Monday, December 1, 2014

Silent; invisible

More poetry, about being 14 and losing my vision, in what was likely my first NMO attack. Doctors at the time diagnosed me with conversion disorder, but I think it was the experience of being tested and tested and tested that led me to have dissociative experiences. Were they diagnosing the emotional response that the illness and testing produced? I suppose this is why I always chat with technicians during procedures - it reminds me that all of me is there.

When my world went invisible
the doctors went silent
and I heard whispers between my heartbeats
and searched for songs in mechanized beeping.
And I became silent, invisible
as they glued and unglued
electrodes, sensors
separating my brain from my mind
(assuring me they were "watching my brain, not reading my mind")
in a quest for the invisible, or silent
scars that made me blind.
They said these tests would be painless
but they never assessed
the pain when they still were silent
and my world was still invisible,
and the pain of teaching my fear to be silent, invisible.
And I stayed silent,
made my body invisible, segmented, and still
so they could numb my blind eyes,
restrain my fingers even though they were trained
not to interfere with the needle in my vein.
So I learned to be patient and watch the closed door
and knit cheerfully in the waiting room, intact,
as they pushed pieces of my body into machines
to see more of me
than I could of myself.
Each mistaken medical dictation 
broke their silence, breaking down
each fragment they held custody of
decomposing me
leaving little matter to matter
in an invisible autopsy.

That was an intense one to write. I am still working through a piece about how that period made me feel so crazy, for so long. Sometimes I still feel that I'm "just crazy" and that even the nausea is just a trick. Apparently that fear is so entrenched that, even when I'm totally aware of it, the side effects of a chemotherapy drug can't quite dislodge it.

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