I’m in my bedroom, alone. The one I now share with my partner. She and my son are watching The Muppets’ Christmas movie in the living room. The tree is ablaze with lights. Occasionally I hear their muffled comments and chuckles tinkling through the hallway. It’s the end of a day in which my son and I were almost struck by a car. It was the end of a week in which I spent two days in hour-long LSD trips at my Dr’s office. This may sound like a bizarre somber tale. But it is not. And everything I’m about to tell you is true.
I’ve been in what one might call a health crisis for about three years now, give or take. My first and only health crisis in my 50-some years. It appeared to begin as just a sore muscle in my left shoulder that soon came to encompass much of the left side of my upper body. Small stiffness turned to burning aches which eventually progressed to blinding migraines that seared up into the left side of my brain. This cycle repeated itself over and over and over again, leading to two surgeries, multiple medication trials and a daily dose of opioids.
My doctor, the most incredible angel of mercy that I have ever met, recently suggested an experimental procedure that she had become convinced was the best treatment available for chronic pain, depression, and PTSD. My doctor has done so much to earn my trust that there isn’t much I wouldn’t agree to if she recommended it. It wasn’t cheap, although I suspect it could have been much more expensive if she had wanted it to. If she was interested at all in making huge amounts of money. She offered me some good scientific literature to back up her claims and I looked it over and had to admit that it made sense. Not to mention that chronic pain eats you up in a way that makes you eventually willing to do anything that might help, even if it might hurt a little bit too.
I’ve been attempting to do a lot of healing work on my own for some time now. I had finally begun to accept that my mind had a lot to do with my body and that the connection between them had to be mended somehow. I had made some progress but it had felt like running a marathon entirely uphill. And often it seemed that as the cycle of pain would begin, and reach a crescendo, during which I would be rendered nonfunctional, I would just slide back to the bottom of the hill again, and have to start climbing again.
So without too much hesitation, I agreed to my doctor’s plan. It involved an infusion of a low dose of Ketamine, which is a medicine used in anesthesia for humans and animals. In high doses it produces anesthesia deep enough for surgery. It turns out it’s quite similar to PCP (Angel Dust on the street) and LSD. I didn’t know that before I signed up and it’s a good thing. Years ago I took LSD every weekend with my high school friends. In fact, it was my most favorite drug of all until I had what we called back then a “bad trip”. For the duration of the high, that one time, for whatever reason, I became psychotic and lost touch with reality. It scared me so badly that I never used LSD again. In fact, I was afraid to even be around it. I developed a phobia that someone would attempt to slip it to me in a drink or something. I felt as if I ever took LSD again that I would lose touch with reality and never make it back. For most of my young adulthood I considered that “bad trip” the worst thing that had ever happened to me. I suspected it was the seedling of my OCD that followed me into adulthood, leading to all sorts of uncontrollable compulsions like avoiding food if it had ever been unwrapped or touched by another person. Hand-washing over a hundred times per day. To this day, not being able to unload the dishwasher without making sure that my hands don’t touch anything else in between taking the clean dish out and putting it in the cupboard. For many years, I suspected that LSD had shifted my brain chemicals and gave birth to an anxiety disorder.
It’s a damn good thing I didn’t know anything about what I was about to experience.
to be continued