I was looking forward to it. Going home that was.
Having received orders for my 1st overseas deployment to Europe, I was due a 30 day leave. While I was looking forward to the Land of Beer and Bratwurst, I had a longing for home, and specifically, seeing my mom. Two weeks prior to leaving for Phoenix, I got a letter from my kid brother, and in part it was a warning:
When her tears subsided, I got her some water and one of the “tranks” I got for flying the long miles to come. I washed her face with a cool cloth and I kissed her on the forehead. She slept for 11 hours that night. About 9 hours longer than my brother told me she ever slept. He thanked me for whatever I had done. Something he could never figure out how to do and something I had no idea what I had done.
Again I shrugged and returned my attention to my monitor and the best extinct friend a guy could ever have. To my mind, the Triceratops should still be roaming the plains with the bison and wild mustangs and I opened my mouth to tell her so. She moved sharply to turn the monitor off and sat next to me on the bed. The clock radio face told me it was 11:09 but I had no idea whether it was AM or PM. The blackout blinds I installed did a good job of blocking all evidence of life outside that 12x12 room.
The monstrosity that made both kids and adults stare muvh longer than what could be considered slightly impolite.. I was under the impression that things like this were accepted, even common in our not-so-polite society.
Wrong. I began ripping the damned thing out of my throat and just leaving the raw hole covered by an bandanna. It's taken me a while to make those adjustments but to this day, I still get the urge to ditch the prosthetic and pretend that I am normal, well, at least until I key the mic to speak.
But with Diane, I didn’t know where to begin, basically because I didn’t know when to begin. Over the next 2 days, I did my best to tell her how I felt, and more importantly, how I didn’t feel. The most important thing in my life, the project that had fueled my energy and sense of purpose for 12 years….it just seemed like a burden now. I felt like a fraud for even thinking that I had done one bit of good for anyone... Ever.
The first half of 2017 alone promised to eclipse that figure by 26%. Aside from and with eternal gratitude for those donors who supported us with steady donations over a year’s time, other donations dwindled and they have almost come to a complete stop. Money was no longer an issue, but the lack of it, became the focal point of my life, and as frankly as I can be, It became easier to hide from the fact rather than attack it. Donations for Reglue have dropped from a comfortable 10k a year, to less than 2.5K and it troubled me to the point where I just didn’t want to turn the key in the Reglue door any longer. You can love something completely, but if you cannot nourish it,
So when both blood tests came back, the panels from my doctor and those taken from the ER, one thing stood out. One thing that was so dire and so in need of correction, it was amazing that this had not been discovered before. I was terribly ill. My doctors had been so focused on treating me for depression, that they failed to look for physiological reasons for it.
It wasn't just the past year. Even before depression, I had zero energy. I was lucky to put in 4 hours at work and then slept the next four just to recuperate. This had been going on for years. It was explained that chemo and radiation treatments often leave individuals much less active than they had been prior. I simply accepted it.
Except that wasn't the problem. It wasn't even close.
Now some may feel the need to snigger because it's become a steady presence on every television, radio and magazine for a number of years. It's become somewhat of a joke. Unfortunately, this "joke" came close to killing me.
My blood work came back with a testosterone level of 83. A man my age should have a baseline testosterone level of 245. It was clear from the tests that this had been the case, and probably even lower for a number of years. My doctor began me immediately, in his office that day, on testosterone replacement therapy.
It's taken a couple of months, but for the first time in 5 years, I am able to get out of bed at 6:30, stay awake and functional for 12-14 hours and I have not felt this good in a long, long time.
Not that I am not grateful, but I am angry that I spent 5 years incapacitated by "depression", when it was a hormonal imbalance in my body. This is for life, and if I have to jab a 2.5 inch needle into my thigh weekly, for the rest of my life, so be it.
I loaded the car today with 9 computers that will become an after school center for latchkey kids. I'll complete that tomorrow and Friday I will be making a salvage run with a friend's pickup truck. That Friday afternoon, I'll start cleaning and organizing the shop. Again. Saturday I will be hosting a "Welcome to Linux" talk with over a dozen computer science students from the local high school.
So, in all....this isn't about me. It's not. This is about every man over 50 that thinks he's just getting older and it's just part of the game to ache over every little thing and spend more time sleeping than being productive.
this is about every woman that is completely grounded by inertia and it brings her to tears, the inability to do the simplest things
It isn't about me at all. It's about a generation of men who might be facing this same problem. A problem that can be relatively cheap to fix. And it's no shame to meet this condition head on. Now yeah, some of you will warn me of the possible dire circumstances of TRT. I've carefully weighed the risks. I will in return in warning you of spending days and sometimes weeks, frozen by fear and not knowing what day it is.
So this depression thing...?
Sometimes, it's not all in your head. At all.