My Cat and Dog Aren’t Fish

Cliche stock photo o' floating teal 'n' orange math equations by TORLEY on Flickr | Creative Commons License Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Cliche stock photo o’ floating teal ‘n’ orange math equations by TORLEY on Flickr | Creative Commons License Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

I never understood math. The numbers on the paper would trade places if I looked away, doing the equation ten times would result in ten different answers and how can you do an equation that has nothing but variables? That’s just insane.

At twenty-eight, a flash of understanding came to me about fractions and suddenly they were understood by me. It wasn’t my neurology making me stupid, I know now, it’s that I have to learn in another way. Teachers have to teach me in a different way, I need to problem solve in another way. The problem lies in being told that we’re stupid if we don’t conform to the thinking model called “normal” or “average”. Average thinkers teach average thinkers only and only typical thinkers. Anything deviating from that pattern is less smart than them, broken, “not-as-good-as”. It’s a really creative thinker who can go outside that arena and hit upon what works for the atypical learner.

Yes, I’m looking at you.

It’s a lot like the old joke about orgasms and a woman not having one with her partner. It’s not that she’s incapable of one because she has one just fine without him/her. Maybe the problem lies elsewhere.

Yes, I’m looking at you.

The problem with the idea that someone who appears obtuse about one thing must be just dumb idea is that I was able to grab fraction multiplication and division by myself in a matter of seconds when I saw it in a different light. That’s happened in many ways with others. I saw it in homeschool co-op, in public schools and I hear others talk about it. So maybe there needs to be other methods of teaching people, different sets of teaching methods.

Language, I need a language. If I don’t have landmarks there is nothing to hang my footing on, so first I need the language. Then, the rules of the road. What are the laws of this new venture, the roads and avenues to our goal? I need a map because I have memory issues (a four inch calcified tuber in the brain or so will do that. Accept it, own it and move with it.) so I’ll write down what would be the most simplistic of steps for others, that will allow me on scrambled days to function at normal levels. It also avoids any miscommunications. I once had a boss who wouldn’t allow me to carry a notepad but we ran from one room to the next non-stop with quickly tossed out specifics. He set people up, not just myself, purposely for failure. Expecting someone to know the lay of the land in ten minutes is not only unkind but ridiculous. That kind of behavior is why one woman went for lunch four hours after starting and never came back.

Learning something new, living on these new understandings of myself, of being neurologically different, not emotionally damaged beyond repair, can be tedious. A lot like a teenager, I want to know it now! “I know how to drive, I watch you all the time!” The fact is, I don’t, it’s new. I’m working at a superhuman pace to jump back into the world. Knowing where it’s my brain, other trauma and just being a dork and human is discovery every day. Am I overdoing it and expecting too much, too soon?

Last night I had the type of absence seizure I don’t see often, where consciousness isn’t completely lost. Of all the seizure, they are the hateful ones. My body kept moving, repeating the same small movement, unable to speak, unable to think thoughts of my own, just knowing what was happening but in a gutteral way. It’s a horrible feeling. Very emotional after, which sometimes happens, it was very pronounced this time. I kept it in as much as possible because these aren’t new, seizures aren’t new, we know this, right? Knowing it isn’t dissociation has shifted to knowing it’s seizures all this time. Why did this hit so hard?

It was the sense that it wasn’t going to be possible, even if I tried with everything in me, to live as the healthy and productive. Going down my checklist verbally; yes, I took my meds; yes, I slept; yes, I ate some; was more disheartening. Eventually, just crawling into bed I didn’t sleep like normal after one, I simply stared at my dogs almost black doe eyes. We lay nose to nose, just staring. How can I learn this new large world in such a short period of time without The Handicapped Card or the accusation of it’s use? I wouldn’t expect my dog to breathe underwater like a fish but he can work in water. My cat hates water but will stand at the shower and pull the curtain back to watch you like some creeper but neither are fish. They aren’t expected to work in the water naturally like fish. I’m out of my element.

Having missed a few appointments, tomorrow there was an opening and I’m squeezed in. I haven’t stepped on the scale and haven’t been eating well. It’ll be interesting to see what their scale reads. According to the bones in my ass when I sit on a hardwood chair, I’ve lost about five pounds. They will want to know everything and why. I expect some direction will be given as well as possible admonitions.

Something I noticed about a lot of us; we’re really good at the lecture part of the course but when the rubber hit’s the road and the lab or clinicals come around, it all falls apart. We all have our weaknesses, what one lacks in clinical thought, they may make up in intuitive thought and vice versa.

What I’ve done in the meantime is to keep myself from having another panic attack after a seizure:

  1. Keep a 3×5 card in my wallet explaining what’s happened and what I need to do. Keep that same one on my fridge. It will also be helpful for others when it happens. Write about the emotional time afterward, that I cry or sometimes get childishly belligerent. Allow it unless dangerous etc.
  2. Get back to the doctor routine again as soon as I have the others in my life in maintenance.
  3. Discuss my situation with someone who’s judgment I trust, someone who will give me a dispassionate view with my goal, abilities, and shortcomings in mind.
  4. Eat.
    1. Living off tea is basically a chemical wash of glucose, adrenaline, and insulin. Couple this with other issues it’s a storm waiting to happen.
    2. Protein. We all know this one, brain and muscle, keeping insulin at normal levels.
    3. Less processed carbs. See above.
  5. Sleep. I’ve done much better with this issue but I need to be more consistent. Knowing the need for a nap regardless of how much sleep was attained the night before, it’s simply denial on my part to think I won’t go face down part way through my day. Like a tree slowly losing it’s root grounding … “Ah, hey. I’m going down. Excuse me? Guy? ZZzzZz” or worse yet, a glitch in my matrix.


To those who say we are not our illness, I clearly disagree. I am my illness, my illness is me. To say I’m not is to express shame or denial of myself, of who and what I am in every minute of my day. My being is defined by the shape of my genetics, of its role in who I am, in my movements, my thinking, my color, shape, and so forth. I should no more be asked to deny, avoid or be ashamed of my height than my illness. It is as if to say being TSC, or epileptic or having Bipolar or any other deviation from what is considered average should be avoided at all costs so do not in any way shape or form decide to live with it and live within its parameters and around new paths for your own full life. To pretend that I don’t need more sleep than the average bear is not only stupid to be stupid but will almost guarantee a neurological event soon, it is part and parcel of my genetics, to my makeup. That is neither good nor bad, it simply exists. Finding how I can fit into this world is the crux of the problem.

I better go eat something and take my meds. If I show up tomorrow and report that I screwed up even one dose it will not bode well. Besides, I think E. made cookies.








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