This is a piece describing my feelings as I make my way through this part of my life.
|I had an MRI yesterday. Of my brain. In another state. Next week, I have an EEG. Of my brain waves. Four hours away. Then I have labs and a pre-op appointment here in my own town. The next day. The day after that, I have my ECT. For the month. Finally, before I leave for another state to help my parents repair their house, I see my psychiatrist. The day after my ECT. Thank God. All while I am finally on vacation for a month from graduate school in psychology, having just finished summer session with two very intense classes (clinical research design and bereavement) and applying to a medical school in Mexico. That means that I have to learn Spanish, and that keeps my schedule of learning and progressing very busy. Now, do not think that I am complaining about this. I am not. I am simply laying out the challenges that are presenting themselves during a time when I can usually relax a bit. My "break".
So, whose expectations am I trying to fulfill with all this, anyway? Well, my own, primarily. In all cases. The MRI and the EEG are diagnostics that my neurologist needs to run to find out if I have a seizure disorder. If I do, they can treat it, and I can drive and swim and take baths again. The pre-op and labs are for the ECTs. The ECTs? My psychiatrist hopes that they will help me with the suicidal ideation that I feel all the time. ECT has been a miracle for me and I look forward to each one. My parents. They are aging and my father is not in good health. My mother cannot repair the house by herself. They raised me to be a hard worker. I believe that it is primarily their expectations that I am fulfilling by going to help them, but my expectations of myself play a heavy hand as well. I bought a new pair of work boots for the job. That tells you something about my commitments. Seeing my psychiatrist. I hope that we both get something out of that. I know that I have the best doctor that I could ever have and that he rather enjoys our sessions together as well. Graduate school in psychology? That was kind of a fill-in that turned into a major goal while I attempted to get into medical school. Kind of an "in the meantime" thing. Now I am more than half way through and want to finish it. And medical school. My ultimate goal. So that I can help people and deal with the most fascinating things in the world while providing a good retirement life for my spouse, who is significantly older than I am. Learning Spanish? Well, I have to say that I doubt myself at times, but I love the language and always have. I have quite an extended background in it and am currently continuing my learning. I can read it pretty well. Finding the words to speak it is harder for me, but my pronunciation is good. I am enjoying that. I must admit, though, that all of this weighs heavy upon me right now and I have GOT to get back to playing my guitar some. That is my major relaxation activity. I am also trying to lose weight, so making time for that is also a challenge, but I will figure out how to do it. Not to worry. I can handle this, or at least that is what I tell myself.
What IF, though...? What if I have a seizure disorder that needs treatment? I am relatively sure, feeling it in my gut, that I do. More medication is what that means. And more side effects. For my entire life. What if I am unable to finish my graduate degree? What if I get sick? What if I cannot get into medical school? What if I cannot learn Spanish well enough to pass medical school? What if, what if, what if... Other people live that way. I do not. I have never lived that way. When I joined the Service, I did not say, "What if I get sent into combat?" which I did. I still suffer greatly for that. When I went swimming every day because it was my favorite athletic activity, I did not say, "What if I drown?" When I ran miles and miles in the Middle Eastern Desert in the scorching heat that would melt you standing still, I did not say, "What if I die?" Why now, do I even entertain the formation of the question, "What IF?" What has happened to me? Why do I say now, "What if I never lose this excess weight that I have put on due to the medications?" Why now do I say, "What IF?"