Thursday, December 8, 2016
It’s been a rocky few days, but there is finally light at the end of the tunnel. The tubes are out of Mom’s skull and the swelling is gone. She’s a bald version of herself, finally recognizable. Better still, Mom’s uncontrolled gyrations are tapering off. She’s still writhing around in her bed, but it’s not as violent, and she has periods for as long as half an hour while she’s awake where she can lie quietly.
She started talking this morning too. Nothing can be counted as coherent, but I know she’s thinking straight, at least every now and then. I’m sure of it.
She says strings of words like, “What? Kalqs. Fuck. Go. Out. Where? No.” She spits each word out at Meyso, her nurses, and the orderlies with expressions of anger and confusion. If they come to take samples or talk to her, she gets more agitated. Knowing her the way I do, I’m pretty sure she’s trying to simultaneously demand what the hell is going on and order them to go away.
She won’t talk to me though. She’ll look at me from time to time, but the instant I speak, she turns away with a look that can only be described as revulsion. I think she guesses I’m behind the state she’s in, and she’s pissed off about it.
Gee, she’s going to be thrilled when she finds out exactly what I had done to her. Just as I suspected.
Is it wrong that it was a relief when a psychiatrist named Kini asked me to leave her for a little while so he and I could talk? Maybe, but I welcomed the reprieve from Mom’s glares.
Kini and I went to Meyso’s office, where my potential clanmate waited for us. We sat down in the comfortable seating area where a plate of snacks and fruit drinks waited. Food wasn’t of much interest to me, but the citrus-like juice was welcome refreshment.
“Matara Shalia, Dr. Meyso has shared the records of Matara Eve’s past emotional issues, as reported by you and the rescue site staff who cared for her on Earth,” Dr. Kini said, his expression kind. “I’d like to expand my knowledge as much as possible before I start working with her.”
“You’re a brave man,” I snorted. “I was warned that even with the regulating of her brain chemicals, she’d be relying on old coping skills. That she’d still react with anger.”
He nodded. “A lifetime of being jerked about by capricious emotions doesn’t disappear just because the emotions aren’t felt as passionately as before. Not to mention she’s never known real impulse control.”
I sighed. “You should know she despises psychiatrists and psychologists. The moment you start talking about her feelings, she’s going to raise hell and insist nothing is wrong.”
He smiled, unruffled by the idea. “I’ve run into similar situations. Proud Nobeks with such issues can be particularly defensive. Have you ever known Matara Eve to become physically violent?”
“Wear your armored formsuit, if you’ve got one,” I advised him. I thought he might want a hockey mask too. He’s attractive, but not outrageously handsome. I’ll still feel bad if Mom decides to re-arrange his face.
We spent an hour discussing Mom’s old habits before dementia tamed her a little. I also mentioned her current reaction to me.
Kini patted my hand, his expression comforting. “She may not remember anything from when the dementia took such devastating hold over her. Her recall of the rescue site may not exist. She may not even remember anything about hostilities between our worlds. In any case, she’s confused and frightened. She’s got little control over her body, she’s surrounded by Kalquorians in a place she’s never seen before, and you’re not doing anything to relieve those situations…in her view,” he hastened to add.
“So I basically suck, as far as she’s concerned.” Oh well. I’d been in that position before.
“From what you’ve told me, fear and uncertainty result in an anger response for Matara Eve,” Kini said. “It’s common in even less severe cases that people who are upset take out their emotions on those closest to them. Maybe because we feel safest doing so. When someone loves us, they’ll put up with a lot more.”
I could see his point. “I shouldn’t take anything personally then.”
“Good luck with that,” Kini laughed. “Shalia, I know you want to do right by your mother. I know you want to be there for her. However, you will need to step away from time to time in the coming weeks for the sake of your own well-being. If she decides to verbally abuse you more often than not, you need that space.”
I frowned. “I can’t abandon her. A lot of this is not her fault.”
“It’s not yours, either.” He patted my hand again. “You will have to periodically put some distance between her and yourself for the good of both of you. At least until she understands and uses the emotional managing tools I will attempt to give her. Otherwise, you’ll be hurt and resentful and no help to her at all.”
I could see his point. It didn’t much help the guilt coming over me to know I’d have to abandon her for hours at a time. Ugh, life is hard.
Meyso winked at me to soften the authoritative tone he used. “Shalia will take those breaks. I will see to it.”
“Great.” Kini stood, bowed to me, and left me with, “I’ll begin work with Matara Eve tomorrow. She may not be able to answer me…or scream at me, as she may prefer to do,” he chuckled. “Right now, I need to become a familiar face and start building trust. I’ll meet with you weekly for updates, Matara Shalia.”
After he’d left the office, I told Meyso, “I like him. I hope he’ll take his own advice about the frequent breaks from Mom to keep his sanity.”