Crusty used to justify not being compassionate by saying "Survival of the fittest..." Lately the memory of him saying those words have an even more chilling effect on me than before.
I have recently been told that I suffer from chronic undernutrition, and that it may be some six to eight months before my energy, strength, general good health, return. The prognosis is fairly good-as long as I go strctly by the plan they've laid out for me, I should be alright, and then they will do some tests to determine if the prolonged semi-starvation has permenantly damaged any majour organs.
One of my medical advisors told me privately they would have found it sooner if they were accustomed to seeing it here in the U.S. and he seemed embarrassed. They've all been faintly apologetic about all the missed diagnosis-"Oh, it's stress" "Oh it's a fungus you picked up in Gautemala" "Oh it is eczema/psoriasis/atopic dermatitis..."
Right. All the while I'm quietly starving to death before their eyes-knowing I am going hungry because I HAVE TOLD THEM AS MUCH WHEN CHASTISED FOR MISSING APPOINTMENTS because I hadn't insurance or money to pay out of pocket.
Not that I am terribly angry with them, I heard the little voice at the back of my head saying things like "Scurvey" and "Malnutrition." I ignored it because I knew I couldn't do anything about it.
Now I have a 'lesion' on my right shin that makes me think of leprosy (although it looks NOTHING like); I am experiencing some mental vagueness, as in I can't recall something from one minute to the next without either having written it down before it fluttered out of my brain or following a checklist-which explains why I literally forgot to eat after a point; my teeth-ahhh, now I understand why the most dedicated home dental plan was not effective, and I got to the point I was afraid to floss because when I did, my teeth would break; and finally, you mean those wasted looking arms and hips are NOT looking that way because I am fifty and on a low sodium diet??
At which point one of the medical advisors informed me that 'low sodium diet' does NOT mean a no-food diet, and that I should have availed myself of one of the food basket charity groups...
Right now my body and brain are acting about eighty years old. Well, not exactly, I've been on the 'refeeding programme' for a few days, and I am feeling a bit sharper. But the day I caved and went for help, I looked, felt and tested about eighty.
The good news is the lesion is already beginning to heal, they expect the skin problems to clear up in a couple of months; mental faculties will likewise return sharp as ever, they think; and OH MY GOSH, I may be able to live in a atwo story house after all!