Sunday, March 12, 2006


I had hoped that this post would be something interesting, something other than more of my empty whinnying about me and my emotional state, but apparently this is not to be the case. So, roll on up...

Today's title, by the by, is a memory that floated to the top a few nights ago, three AM. It refers to the high Calvinist position on the doctrine of predestination - the thesis that before Creation, God had already decided which of the people He had yet to create would falter, fall, and be cast into everlasting damnation.

Calvin's position, clearly stated in a number of texts, was that God knew (because He had decided) that some of His creation were created for damnation. Babies who died before the preacher hurried to the house, men and women who had prayed and forgave others and believed themselves born again. Death, a brief moment of confusion and then seasons in the abyss.

Some of us, therefore, are born to fall. A doctrine that is simultaneously deeply repellent and yet in accord with much modern thought. One of the many, many reasons I am not a Calvinist.

That and the hats.

By the way, does anyone else think that the history of the twentieth century would have been very different if the Vikings instead of the Puritans had set up the first successful American colonies? I'd imagine Republican appeals to the ideas and practices upon which the USA was built, all that "the faith of our forefathers" stuff, would have to be radically altered.

And Thanksgiving would involve mead and wenching (and whatever the gender apposite term is, hunking or whatever) and wassailing and so on. Hats with horns instead of funereal black. Every Thanksgiving people could all drive big long cars with dragon-heads on them.

Anyway, enough about other people, on to me and my feelings.

Not that there's nothing else going on in my life, by the by. In fact, Burian is still in the Royal, my friend Elizabeth is very unwell, and there are a number of other issues of similar import going on that I am not permitted to discuss here.

Maybe that's part of it. I went and saw Burian the other day, but didn't go in. I didn't go in because he was having physiotherapy - the cancer in his kidneys that has spread to his hip has been treated by surgery - what sounds like a total hip replacement. Post-operatively - and to a certain extent, pre-operatively - he has been confused. This confusion - called alternatively post-surgical delirium, post surgical psychosis, whatever - is a common thing. Healthy men after cardiac surgery throw themselves from windows, middle-aged women who have had their gall bladders removed become suspicious of their loved ones.

Anyway, last time I saw Burian he was fairly seriously unwell. I spoke a while - stories, the affairs of friends, the political scene - and he nodded, more from hearing the sound of my voice than from any of the vague platitudes that I had said. Then, as I fed him his raspberry jelly - almost the only food he will eat, that whole second childhood thing - he grasped me with one thin grey hand and opened his bright blue eyes.

"The nurses," he hissed. "I am beginning to feel that they mean me harm."

I nodded, and sat a bit longer, and reassured him, and afterwards I went to see the ICU registrar. I went on about post-operative psychosis, and Burian's childhood - he had been in some group called the Deutsches Jungvolk, a sort of Hitler Youth for tweenagers - until about eleven years old. And I mentioned the heart-rate of ninety eight in a post-surgical man in his late sixties, and asked if they had him on clexane, because he had that possible blood clot about a week back, but then again it depended on exactly which surgery he'd had, which nobody including Burian seemed to know a lot about - and I went on about a great many things until the ICU registrar had to leave, and doubtless as he left he gave instructions for me to be stopped by security next time and not allowed back into the building.

And I went back and reassured Burian that the nurses and doctors were bending all their skill and care towards making sure he was safe and that he recovered well, and that they were very practiced at dealing with cancer and depression and post-surgical psychosis and hip surgery. And he seemed a little reassured by this.

And the next day I went in and apparently later that day he'd clambered out of bed, trying to escape from something, and fallen a metre onto his side, onto the other hip, which was now quite badly bruised and painful.

I'm not one of these "telling the overworked nurses off" people, and I'm not saying it was their fault, I feel it was the doctor's, but thank Christ I wasn't in charge of the orthopaedics ward when that happened. There wouldn't have been any spare beds in ortho, I would have filled them all with staff.

Anyway - we shall see what happens. I have told Burian that there is every chance that he will be able to go home after the surgery. I did this speaking clearly, in a low and calm tone, and with a reassuring manner.

Top of my class for lying, seriously. Can do it better than anyone I've met. If it'd been one of our assessable clinical skills, I would have burnt the class.

So there's that.

Anyway. What else?

I am low, moodwise. This is quite possibly convenient - I feel I have still got some clearing up to do, post hypomania. I am busy buying fire-engines for two-year-olds and leaving timorous messages on my friends' answering machines.

I remain convinced, until it is demonstrated otherwise, that part of this depression is exogenous. It is a result of a number of things, of what is happening to Burian, of what is happening to Elizabeth, of those other things I mentioned.

Well, the taking of the valproate goes well - I remember most times. Is it working? Can't tell. If by working you mean "Is there some kind of one-on-one association between taking the tablets and a complete and total cessation of all symptoms", then it's not working. The wave moves on. After the high comes the low, things burn up then they burn out. But medicated crashes aren't as bad as unmedicated ones. We shal see.

And the state of play now: the sleep still isn't back to normal. The energy is stll there, more of an agitation, really. The concentration, not one hundred percent. The mood, fluctuates between so-so and those black hunched up moods that make me less than fun to be around.

Anyway. Don't have to go back to work until Tuesday, and that's at the half-a-brain job. I am going to ring Florey and tell them I'm off for the foreseeable. I shall check the mail to see if there are any bills from divorce lawyers Sarah may have seen.

And I'm taking the appropriate medication, and I'm seeing the appropriate specialist, and so forth.

So none of my friends have to call the mad-catchers on me, as I have done to many others.

Plus I'm doing all the other stuff - the gym, judo, that kind of stuff. Yesterday I went out with my son and we kicked the football around and talked - mostly me listening, just stuff about this new computer game he's got, how bad his math class is. At the end of the night he hugged me - and I reckon that's close on a first for a long time. And I had friends around and some marinated chicken thing and it's football season again. And I have comic book friends and medicine friends and even weirdo judo friends, and sooner or later I will be able to go back to Florey.

Things like this make it hard to be depressed for long.

Anyhow, thanks for listening. And for listening before.



Anonymous Camilla said...

Yay, glad to see you back again! I've been thinking about you a lot.

3:56 AM  
Blogger Foilwoman said...

Ditto what Camilla said. Hope the hogs arrived safe and sound. Not to overstate the case, but whenever I see a new post by you, I'm happier. Maybe we should test your blog for anti-depressant qualities. I'm glad you had a good visit with your son, and that things are regaining equilibrium. I know I don't know you, but your blog makes me wish I did. Best to you and TduCN (and all the existing, and soon to arrive, cats --you're getting more, don't you remember), and I will keep reading.

5:46 AM  
Blogger Benedict 16th said...

And the BennyDude thanks you for the fire engine, although he definitely prefers to ride it.

8:49 PM  
Blogger Bronze John said...

Thanks all. Equilibrium may be a bit premature, but hopefully not. Those are very cheering comments.

I reckon we do know each other a bit through our blogs. Sarah said if we ever go to the US we'd fly straight to whatever city you (FW) were in at the time, and we're both shyish, so that's something. And Belgium is first port of call for Europe.

Anyhow, will try to get some sleep. And anyone who comes over here has to see the Popelets. Absolutely lovely kids.


12:38 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home