Brain Weather III
My psychiatrist prescribed Seroquel. He said the bugs would go away. They didn’t. Within half an hour of taking my first pill, I started falling down every few steps. I’d try to fall into something soft, like a couch or chair, or better yet, the bed. I couldn’t drive anymore. I became a frequent flier in the Emergency Room. Even though I might be there for something urgent, I’d eventually get around to the bugs. They’d ask me if I had a mental doctor then tell me to leave and make an appointment with him. Eventually I spent most of my time in bed, under the covers, fearing an attack of the crawlies. The terror of the bugs took up most of my day. The sensations (called formications) were getting worse, bigger, real as can be. I thought perhaps the sensations came from bug allergy. I started taking Benadryl – a lot of it. Of course, I had no idea the medication can make people hallucinate. On a couple of occasions, I put a Benadryl tablet in my hand and watched it disappear into my skin. On one of those occasions, I woke up Wifey and explained to her what had happened, the look on her face a mixture of deep concern and aggravation. Tears stood in her eyes. How could she possibly know how to help me? Without a word she took me in her arms, stroked my hair and coaxed me to sleep. From then on, I started wearing surgical gloves to keep other foreign objects and pathogens from being absorbed by my skin.
If my wife hadn’t taken control of the situation, I never would have made it. Ammonia toxicity had robbed me of my normal mental functions. This is why it’s so important to register for transplant as early as possible. With a bad brain, those communication skills get lost. You need someone who understands your current state who can talk for you. At my first evaluation at the transplant center, a doctor would ask me a question and by the time he was finished, I’d forgotten the beginning; I’d sit there looking at him with no idea what to say. Wifey did the answering for me – she became my interpreter. I developed an even deeper trust in her, except when it came to the bugs – nobody believed me about the bugs. The more I searched the net, the more bugs I found. Finally, I hit on a bug disease that seemed to fit my symptoms: Morgellons.
Morgellons disease is a syndrome of skin disorders accompanied by sensations of things crawling under the skin, biting and pinching. I tried to imagine what they looked like from the feelings. Maybe they weren’t bugs at all. They moved in a snaky kind of way – worms. The stuff I read about Morgellons talked about worms. I disregarded the true medical websites that described Morgellons as a delusional syndrome, and stuck with those that featured patient testimony. Even their family members believed because of the skin manifestations. I found Morgellons message boards, home remedies, stories about folks infested with multiple parasites. Some of these stories blamed the infections on GMOs: genetically modified organisms. Like for example, if you grow GMO corn, eventually, you’re going to end up with unidentified GMO bugs that agricultural companies like Monsanto had allegedly unleashed into the world.
While my gastro kept telling me this was all from hepatic neuroencephalopathy, I kept gathering information on Morgellons. I tried a home cure: peanut butter, honey and cinnamon applied to the skin. For some people, it drew the worms out so they could be destroyed. It made me want to make a sandwich out of the stuff. I had once been an expert in the essentials of hepatitis C. Now, I was on my way to becoming an expert in Morgellons – that is, until the morning I never woke up.