Monday, July 24, 2006

The Goldfish Who Knew Too Much

Too much stuff in my brain. Way too much stuff.

For one thing, there are all the things I need to do. I have never been able to remind myself that I am technically incapacitated; severely disabled and actually I don't have to do anything at all; I am a write-off. Should my health not improve, I will not be obliged to do a day's work for the rest of my life. Nonsense, of course, I have lots of things to do. These include;

Writing - this is my work work. I am amazed anyone still believes that I am writing a book, it is taking so long.

Blogging - this is not work, but is something I do to help me work, by getting this nonsense out of my system. In theory. In truth, I sometimes use all my energy to do this just so I can communicate.

Letters and e-mails - I am always owing them. Some of them I have reason to feel very bad about.

Household administration - this is very important, but so tedious. I am plain naughty about this if I am totally honest.

The Washing - this is not at all a big deal, but it is the one chore I am responsible for. I have been for years and years and yet I still run out of socks on a regular basis.

My projects - I began to list my projects out loud one day when I was feeling overwhelmed. I lied, naming only five. There are in fact about a dozen. Most of them are primarily for the benefit of other people. So my tardiness lets other people down, whether they know about it or not.

And this is before I have left the house ever. Meanwhile, there is everything else that is cluttering up my mind. Well, you get to see some of the crap that it comes up with, but there's also loads of other absolute nonsense; world events, petty domestic events, friends, Romans, preoccupations of all variety.

It is like having a computer with several programs opened at once, perhaps twenty or twenty-five. And someone's clicking Alt+Tab to navigate between the programs, staying briefly on one program before moving on to another. Sometimes it lingers for longer, but when it does, it's usually lingering on something you can't do anything with, a page you've read many times before. Meanwhile, you can see all the other programs on your Taskbar and are well aware that there are many many other things you ought to be doing.

And the really annoying thing is my capacity for stuff. I have a high IQ. I know a lot of stuff, so much useless nonsense about all sorts of subject matter which just pops out from nowhere. True things, facts, not just my weird and wonderful ideas about the world - which also pop out from nowhere. I am very good at Trivial Pursuit, but that's kind of telling isn't it, there's a clue in the title of that game. I know I am a bit obsessed with the fact but... three GCSEs. And this fact makes me think, maybe I should be trying to complete my education instead of faffing about writing books and blogging and doing all these petty artistic projects? Perhaps all this is actually a rather immature approach to life. Not that a degree would do me any good.

After all, I have very little energy. Currently, I am on adrenalin because I am awake at an hour I should not be awake. I spend so much time doing absolutely nothing.

And one o'clock in the morning, in case you are wondering, is hypochondria. No, I'm not a hypochondriac, I am just a sick person who hates going to the doctors. And because I hate going, I worry more than necessary when I get a new symptom. Just now isn't anything to do with my general health, but I have a suspicious mole. I have had a mole in that place for as long as I can remember, but it has grown somewhat, it is now multicoloured, no longer symmetrical and it itches. Not very big though; not as big as a pencil eraser and that's my excuse for inaction.

You see, it is in a personal place - it is on my side, close to my breast so I would have to take my bra off for the doctor to look at it. My doctor is male, so we would both have to hike to the nurse's room so a lady can be present. And then... it was humiliating enough last time, during The Case of the Ever-Expanding Bosom and it seems an awful lot of fuss over a mole. Especially as I have never knowingly exposed that area of my body to sunlight.

And so, I've just been worrying about it, hoping that it will go away. But tonight I had to get out of bed and come on-line in order to dismiss my fears - which of course I didn't. Bugger. I know of course that even if I have a little cancer, it is unlikely to be a great problem at this stage - I'm not actually worried about that one little bit, just worried that I really ought to face the misery of trekking to the doctors and taking off my clothes. Because to do otherwise would be irresponsible, even if it is almost certainly nothing.

Oh pathetic person, go to bed.


Mary said...

Do you do the thing I do, where everything is so overwhelming that you end up doing nothing, or at least nothing that is "important", or worst of all taking on a new project?

If that's what you're describing there, my plan of attack is generally "I will file ONE piece of paper!" I pick up one piece of paper and put it in the appropriate file. Yay me! I do believe I'll do it again! Five pieces of paper later, that's enough, but hey, that's fine, let's have a little rest.

Now, I do believe I will wash up ONE cup. Yay me! While I've got the hot water here, I'll do a teaspoon and a plate to go with it! Oh, I'm such a good little home-maker... Sit down on my kitchen chair for a moment... Now, that water's still hot, I think I'll do another cup! Woo! Man I'm good!

Short version: Think of one bit of paper as A *Whole* Bit Of Paper, rather than a tiny fraction of the mountain of paper that needs to be dealt with.

It's a very slow way of doing things, and I know it sucks to spend all your uptime doing householdy things when there are much more interesting things to do, but it really makes you feel like a Good Person who deserves attention and biscuits.

(she said, browsing the internet commenting on people's blogs from her bed.)

Sally said...

Think of ill health and disability as being Royalty. Expect people to meet your requirements with due deference. Docs - Await their comming into your presence. Require them to visit you at home. Require them to be female where bodily exposure is required. Recline royally. These are the needs of your disabilities.

Moles. I've had a few.
The smallest brownest itchiest was taken out with something like a hole punch (Charles will probably know the procedure) at the hospital. I was on a conveyor belt of patients (in my wheelchair) and it took a mere few minutes. Confirmed later as benign. But your local hospital ought to have an alternative for those whose health will be severely depleted by the mere thought of going to a hospital and waiting in a queue, even sat down.

The biggest palest most growing turned out to be not even worth talking about; the dermatologist talked about something else I had going on, for the benefit of the student. Don't mind me. I hijacked his discussion for a short lesson in women being assumed to be neurotic, when in fact they have serious undiagnosed illnesses. For the benefit of the student.

The filing stacks up but the home help does the laundry. Then I go outside and re-pegged the lot from the wheelchair.

Bye the way, thanks for the recommendation of Susan Wendell's 'The Rejected Body'. Excellent.

Mary said...

Aargh, "for the benefit of the student".

Doctor, this appointment was made at a time to suit you. I cleared out my diary for a week before and after because coming to the hospital and waiting for two hours in the waiting room exhausts me. Then you cancelled and rearranged at short notice so I had to rebook my life for a different two weeks, but never mind. Now I'm here, let's do things for the benefit of my health, hmmm?

I don't mind students observing. I don't even mind if the student is asking or being asked a couple of relevant questions. But I want the qualified doctor to be the one who is examining me, and I want the qualified doctor to be the one who is giving me information.

BloggingMone said...

But do not wait too long. Even if nothing is wrong with that mole, itching can be very annoying. How about visiting a female doctor in this case? By the way, I was surprised to learn that there has to be a female nurse present during the examination. We don't have that.

The Goldfish said...

For some reason, it simply never occurred to me to ask to see a female doctor - I don't know why. I should have done this with my bosom problem, but I don't think I realised how I would feel about it beforehand. Thanks ladies, I have booked an appointment for Friday.

Mary - give yourself a biscuit. ;-) You're very right. I must say that even if I had my health, I imagine I would be a crap homemaker. However, I took your advice today and managed to write a particularly troublesome paragraph in my book - about 200 words, but 200 important words that I won't have to edit again. :-)

Sally - I am afraid I am still pretty bad at the royalty thing about causing any kind of 'fuss' - even fuss that other people are set up to accommodate.

I can't remember recommending Sue Wendall, and whilst I know of her and the book I can't remember reading it. Anyway, glad it was good. #-)

Mone - I must say the one time I needed an intimate exam by my male doctor, the necessity to have another woman present just added to the embarassment for me. It drew attention to the fact that this was a man examining my breasts - if it had just been the two of us I wouldn't have minded so much; I am quite comfortable talking to him about my personal plumbing. It made it into a bit of a drama.

But of course, it is for his protection as well as mine, and I guess it is easier for all concerned than having to deal with any allegation.

Anonymous said...

I can see from the symptoms you list that you know you ought to see a doctor about this, so well done.

I hear from an older colleague that the Mammography Service - you know the vans that go around doing x-rays - is specifically exempted from the sex discrimination laws. They are allowed to specify female employees only. This is probably because chaperonage would be impossible in those circumstances.

Most male docs and nurses prefer chaperonage for, as you say, our own protection, sadly.

Katie said...

Easy solution to the sock problem - buy more socks. (I have lots of pants. It means I have to do less laundry, which saves stamina, which I don't have much of in the first place. Copious underwear is a disability essential and I won't have it any other way.)

Well done for the appointment on the mole.

And I can beat all your student stories. I have an occasional hormone problem unrelated to my CP which sometimes causes me to see my GP. (Ooh, that rhymes.) She has to check it is the hormonal thing and I'm not pregnant.

Last time, she had a student with her. As usual, she asked if there was any possibility I might be pregnant, I said no. Then the conversation took an unusual turn. She asked if I was sexually active at the moment. Now, I assumed that's what the 'any possibility' in the pregancy question meant, so was quite surprised. I said, "No, not at the moment."

The good bit was when she said, "But you have been, haven't you? You often are?" Well, yes, but she knows that too.

Then I realised: she wanted the student to know disabled people have sex too... I consider that my contribution to medical science. And a very good one it is too.

midwesterntransport said...

I tried to post a comment the other day, but blogger was being stupid.

a) I am jealous that you are such a good Trivial pursuit player. I tend to get the arts stuff right, but i'm not so hot with the general knowledge, though i LOVE to play. in fact, last new year's, GF and i wanted to buy trivial pursuit 6 for our evening with friends and we just *could* not *find* it. we found trivial pursuit star wars. trivial pursuit book lover's edition. trivial pursuit lord of the rings.

by the end, i was nearly pulling my hair out, screaming, "doesn't anyone play PLAIN OLD TRIVIAL PURSUIT anymore?" doesn't all of that specialization defeat the original intent of the game?


b) i'm glad you went to the doctor.

c) i don't think all of your pursuits are petty. they all sound rather interesting, and though you may ultimately be blogging just for yourself, i for one am glad to read your thoughts during my rather boring work day.

when i graduated from university and quit acting for a while, i got a few jobs in san francisco and was just stunned when i learned what awaited me outside of school:

you mean people just WORK? that's IT? what the hell do they do with their time?

when i moved to new york and started working as a legal temp, i was even more depressed. jeez, folks just have their jobs and go home and have their weekends and it's pretty much the same, year in year out? rather beckettian, i think.

we all find different ways to make meaning in our lives and different ways of keeping our brains or bodies active.

whatever works for you: i applaud.