In 2008, Akila ended up in hospital for 1 month, having woken up with numbness down one side of her body and a swollen and blue arm. At the end of multiple tests and no clear results, she was informed that it was psychological. Fortunately, a couple of days later they did in fact find evidence of a virus, but during those two days, both she and I expressed a lot of emotion.
I wrote the following at that time;
After almost a month in the hospital, a gizillian tests, Akila was being discharged and we were told her problem with lack of mobility and feeling down her right side were physiological. Boy did that make me and her depressed. The symptoms were far from the mind, they were real and we could all see it. I needed space and so left Akila early that night. When I arrived at the ward the next day the doctors wanted to talk. To their surprise an “abnormality” had shown up. Clearly a virus had attacked her Central Nervous System. Both Akila and I were relieved; at last we could put her condition in a box.
Over the past month, there has been a growing awareness that “grief”, the process of accepting loss, is the main issue I am dealing with but not the only one. In many of the books I have read, there is something omitted but I could not put my hand on it. I searched the internet and still could not find what I was looking for. This morning I finally found the ‘box’.
I have talked to Kathy about that morning. In truth, the further in time I get away from that morning, the uglier it is getting. Early on in the ‘grief process’ I said ‘no father should have to experience what I have’, but there was a lot more to that statement than I realized. To-date, ‘shock’, is the most fitting word I have found to express my experience. To walk into Mike’s room, see him lying on the bed dead, walk over and shake his dead body to see if what I am looking at is the correct interpretation, carrying him off the bed at the emergency services instruction and pumping his chest with all the horrific gurgling noises, when I know he is dead, is just utterly horrible.
I have become more aware that there is a section within the story that is separate to the ‘loss of Mike’ and I wanted to identify, categorize and process that. Descriptions like, ‘an event or situation that causes great distress and disruption’, ‘a response by normal people to an abnormal situation’, have been a start.
I then came across Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which sounds very dramatic but the more I read; the more I identify symptoms and words that I identify with. When we are confronted with a horrible sight, that causes us to ‘replay the tape’ over and over again and the imagery is shocking, when we find detachment from the world around us, when we sleep only a few hours, when we loose purpose for life……whilst these can be also a part of grief they are also symptoms of PTSD.
So I think I have stumbled across a box or framework that may help me to process my emotion and move on to becoming ‘healthy’ again in this area.