I've been under the weather again, and that, combined with constant stream of political ugliness and some family problems have left me feeling as though I don't have much to say. I'm still not sure I do, but I feel like I need to clear the deck a little before I get back in to the swing of things.
My skin decided to do it's "I'm going to react as though I'm allergic to any and everything" bit again. It was bad enough that I had to go back to the dermatologist and get some steroids in to my system. Steroids are magical and all, but they do suppress the immune system and so, while the allergic reactions cleared up, I picked up some infections as well. As it turns out, I've now reached the point where penicillin based antibiotics are Not Good At All for me, so there were some knock on issues from that.
I'm functional, and I haven't missed work except to visit the doctor a few times, but I'm not going to put on a brave face and pretend that this has been fun. I'm not sad or anything, just a little beat up.
I just finished reading extraordinary book, and, while I'm glad I read it, it didn't do my mood any good. It's called My Lobotomy by Howard Dully and it's about exactly what you're thinking it's about. Dully was lobotomized at age 12 by Dr. Walter Freeman, the man who invented the ice pick lobotomy. Dully's parents requested the procedure and, when the operation failed to "fix" Howard, they made him a ward of the state. Things got worse from there.
The book is Dully's telling of his own life. It's remarkably non-judgmental and he doesn't shy away from blaming himself for his actions. He spent his entire life knowing that something was wrong with him and wondering what he had done to deserve being lobotomized, what his parents had said to the doctor. He is eventually allowed to see the Dr. Freeman's archives and all of his notes on his own case. There's no easy closure in the book, but it's unflinchingly honest at heartbreaking in places. For example, when he's working as a school bus driver for special needs children, he comments:
"Sometimes, I would look at a kid and think, There but for the grace of God go I."
That's the guy who had ice picks poked through his eye sockets when he was twelve. I'll try to remember that the next time I feel like complaining.
My dad's not doing well. He's been in the hospital the last couple of days with pneumonia, and the medication he's been on has been as bad, if not worse, than the disease. The good news is that the switched medications and the scary side effects disappeared. He should be coming home from the hospital soon. There's a lot of good stuff about getting older (no, really!) and there's a lot of good in my life, but this part's pretty lousy.
On the plus side, I just started Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell and, after just getting my toes wet in it today, it's going to be amazing.