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Brain weather II

When the eggs hatched under my scalp, the hatchlings, the size of small marbles, rolled down my face, to my neck and chest. I tried to stop them but lacked the muscle in my fingers. I felt them rolling. I ran to the bathroom mirror but by the time I got there, they had settled under the skin of my chest and abdomen. I could feel them in there. I wanted to go to the ER but it was in the middle of the night and everyone was asleep. In vain, I searched the internet for this symptom – nothing at all.

Within a few weeks, I began to develop lumps and cysts under my skin, which had become so thin, I could practically see through it. I began having sensations of things crawling under my skin. These sensations were real – it wasn’t like I had taken a hallucinogenic drug, with occasional glimpses of the real world. I was sure these things were killing me, so I made an appointment with my gastro doc. He listened to me and palpated all the places where I said the bugs were hiding. I thought I had gained a sympathetic ear, until he flat-out told me I was crazy; said I was suffering from a psychiatric illness called delusional parasitosis – an illness that in some cases lasts a lifetime. I didn’t believe him. When I told Wifey, the love of my life, she initially took my side. She began searching the internet herself. Meantime, I kept waking her in the middle of the night with bug terrors. Now, my wife can put up with a lot of neurotic stuff from me. She’s always as sweet as a lollipop. There’s only one thing that makes her absolutely crazy: waking her up in the middle of the night. Fact is, I’d rather beat a yellow jacket’s nest with a short stick than wake Wifey, so. I stayed awake and suffered, often to tears. I didn’t dare get out of bed – I was afraid to be alone. I stayed where I was, snuggling close to my wife.

Mornings, I’d plead with her to stay home from work. She did so occasionally; she’s merciful that way, but most of the time, getting to work was a necessity for her. She’s always been a key player in major projects. As one would imagine, I’m proud of her; my heart full of admiration – not only for her dedication to providing a living for our family, but for the outstanding and caring person she is. (Yes, she’ll probably read this.) Then came the time I was sure she had betrayed me. Without my knowing, she called my psychiatrist and explained my symptoms. He wanted to see me right away. She talked me into making an appointment, which I did – he had always been a compassionate listener, and I was sure he’d validate my complaints. It’s a beautiful and relaxing drive to his office, and there’s a Dairy Queen nearby. I’m not supposed to eat soft-serve – I’m diabetic – but I’d bring my insulin pen along to stop the blood sugar spike.

When we arrived at his office, my shrink was as kind as ever, but I could see the concern on his face. He listened to me for five minutes, then he told me I was suffering from delusional parasitosis. He told me the sensations were classic symptoms. “I know they feel real,” he said, “but I want you to try some medication just to see if it helps.” I agreed, but when we left, I was heartbroken. I felt that Wifey had taken his side, and had left me to suffer. Nobody believed me. Even though deep down I knew she’d done the right thing, I had a difficult time trusting her after that. She wouldn’t be staying home from work for me anymore – not for the mentals. As much as I wanted to be strong through all this, I was anything but. I had become a whining, stubborn kook-a-nanny, and my own behavior embarrassed me. I was in denial. Barely able to walk for lack of balance, sick all the time, bizarre sores and lumps popping up on my skin, now thin as paper, I’d traded the parasitic bugs for the truth about these symptoms: I was dying of liver disease.

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