL. Yeah, I am stuck for a thousand or two now, but she will have it when I die. So is it love for me to die quickly, before I burden her with life debt? Is my small stash of money for Hawaii to be taken, my $35 saved for Akadot, to be given instead to the maw of B.G.? No. I am not a machine to work for B.G.
But still, I am seeing what I have worked for pulled away, my art book fund, my Sakura-con fun gone and replaced with needles and the sheer terror of evaluation, since even when validated (that yup, you are dying quick), it never makes you feel GOOD.
Guess what, the NEW doctor I might sign with wants me to go to Bethesda, MD for special clinic there! We went with the Budget Option (in the US, $2,000 or $4,000 IS the budget option). And if they say I don’t have MSA, will they know the two to three auto-immune diseases in my body, the electrical heart problems, the rampant AV nodes (no operation scheduled), the cause of the anemia, the cause of the nerve destruction? Then there is the cause of the autonomic failure; and the cause of the diminishing ability to convert oxygen? Will they know any of this? Or best guess and treat?
So B.G. is good for one thing, at asking myself what I am losing, what do I want: I want to race in the TC 10K, even though that will hurt. I want to do a 5 or 8 K or two before then. I want to go to Sakura-con with Cheryl. I want to write a book. I want to go to Hawaii. I want to see fireflies again before I die. I want to make love to Linda. I want to have art books that I enjoy. Because my mental state is less than 50% of what is was (When I said this Linda only emphatically nodded), I like pictures. The pictures of the last several posts have come from Doujinshi from Japan or Doujinshi (non-commercial artists who publish their books but don’t sell in book store). I think they are beautiful. I want to go to Hawaii! All that is disappearing to (B.G.) and instead of being told ‘rest!’ I read and am told I must fundraise; so much every week. Even if I only have 50% chance of living, my life, though I am sick, weak and confused is to get the money raised for B.G.!
Oh I will go to B.G. and be thankful of every single donation toward my medical fund. But it will not tell me what to do with what life I have. If I have to go to Hawaii alone, I will. If I am the only one to look at art books, stained with tears because everyone is acting funny like I don’t matter as much as the doctors who are to tell me who I am, then I will.
There are razor cuts on my arm less than a week deep. I don’t know why they are there. I know I am a self-harmer but I can’t remember WHY I cut that time. I see the scars of DEEP cutting from a month ago or so, and I can’t remember that either, or the ones before. I used to say that these scars were the story of my battles within written upon my body. Only if the author can’t remember……what use are they? I am wounded emotionally and cry and yet three days later I don’t remember. B.G. I will remember as it has moved in with us, an unwanted house guest. It squats there. In the same way the pain is always there.
I continue to DO, like visiting the new clinic and they have sort of accepted me as a new patient yet…I need to see if the pallative application works first and if it doesn’t, this doctor is a sports doctor and doesn’t believe in unneeded medicine. How does he feel about morphine? Fentynal? How many days and weeks will it take to find out; how many months has it been? How long in pain.
Yesterday I screamed and moaned from the weight of my body on my bed; I was so fatigued that moving me put me in shock. 21,600 minutes when I am awake that I am in pain each month, and I feel every single minute. It has been months since I have had adequate pain control. I scream from pain many days a week. I moan in my sleep; I have fevers from the pain, hallucinations. And yet, I go on.
B.G. has made me question everything about what it is to BE me. It threatens the work I have done with others to try and sequence; to look forward; to try and WANT things; to feel things, to have fun. I still don’t smile, but I am trying. B.G. put all that, even my lonely isolation in shadow, as it is all now secondary, is the feeling I get, to B.G. After all what is manga when I need medical treatment? When I could have a diagnosis? And I do, and I will go, and I need help to get there. As the new clinic head doctor said, “I am not sure if this clinic has the experience you need.” I replied, “I can assure you, that currently the province of BC does not have the medical experience I require, so that is NOT an issue to me.” What is something to read, or the feeling that might be enjoyment, or joy when I might live an extra six months on the backs and the cost and donations from dozens of people.
I think of those donations and think of the dozens of dinners out, dozens of little trips, weekend trips, surprise gifts they could have, for a 10% chance at a slight prolonging. I can’t ask that. And yet if I want to live I have to. I am supposed to want to live. And I do, but not in a way that makes others deny themselves.
The more I see all that I am and what I and others have worked for threatened by B.G. (which I WILL go for the consult, however terrified I am), the more I feel that I have no choices. Some days the only choice I have is what manga to read, and I wouldn’t have that if not for people who wanted me to have a better quality of life. Choice is the greatest gift. Thus the more attractive a idea, suicide, that would give Linda all the money she needs, to give back to those who cared, to take care of herself, and which would end those minutes and hours pain and give me one choice again. I don’t want to lose Hawaii. I don’t want to lose Sakura-con. I don’t want to lose trying to writing a book (even if I have to re-read it each day to know what is what). I don’t want to lose a plan to see fireflies again. I don’t want to lose the (is it joy?) anticipation of getting a new art book. I don’t want to lose competing in a 5K and being more than just that person whose life is over. And I don’t want to lose the reasons I have for living. How can I do that and co-exist with B.G.?
I asked Linda what she thought was the best way to commit suicide if Liver Failure is so horridly painful (though I bet I WOULD get morphine for that pain). She said she didn’t want to play this game. I said, “It’s not a game.”
This last Friday, death WAS imminent, I came within a breath of dying, over and over again. I was kept alive by continuous emergent care. Moving my body at all put me into a state of convulsive shock and pain which lasted for up to 20 minutes. I literally had to be held upright, while I continued to work. I have two books I would love to do, love to know I had time to finish, love to have that hope, but I guess I am terrified at the cost of that hope.
I want to try all MY dreams. I want to rest and make myself stronger. “Resting when everyone is wanting the action Elizabeth because you KNOW it is what will make you stronger IS E.F.M.” Linda said. I want to be E.F.M., and sometimes that is resting. But sometimes it is not, but trying when there is no reasonable expectation of succeeding.
I cry from the terror from the thought of failing so many people if B.G. goes wrong. I don’t want to use death as an escape and yet, why am I thinking and have been thinking even before B.G. about suicide. I have worked so hard and so many others have for me to remember to think AHEAD, to plan for the future. And just because I am in pain 21,000+ minutes every four weeks, I want to throw that away? Sounds kind of wimpy doesn’t it. I don’t know if you know what it is like to scream, not a short and punctuated scream of pain from slamming a car door but one that goes on and on and on because the pain doesn’t go away. It takes you past the brink of sanity until you claw back and you force yourself to trail off into moans and whimpers. How many screams did that take? How many minutes while you were held down? And I can't take any more meds, that is on all the pain meds I can take. And that is a couple days a week, it gets that bad. But I go on, because living is important, Linda is important, the postcards are important (at least to me), Hawaii is important and I want to FIGHT. I have been fighting with the help, some in time, some in finances of good and loving people for weeks (I think) to try and relearn time, to learn that living and the future is good! That Future is worth fighting for.
I don’t want to betray them, or myself. But I am very, very scared. And I am genuinely deeply depressed. I am tired and a little angry at people wanting me to be at peace, or fly away. Know this, and remember it, not in one thing except unconsciousness from fighting in my life over the last several months has there been a moment I have been ‘at peace.’ I fight, or die. I fight, or give in. And when I fight TO die. That is sick. I want to stop that. I want to fight for Hawaii WHILE I live. I want to love the future. I am not going to ‘rest’ or ‘kick the bucket’ or ‘fly away’ or ‘be at peace.’ While I live, I BURN! Even when I die, I will burn too!
I want to care. I don’t want B.G. to take that away. And I don’t know what to do.
4 hours ago