Some things

  1. Michael was released from the hospital today, having dumped 25 pounds of fluid that was backed up around his heart. (No wonder he was having trouble breathing.) He will have to make some dietary and lifestyle changes and take some medications and maybe ease up on working so many hours, but he is expected to make a full recovery.
  2. June 16 was the tenth anniversary of the rape. And I… forgot about this entirely. It wasn’t until like two days later that suddenly that fact popped into my head. For me, that’s recovery.
  3. I’m thinking of making a new category of missing persons listed on the Charley Project: migrants who disappeared while trying to cross the border illegally through the desert. Most of them are kind of assumed to have died out there, but a lot of times there’s no hard evidence of that.
    I would like some feedback from Charley Project users: should I make this new category for the migrants, or should I just keep putting them in “endangered missing” or “lost/injured missing” like I’ve been doing? (Part of the reason I was thinking of making a category just for them is because I’ve never made up my mind whether they should be in endangered missing or lost/injured missing.)
    I’d like it if you put your about this opinion in the comments.

Followup

So Michael is still in the hospital and they’re thinking he will be until Monday. There’s a lot of fluid backed up around his heart that they’re trying to flush out.

They’re saying his is a mild case. They think chances are he caught some kind of virus last winter and it lay in wait for a few months and then decided to start kicking his butt. If the congestive heart failure was caused by a viral infection — which is usually the case with younger patients like Michael — he can make a full recovery.

My own father developed severe congestive heart failure out of nowhere six or seven years ago, and they were predicting he’d die or at least need a transplant, but then he inexplicably got better just as quickly and mysteriously as he’d gotten sick, and his cardiologist called him a medical miracle. They think Dad’s CHF was also caused by a virus.

I saw Michael today and he looks and feels a lot better, though he’s tired and spends most of his time sleeping. He was chronically sleep deprived anyway, and this whole “sleep sitting up” thing the last several weeks hasn’t helped. While at the hospital I signed papers to be his medical proxy if necessary.

meandmike

Our friends have been awesome, helping both of us out a lot. They were worried about me but I’m doing fine actually. He’s in the hospital, he’s where he needs to be, and he’s getting better. There’s nothing more I can do for him at this point, besides visit, and I’m doing that.

I think our pets are confused by Michael’s absence. Our one cat, Carmen, keeps wandering around looking in all the rooms and I swear she’s looking for him.

Medical emergency

Yeah, for the last few weeks Michael has experienced some pretty bad shortness of breath. He was having to sleep sitting up, because he had such a hard time breathing while lying down. I had been encouraging him to see a doctor but he hates seeing doctors, apparently more than he hates not being able to breathe.

Finally, on Monday, he agreed to let me make an appointment for him. While he was at work, I called his doctor and tried to make appointment. But when the nurse found out his symptoms, she thought he should be seen immediately and told me to tell him to go to urgent care ASAP.

So he went after work on Monday. Urgent care checked his oxygen levels, which were surprisingly normal. They shrugged and wrote an order for him to get tests on Tuesday.

Tuesday he called in sick to work (between having to gasp for breath and having to sleep sitting up, he was absolutely exhausted), slept all day, then when he woke up in the afternoon we went to the hospital to get the tests done. He got a chest X-ray, and they drew blood, then sent us home and said they’d call with the results.

Wednesday, while he was at work, he got a message on his cell phone from the hospital saying to please give them a call about his test results. He told me about the message that evening. Thursday, when I woke up in the morning, Michael had gone to work already.

I called his doctor’s office to ask about the test results for him, and they told me they thought he had a pulmonary embolism which might decide to kill him dead at any moment. He needed to be in the ER, like, yesterday. Literally yesterday, since that was when they’d figured this out, and I do wish they’d said so in their message to him or at least said something about it being an emergency.

I tried to call Michael and got no answer. I wasn’t sure how to reach him in that case. He teaches at a residential treatment center for at-risk youth and you can’t exactly just waltz right into the building; it’s locked up pretty tight. I was sitting there trying to figure out how to go about this when Michael called me back. I told him about how he might go to ER cause he might die at any moment, then hopped in my car and went there to meet him.

I was doing pretty good until I got to ER and couldn’t find his room. Then I went immediately full-on autistic meltdown and then the nurses freaked the heck out because they didn’t know who I was or what I was doing and I was being too autistic to tell them. But then Michael heard me fussing and so we found each other. A coworker had driven him to the hospital.

Cue tests and endless waiting and terrible hospital wifi and Michael’s parents (who arrived shortly after I did) being annoying. His father asked me if I would like a blanket. I said no. His father gave me a blanket, because of course he did, and then kept trying to adjust it for me, without saying a word to me as he did it. His mother said she thought she’d left the stove on, and she and his dad sat around idly speculating about where their house had caught fire. (Spoiler alert: it had not.)

Eventually the hospital decided Michael didn’t have a pulmonary embolism after all, and instead he had congestive heart failure and they could cure fix it. They have admitted him for the next day or two.

I went home for a few hours, then came back with some of Michael’s stuff. By then, word had gotten around, and some of our friends were visiting when I arrived. (Michael’s parents had left by then, thank god.) Then I went home again. I’ll visit him tomorrow.

Everyone was all worried about me and our friend Larissa kept saying I should have my dad come and stay over, but I’m fine. Trying to keep busy and take care of the animals and all that.

I’m just hoping that from now on maybe Michael will actually heed my advice and see a doctor sooner rather than later when one of his vital life functions inexplicably starts to fail.

Depression update

Yeah, so I had written earlier this month about how I was really depressed again and I was going to seek help for it. I am very touched by the kind, supportive comments I got from everyone about that, and I wanted to thank you for that. I also wanted to update everyone on the situation.

My psychiatrist and I decided to drop one of my antidepressant meds, which I had been taking since mid-2008, and replace it with a different antidepressant. I’m still titrating upwards on it: I am supposed to take 10mg daily for a week, then go up to 20mg. I’ll start the 20mg on Wednesday.

My mood has improved but I am still constantly, incredibly tired. I’m sleeping fourteen, sixteen hours a day sometimes. Last night I went to sleep around midnight and didn’t really get up till 3:00 p.m., except to take the dog out.

Some people have suggested the tiredness is due to some kind of deficiency or maybe just to the season, the fact that it’s been cold and gloomy and dreary for the past several months. Either way it’s obviously no way to live. If it is still going on when I have my next psychiatrist appointment late in the month, I’ll bring it up with him.

Depression rears its ugly head again

I’ve really been struggling lately and can’t seem to get anything done. Charley Project cases are piling up as usual and I just don’t have the energy to do anything about them. I don’t feel sad or anything like that, but I’ve got this feeling like I’m stuck in neutral.

There have been days lately where it feels like it takes tremendous force of will just to put on my shoes, never mind anything else. I’ve even been. Talking. Very. Slowly. And. In. Whispers. And on top of this awful lassitude I’ve felt physically exhausted, no matter how much I sleep. I’ve been sleeping basically all day, only getting out of bed to take the dog out — I won’t have her suffer on my account.

I was stable on my meds for a really long time, like a year, and was hoping I could stay on the current regimen indefinitely. I guess not. I wasn’t supposed to see my psychiatrist till like April, but I asked the clinic to bump my appointment forward and I will be seeing him on Tuesday instead. Just gotta last till then, and hopefully he’ll work some kind of magic and I’ll perk up.

A bit of psychopharmacology here: I take two antidepressants, one anti-psychotic, one anti-anxiety and one mood stabilizer. The thing is, you can’t keep bumping up a person’s anti-depressant doses too high before you run the risk of getting a thing called Serotonin Syndrome, which is potentially fatal. Plus, as I have bipolar disorder and not just depression, anti-depressants also have the potential of shooting me into mania, which is not potentially fatal but isn’t exactly good either. A lot of people with bipolar disorder who went missing, did so while off on some manic adventure.

So sometimes, when I’ve gotten depressed, rather than raising the dosages, my doctor will say “Take less of Antidepressant A and more of Antidepressant B” and that will fix it until suddenly it doesn’t anymore, then it’s “Take more of Antidepressant A and less of Antidepressant B.”

We’ll see what happens. I feel like a lazy bum for just sitting around doing nothing but it’s very hard right now to do anything at all.

Jayme Closs and other things

So I’m on a downswing, in terms of my mood. I’m bipolar. This is my life and it will never change, though the five psychiatric medications I take daily mitigate the downswings.

It’s just been kind of hard to get anything done. I will decide to do some thing or other, then I’ll find myself just sitting there staring into space as I’m trying to get myself to move. Even something as simple as picking an object up off the floor.

The Jayme Closs thing has kind of gotten to me. Of course I’m delighted that she’s been found alive. That’s not what’s getting to me; that part’s great. What’s getting to me is what some people have been saying. It’s really hard not to take that personally because of what happened to me back in the day.

(If you haven’t read that far back in my blog, what happened to me is this: in 2009, while I was on a trip to Virginia, I got lost and a stranger offered to give me directions. Instead, he took me into the woods and beat the crap out of me and raped me multiple times. Then he gave me the directions he’d promised and let me go. In the aftermath of the attack, there were a bunch of people on the comments section of this blog, and in email, who accused me of making the whole thing up for who knows what reason. It was very hurtful, obviously. After almost a year the rapist, a serial offender, was identified through DNA and he’s since been deported.)

I was just writing on here about how people can make speculations online about cases, speculations with no evidence to support them, and how this isn’t helpful and can indeed be harmful, especially if the victim or their family sees it.

And some people are doing that about Jayme Closs now. They’re outright accusing her of the murder, or at least complicity to the murder, of her own parents. And the police have said they believe her abductor acted entirely alone, and that he did not know Jayme (who, I will point out, is thirteen years old), and that he had been stalking her, and that Jayme is a victim and not a suspect.

These people think they know better than the cops, I guess. Why? Because Jayme took a selfie after her reunion with her aunt and dog. Because she was clean and looked okay in the selfie. Because she was smiling.

OF COURSE SHE WAS SMILING. She’d just been reunited with her dog and what’s left of her family, after she thought she’d never see them again, and the monster who did this to her is locked up! Why shouldn’t she smile? Why wouldn’t she have gotten herself cleaned up, showered etc.?

At what point is a crime victim “allowed” to smile and act happy and still be considered a “legitimate” victim?

One of the so-called reasons people were calling me a liar about my rape was because I didn’t act “traumatized enough” to suit them, when in fact they didn’t know the first thing about it. They were only seeing words on a screen, on my blog.

And so some people, on the basis of a “feeling” or a “hunch”, and a photograph, are making dreadful accusations against a thirteen-year-old child who saw her parents get murdered and who spent the last three months, I’m assuming, as Jake Patterson’s sex slave, thinking every day would be her last.

Frankly it makes me sick. I hope Jayme’s aunt and other caregivers make sure she does not see those accusations. I’m not seeking them out myself, but when they get posted on the Charley Project’s Facebook page I kind of have to read them, though I delete them as quickly as I can.

Merry Christmas everyone!

I know the holiday season can be difficult for people who have lost loved ones, either to death or disappearance. It’ll be hard for my family this year as we lost my brother Brendan in February; he died in a work accident at 49.

My heart goes out to all the families and friends of missing persons this year. I hope next year provides you with answers as to what happened.

Michael, Kinsey, the cats and I will be spending Christmas with our families. Christmas Eve with my family, Christmas Day with his.

I am grateful to all my Charley Project fans and blog readers and I hope y’all have a merry Christmas this year.