What’s the Point?


So what is going to happen?  I give that some thought.  First, I don’t want Nurse Sharon to touch me, so I would have to get a new home health care agency and a new nurse.  But I also don’t want a stranger touching me.  There just comes a time when you get tired of strangers picking and poking at you, and I’ve reached that time.  Catheters have to be changed every four weeks.  Failure to do so will result in infection.  Because of the damage to my immune system, I cannot tolerate any medications to fight an infection.  So why not remove the catheter?

Last year my glomerular filtration rate (GFR) was down to 34.  At 32, you enter end-stage renal disease.  After I got the catheter, I started sleeping all night instead of waking up every two hours.  And with no intervention other than sleeping well every night, my GFR went up to 58.  Normal is 60.  In the ten years of waking every two hours every night, six physicians refused to prescribe a catheter.  They said it wasn’t medically necessary.  Sleep is not medically necessary?

As I write this, I come to this point in the story and sit and stare out the window.  I’m looking at a couple apartment buildings, a lot of green trees and a pale blue sky with puffy white clouds.  Physicians are fucking idiots.  I could tell you everything I tried in order to get them to work with me.  I could give you all the reasons why they wouldn’t.  I could describe how well I was doing in recovering from psychiatric drugs until the chronic fatigue started to suck the life out of me.  I could do that.

Would you learn anything?  Would it change anything for you?  If it would, I’d be glad to go there and show you those pictures.  But I have no indication that you would make use of that information, and I certainly don’t want to go there.  It’s over; the damage has been done.  Move on.

So the point is that if the catheter is removed then I quickly will slide into end-stage kidney failure.  How about that?  And, again because I can’t tolerate any medications for anything, there will be no dialysis or kidney transplant.  There will be death.

How about that?

How about removing the catheter and the auto BiPAP breathing machine?  They are what’s keeping me alive.  And I’ve got just one thing to say to you:  Terry Schiavo.  She was brain-dead and kept alive with tube feedings for fifteen years: meat with a heartbeat and no soul.

(And, in researching this article, I discovered multiple web sites devoted to jokes about Schiavo.  Most of them are really, really awful jokes and as you read them and smile you can contemplate the nature of humor and your own dark soul.  Some of the less rancid jokes:

(Did you hear that Terri Schiavo is going to be the new spokesperson for bulimia?  Turns out that if you don’t eat then taxpayers will support you for fifteen years while you lay on your butt staring at the ceiling fan.

(How many Terri Schiavos does it take to change a light bulb? Just the one to hold it; the media will make sure the world spins around her.

(Circa 2005:  What’s the difference between the Pope and Terri Schiavo?  The Pope has a feeding tube.)

Terri Schiavo was dead but the medical industry kept her alive.  If any physician with balls had said, “Enough already” then Schiavo could have been released to continue her spiritual journey.  If her family had trusted in the Lord more than their own selfish clinginess, then Schiavo could have gone on her way.  If anybody in their right mind had said, “What’s the point?” then Schiavo could have been released.

Ah, yes, her husband fought for that for years.  Hooray for the man who set her free.

And what of me?  What’s the point?  Because of psych meds, I neither married nor had children.  Somewhere around this blog there are a couple of posts about how medications—including your birth control pills, babe—mess up your pheromones.  Pheromones are little hormones that send and receive odors, i.e., they’re the mating hormone.  Men and women smell each other, just like cats and dogs.

Eighteen months after I started taking antidepressants, men stopped being attracted to me.  I did not have a single date for the entire twenty-six years that I took psych meds.  Eighteen months after I stopped taking them, men again became attracted to me.  I had not gotten any younger or slimmer, but I now was shooting off really healthy pheromones.  Since I stopped taking drugs ten years ago, I’ve had four pretty good relationships with men, ranging in duration from three months to three years.

Your lousy love life may not be because of your weight or your income:  it may be because of your drugs, i.e., “medications.”  You want to have a good life?  Find alternatives to your drugs.  What’s a good marriage worth to you?  Exercise?  Eat your vegetables?  Go to bed earlier?  Self-control instead of “birth-control?”

For me, it’s too late.  I didn’t do the research and learn the lessons until after I was of childbearing age, so I have no children or grandchildren.  What would your life be worth to you without yours?  How much of your joy of living centers on your spouse and children?  Take them away and what have you got?  Anything worth living for?

About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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