There is truth to the adage Johnny Depp quoted in “Pirates of the Caribbean”: “Crazy people don’t know they’re crazy”. Whenever Lyme is flaring up, I am always slow to realize it’s happening. The first signs are the same. Aches and pains, headaches, a heavy fatigue, and a brain that skips and skitters. Obviously I ignore them all. If my balance is off, or I drop things, well, it’s because I’m tired, or stressed, or hungry, or too cold, or too hot, or not thinking. Ahhh, the not thinking. I NEVER think I’m not thinking. Instead, I have days like yesterday and today.
I went for a walk early in the morning, when it is cool. The bottoms of my feet throbbed (a strange, but telling sign of a bartonella flare up) and I fumbled and dropped the dog’s leashes more than once. What else did I do? It is the day after that I write this, and I can’t fucking remember what I did yesterday. Another sign I conveniently shove aside. Oh, right. I cleaned the kitchen, vacuumed, and mopped the floors. Then I studied Spanish for today’s class. Did I cook? I don’t think so. I did do the Sunday crosswords. I do the NYT, LATimes, and Washington Post Sunday crosswords. Don’t be too impressed, I’ve been doing them for years.
My friend Kathy Fernandes and I used to do crosswords together waaaaay back in 1978. I struggled mightily back then, but now, on a good Sunday, I can complete all three in under an hour. Jesus Christ. I’ve been doing crosswords for over forty years. I’d better be good at them. So. I did those things, and read a little. Still hasn’t dawned on me that I’m not thinking clearly.
Today I walk early again, without the dogs. I drop off my ballot for tomorrow’s primary at Lakewood’s City Hall, a short ten-minute walk from my house. I come home and let the cat out into the back yard. Oops, the neighbor’s cat is in our yard and Esme streaks away, chasing the other cat. I call out to her, as if she were a dog and would listen. I debate on whether or not to call Katie and tell her the cat is gone. In the time it takes me to check the front yard and walk back through the house, she’s reappears, licking her paws and looking quite pleased with herself.
I check my email. An invoice I paid yesterday has bounced back. I didn’t enter the correct information. I drop a bowl and break it. I check my Facebook feed. Here’s where it gets tricky, ever fucking time. I read someone else’s good news about their work, and start to wonder what I’m doing. I start to mentally beat myself up. I sit down to study. No dice. I sew some masks and realize I have sewn the elastic in backwards. I throw the masks down in frustration and begin to study again. My mechanic calls and tells me my car is nearly dead, unless I want to spend a few grand on the exhaust system and manifold. I don’t know what a manifold is and I know my car is dying. What am I doing with my life? I prick my finger with the seam ripper and stew inside.
This is where the light bulb goes off. Well, it’s hardly a light bulb…more like an old-fashioned match in a very dark cave. “I’m having a flare up,” I think to myself. “I’m not thinking clearly!” Then I think about that for awhile. Is that true, or am I just being (insert a myriad of words here: lazy, stupid, stubborn, stressed-out)? Nope. Definitely a flare up.
The admission gives me an instant sense of relief. It’s not technically an admission, since I’m not admitting anything to myself. I’m recognizing that my brain isn’t working well at the moment. The next step is deciding what I have to do and what I don’t have to do in the near future. Naturally, since I’m not thinking clearly, I decide to write a blog instead of making more masks, studying for tonight’s Spanish class, or writing. My throat hurts a little. Maybe I have COVID-19. It’s not a stretch. Many of the symptoms are the same. I’ve spent a fair amount of time these last few months playing ‘is it Lyme or COVID?’ Nope. Not COVID.
My brain will not be able to stay on any topic for too long. I’m going to have to flit from task to task, accomplishing what I can and letting the rest go. This will mean some time will be spent discovering mistakes and missteps and having to correct them, like having to pick the seams out of three masks and resewing them. I’ll go ahead and publish this before I’ve checked to see if makes any sense. That way I can go back and read it later and wonder what the hell I was thinking.
I don’t know how long I’ve been this way this time. Katie has been house sitting or with her boyfriend. Maybe my friend Laura noticed something on Saturday. It doesn’t really matter, in some ways. In other ways, it does. I left the hose on for over an hour yesterday when I was filling the pond. What things would I overlook if I was alone? The fog will disappear at some point, and I’ll forget all about it until next time. Then I will go through the whole cycle once again, none the wiser, again. A perfect Lyme circle.