A Minor Second

Yesterday, in the middle of trimming the tree, I realized that I had made a dire mistake.

I’d woken up around 5:30, and spent some time watching TV before I rattled Dana out of bed. By the time she got up and we got breakfast rolling, it was 8:30. We got busy pulling the branches apart in star patterns, and by 10:30, I was curled in the fetal position on the guest bed crying my eyes out.

Nothing was wrong except that I’d forgotten to take my psych meds. I have to take them at the same time every day, or the lag time in getting another dose on board will cause my brain to rebel. It starts to feel a little sticky, like I’m hung over, and if I don’t take my medicine right then, I have about 20 minutes until my brain says, “screw you, lady… they don’t pay me enough for this” and begins trying to climb out of my skull. If there is absolutely no way that I can get to my medication when I need it, I can SOMETIMES self-medicate with large doses of caffeine and Advil.

Yesterday, apparently, I took a large dose of distraction along with a heaping tablespoon of “I’m going to ignore the signs because I’m busy.”

Oprah says that if you don’t listen to a sign the first time, it will get louder and louder until it knocks your punk ass down. Consider my punk ass knocked. Dana brought me my meds in the guest room and held me while I sobbed in misery until the medication kicked in. She didn’t have to. She could have just watched TV until I cried it out. It’s not like there’s anything emotionally wrong. But she didn’t. She stayed and “sniggled” me until it was over, and I couldn’t have been more grateful, because I was able to bounce back faster. Literally, within ten minutes I was able to go back to trimming the tree.

But let’s back up for a second. I want to talk about what happens before my medicine kicks in, because it’s clinically important to me that I get this down in writing.

Do you remember those old commercials by the Emergency Broadcasting System? The ones where this grating electronic tone plays for almost a minute until a voice comes on and says “THIS HAS BEEN A TEST OF THE…” Now, they still have those commercials every once in a while, but the tone they play isn’t nearly as grating.

I know, because the old one is the one that plays in my head when I’m late taking my medication. It is as if the left side of my brain is playing an A while the right is playing an A Flat. The twenty minutes it takes for the medication to kick in fully is the twenty minutes it takes for that A flat to become an F. Hell, even a G is an improvement. While this is happening I just stand there like John Malkovich screaming “IT’S MY HEAD!”

But as soon as the meds kick in, I’m fine. It happens just as quickly as a pianist letting go of the keys.


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