Feeling much better today, and brainstorming

The increased dose of morphine is working. My headache pain is much reduced. This past week I was in quite a lot of pain more or less constantly. Today it only hurts a little.

I didn’t sleep at all last night. Not for lack of trying. I went to bed at a little after one, I think, then lay in the dark and quiet for the next seven hours, tossing and turning, sometimes drowsing but mostly wide awake. I’m sure that in those seven hours I did not sleep a wink. You’d think, being stuffed with various pain medications that are all supposed to cause drowsiness, I’d be out like a light, but no. I didn’t fall asleep till 8:00 a.m. This is the second time this has happened. The first time was last weekend, I think Sunday night or Saturday night. Shrug.

I’ve been kicking around a theory that the headache is actually my severe depression manifesting itself physically. I began to feel remarkably cheerful right around mid-October and have remained so ever since, except for my anxieties about my health, and who wouldn’t be worried at this point? I’ve hardly thought about killing myself at all. It’s amazing — I haven’t felt this good, mentally, in as long as I can remember. I have had severe depression and suicidal thoughts to one degree or another for virtually all of my life, up until mid-October of last year. And mid-October is also when the headaches began. The timing was well nigh exact. So I wonder.

Sometimes my emotional problems do come out as physical problems. After Rollo attacked me, the emotional impact of it all didn’t hit me for quite some time, like ten days or so. And a few days before it did I began to itch, all over my entire body, all the time, without cause. I scratched myself constantly, often drawing blood. I rubbed lotion all over myself (I even bought the expensive kind, not the cheap stuff I usually use, just to see if that would help), I even took a bath in baking soda like they say to do if you have chicken pox, but with no relief at all. Then it turned out the itch was just my body freaking out a little in advance of my brain/mind freaking out over what had happened to me. So I started to itch. Then about three days later I had a complete emotional collapse and became a danger to myself and others and had to be briefly institutionalized. And stopped itching.

Also, my legs were having these bad muscle tremors around the same time. They didn’t hurt but they shook constantly, sitting or standing. It was visible even through my baggy pants if you cared to look. It got to the point where it became somewhat difficult to walk. Going down steps in particular was very hard. The trembling in my legs stopped after I’d been in the rest home chilling out for a few days. Just one more example of extreme emotional pain and stress coming out as a physical problem.

So, getting back to my headaches, if they are being caused by depression, I wonder if they would go away if I could just convince my shrink, Dr. Bruno, to increase my anti-depressant doses again. If it could be that simple. But would he be willing do to that on the strength of this theory/guess? He is aware that my head hurts and I’m miserable. The last three appointments I’ve come to him clutching at my head in a great deal of pain. He hasn’t had anything to say about it though. Hmm. Imagine: “Dr. Bruno, I am asking you to increase my medication, not because I’m feeling depressed, but because I am NOT feeling depressed…” That wouldn’t go over well. I would need to phase my argument correctly. Maybe try it like an experiment, two weeks at a higher dose of anti-depressants and see if the pain stops?

That’s assuming the stupid MRI/MRA etc doesn’t show anything and the Topamax and what have you doesn’t work at maximum dose and so on.

I’m snowed in today. Can’t go anywhere cause the roads are so bad, and my car won’t start in any case. I think snow got under the hood. I’ve done and completed all my Charley updates for tomorrow, already.

Why I am against the death penalty

I don’t think I’ve told this story on my blog before. I feel like telling it on my blog tonight. Here goes:

It’s not like I’ve conducted a scientific Gallup poll, or even an unscientific web poll, but it is my perception that most people who are involved in crime solving and victim’s advocacy and such are pro death penalty. I am adamantly anti death penalty, which surprises some people, given some of the monsters I have had cause to research and write about. It was an argument with a relative of mine, almost ten years ago, that finally turned me against the death penalty. I am not going to name her, or her relation to me, for reasons which shall become obvious. For the purposes of the story I shall just call her by the random initial of J.

I was fifteen years old at the time and already a fence-sitter on the death penalty issue. I was attending a family gathering and got stuck trying to make conversation with J. We have little in common and I never have anything to say to her, but if I remained silent or walked away from her and read the book I had with me (which I dearly wanted to do), I knew she would complain afterward about how unsociable I was. So I took a stab at a topic that had been in the news lately. This was shortly after Timothy McVeigh had been executed. I brought that up, and I said the death penalty troubled me. Clearly, McVeigh was guilty, but some people facing the death penalty were not. The prospect of innocent people being executed bothered me a great deal, I said.

J. thought this was idiotic — indeed, during this time period she generally thought everything I had to say was idiotic — and proceeded to disagree with me, and we debated/argued over the issue some, and then she said, and I quote, “If they’re on death row, they’re guilty of something.” And she indicated that she didn’t care whether the inmate was in fact guilty of the crime they were convicted of. I was horrified. I actually asked her to repeat her statement, thinking she didn’t realize what she had just said. She repeated it.

So I paraphrased and repeated it back to her, just to make absolutely sure she really meant it: “You’re saying you think they should be executed, even if they didn’t commit murder they’re on death row for? Even if they didn’t kill anyone at ALL?”

Yes, J. said. And said again, “If they’re on death row they’re guilty of something.” She seemed to think that only a horrible, nasty waste of human flesh would ever wind up on death row to begin with.

To this day, I’m not sure how serious she was about this. Perhaps she was just jerking me around, but I don’t think so. She usually didn’t do that. Perhaps she was just angry at me for disagreeing with her — when I was a teenager she thought I should always concede she was right, because she was older and supposedly knew more than I did about everything. I’m not sure whether she would remember the conversation if I brought it up today. There’s a good chance that, whether or not she remembered it, she would deny that it ever took place. (That’s how a lot of people in my family deal with embarrassing and/or uncomfortable events: just pretend they never happened, even in the face of all the evidence to the contrary.) But going back to myself, the fact is that right there, I jumped off the fence and became staunchly against the death penalty. Right at that moment.

J. was twenty-eight years old at the time of this conversation, married, with a son, a car, a mortgage, etc. That is, a fully fledged, mature adult. She is now thirty-eight. I know her well and have no reason to believe she’s gotten any more open-minded in the decade since. At 28, she was an attractive, intelligent, middle-class married woman with an associate’s degree and a professional job. She’s still all of those things. She’s just the kind of person any judge or attorney would want on a jury. The kind of person whom you might expect would be more likely than most to be fair and careful in their decision. And, for whatever twisted reason she has worked out in her mind, she seems to have no problem with executing a person who’s not guilty. Kill ’em all and let God sort them out, or whatever.

If there are many more people in this world like J., we should not have a death penalty. People like J. should never be entrusted to decide whether a person should live or die. And yet they are. All the the time.