Friday, April 28, 2006

Cry if you want

So last Friday my special wife took me to the paleodentist1 so that he could take an impression for a palatal lift. He ground four notches in my upper teeth which I could not detect in the mirror at home, but which were unpleasant in the making. Then he put goo in my mouth that had to stay in for four minutes. The first time he put the goo in the back of my throat I thought I was being asphyxiated, so I pulled it out and ruined the mold. Then he used another type of goo application technique and that went well enough, despite some anxiety I had about access to air, and one moment when it was difficult to swallow.

Then my brilliant wife accompanied me down the stairs and out of the building. I've seen plenty of 90-year-olds who are more spry than I am. I move like I'm 100 years old, very slowly and stiffly. As she was helping me down the stairs it struck me how far I've declined. It seemed unfair to me that she should be subjected to this. My mind formulated it in these terms: What happened to your husband? She married a youthful, vigorous 36-year-old, and now less than seven years later she's taking care of a 100-year-old. It seemed like a theft to me, and tears welled in my eyes, behind the sunglasses. A couple of times in the parking lot I tried to say that I was sorry. But my voice broke and we wound up hugging.

The wailing, crying, and angry sobs happened in the car, while my capable wife drove us home, trying to understand what I was screaming and crying about. "Unfair?" She'd ask. "Internet?" I was not only sad and angry about my condition, I was also frustrated at how hard it is to communicate. The bit about the internet made me laugh and sob at the same time. I think I was trying to say something like "This is bullshit!" but I don't remember now.

I wailed and cried for about 10 minutes in the car, but started flying level as we neared home. People with ALS often suffer from lability -- uncontrollable laughing or crying brought on by neurological deterioration -- even though the patient may not find the situation particularly sad or funny.

I concluded that my weeping and wailing was genuine, but triggered by the stress of anxiety over asphyxiation during the impression procedure.

Inwardly I felt somewhat sad, but not to the extent my dramatic keening would indicate.

I'm not going to take Namenda.

Left grip is 25 pounds (25, 25, 24), right grip is 59 pounds (57, 58, 59). I don't know how to explain the drop in right grip strength.

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