Posted by: jeanne | October 15, 2008

i’m up with a cold

it’s a full moon, i can’t lay my head down for draining my sinuses into my nose and down my throat, and sitting up and having a sneezing fit, and blowing my nose a few times, using up yet another silk handkerchief that i had intended to use as a sale item. i don’t get any sleep sleeping sitting up, so i don’t get any sleep. this for the third night running.

but that’s a full moon for you. 3 days of strange behavior and pressures, but that’s another post.

i applied for disability back in march when i came down with debilitating fatigue and intestinal upset (that sounds nicer than spongy goo), and by september they had denied me. all what everybody says, except for the few who got it right away (40% according to social securty).

my condition has worsened since march. not cancer, because they keep doing the tests and they keep finding i’m healthy as a horse. but i’m more tired, i’m losing weight, i’m depressed, and i can’t do my work. and that’s why i applied for disability. because i’m not making enough to sell, and i don’t have the drive and enthusiasm to continue working the way i need to in order to make a living.

poor pitiful me. my records don’t show any of these things, however, they show someone who’s not dying to an oncologist, someone who doesn’t have uterine cancer to a gyn, and someone who is doing just fine to the surgeon who took out my first lump years ago. all of them think i’m a specimen of perfect post cancer health.

but i can’t do my work. i’m too tired. i’m too depressed.

and shell-shocked. i don’t know whether it was the tornado in march, or the sister’s wedding family trauma in march, or what, but since march i’ve been startled by loud noises, don’t sleep well, forget all sort of mental things, like what word to use, have all sorts of aches and pains.

jim thinks i’m insulin resistant, pre-diabetic. tired all the time is a symptom.

is chronic fatigue grounds for granting disability? you’d have to be expected to die of it before they’d grant it to you. of course, they’d rather you die before they granted it to you, it helps their numbers and ensures that disability payments actually go to those who need them.

so my little doctor person told me that i have to present myself at sheffield clinic or grady hospital and tell them that i suffer from some back trouble, some digestive trouble, some mental trouble, and oh yes fatigue, and force them to diagnose me – as a pain in the ass, not as disabled.

the trouble is that i’m manic whenever i’m out in public, so i don’t look like i can’t do anything. i look like i used to, with twelve things to cross out of my daybook every day. but a few minutes of that and i’m exhausted and can’t go on, and have to lie down now. nobody sees the depression. i just sit and stare at the satellite loop and think faraway thoughts, and hours pass, and then it’s time for bed.

but if i don’t go park myself on the hospital steps, then my appeal will go nowhere, so i’m going to head into a nother round of testing that won’t find anything. we’ll just keep getting more and more obscure until the testing itself causes my death.

but i’m not low, no. i have all my lovely artwork to look at, and all these ideas to watch float by, and all that sleep to catch up on. and now i’ve been handed an art residency in a place i actually want to go, and i’m a little concerned that the trip there will make me sick, and i won’t be able to do anything for half the time i’m there.

i found out the last few times i tried to travel that i don’t travel well at all. like a hat in a suitcase. i get sick every time. i’m miserable. i just want to be home, and wonder if i can walk it right then and there.

so i’m shooting for a residency next fall, and we’ll have to see how far i can get with it.

and in the meantime i’m in the peak of health, except for these little things that trouble me.



  1. Jeanne:

    This sounds so difficult. It is hard enough to be sick and diagnosed, how hard it must be to be sick and undiagnosed.

    How can you not feel somewhat depressed and full of anxieties since having cancer. When we are hit with the worse, why not again.

    I know even if I have a mark on my hand I think I have leprosy.

    I am hoping that you get rest, get disability, and have energy to go back to your art.

    Take care.


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