Ahh, focus. If only. The last six months have felt rather dream-like. Sure, there is always dissociation, sometimes more, or less. But by last November I hit the pretty much routine and expected “post-weight loss surgery iron deficiency.” The standard treatment is iron infusions, but I endured six months of kabuki with a hematologist who’d never dealt with my surgery type (duodenal switch), and did not believe me or my data. Instead, she insisted on something completely counter-intuitive: to take a bare minimum of oral iron for at least three months. And I had to get a colonoscopy “to rule out internal bleeding.” Meanwhile, my iron numbers just worsened. (Duh!) I jumped through every hoop, and finally had two iron infusions in May.
During that six month period, I experienced ever-increasing symptoms of iron deficiency: horrible insomnia, inability to stay focused, constant fatigue, headaches. Days without writing turned into frustrated months. I was stressed by both the hematologist’s dictates, and my declining physical and mental abilities. I was told in mid-May to not expect any effect from the iron infusions for 4-8 weeks.
Within a week of the second iron infusion, my beloved avatar kitty Shayla passed away at age 16. We got her as a kitten to befriend a feral Siamese kitten, Bandit, that we’d trapped and taken inside over the winter. Bandit has never let us touch her in all those 16 years, and suddenly she lost her only friend. For the last three weeks I’ve spent countless hours each day trying to comfort and console Bandit, mostly by talking with her. She cries constantly. She needs coaxing to eat. We installed a Feliway infuser, which may be helping with her anxiety, I don’t really know. She’s making very slow progress. We are witness to her unending grief, and are unable to truly process our own while she is in this constant state of anguish.
So I’ve struggled to find and maintain focus, and to write anything to completion. I’m in week 5 of the 4-8, and growing very impatient to get on with it. My sleep is improving, and exhaustion doesn’t quite feel like my normal state now. The most frustrating thing is that for six months I’ve felt like I’ve finished my pending book Don’t Forget About You — inside my head. It’s just getting it transferred into a computer that seems so elusive.
Finishing this blog post in the midst of this struggle is an important first step for me. I hope you’ll continue this journey with me, as I have lots to say, and it’s way past time that I make that manifest.