Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Little Turbulence

It's genuinely pleasurable to see old friends, though people are a bit shell-shocked following their returns. Being at a confluence point makes us vulnerable, I suppose. Certainly I'm no different. Trying to chat with one friend in the cafeteria about MS brought back a feeling I hadn't experienced since first being diagnosed: a sense of being no longer fully human. It wasn't an unkind or even very in-depth conversation, but suddenly I was back sitting listless and cross-legged on the hospital bed, arms unfurled grotesquely, body swelling to fill the room like a fleshy eclipse. The profoundly isolating notion that no one would ever touch me again except in that de-humanizing, pitying way you touch a patient was immediate and devastating; to feel it again after so long and in such an innocuous situation was strange. I found I couldn't look at my friend as I talked.

Earlier in the day my hand had shook as I practiced writing 'baa' on the whiteboard, so that the letter was scrunched and malformed. "My hands are bothering me today," I'd wanted to explain -- wanted to, but didn't. This is something I hadn't anticipated missing from Osaka: the freedom to say casually, "I'm having some trouble" and take a moment to step out in the hallway and press my body against the icy stairwell wall until the tremors stopped. Here, I take the jacket on off on off, trying to get it right. I don't think it's sympathy that I miss, but more like affirmation: "Yes, this is happening; no, you're not crazy. Just keep going."

Anyways, I'm re-norming. FSI was bound to be a little weird.

1 comment:

Pat stigliani said...

Katie,
I would really love to see you before I take off for Washington State on the 20th.
Please call or email me.
landline is 703 533-8337
cellphone is 925 913-0085.

Christina and Nick would really like to see you , too. Please let us hear from you! Pat