The Jam Files #5 — Benumbed




I think I’ve transcended pain flare-ups. I’ve been husked. There’s a constant emptiness just below my skin, and occasionally it’ll spark and send electric flames along my nerve endings, but for the most part, there’s a numbness in my muscles I keep telling myself not to worry about. It’s hard to explain, but that numbness is painful in itself.

I run into things. My bed frame mostly. I say “Ow!” because that’s what you’re supposed to do. But I don’t feel anything. I find bruises later and try to recollect their source. “Yes, I did run into that. It was supposed to hurt, right?” I spend a lot of time retracing steps. Beneath the brain fog is a mind of mush.

My husband still struggles. We sing murder ballads on both good days and bad days. We watch people pretend that we’re in a post-pandemic world. Nothing looks different from these windows. We’re glad every day we’re alive but at the same time think that death wouldn’t be the most awful thing that could happen. We block out the noise by avoiding headlines.

I’m writing but most of my poetry is utter crap because even simple language evades me. I never could create surrounded by silence but lately if I hear any sounds at all while I work my brain will latch onto them. I’m drained. I do have a secret project in the works that is a lot of fun and the motivation and flow for that comes in bursts. I add a line or two here and there and just finishing it (however long that takes) will be a fantastic accomplishment.

Days I can’t read well depress me. If I can’t write, I read. Maybe 6 or 7 books at a time because maybe my mood that day doesn’t vibe with one book or another. Some days I read a page and have no idea what I’m even reading. I want to know where my mind vacates to and if I can ever be invited along. Would I want to go? Body numbness is scary enough. Face twitches and moments of temporary paralysis are occurring more often so I run through a list of things I wouldn’t be able to do if I were having a stroke. I can do all of them. I shall live through the day.

I go to the dentist on Monday and I’m still not comfortable with the idea of having my mouth open for 45 minutes. About a week after my last cleaning, my husband got covid so now I’m associating every step out the door (and especially to that office) with the chance that it may be my last. I make it a point to get Taco Bell after all appointments because that’d be the last meal I’d want if I knew for sure I was going to die.

Due to my childhood vaccines putting me in a coma and nearly killing me, I’ve been deemed one of the rarities who cannot be vaccinated. My whole life is risks and numbers games. I was born chronically ill. I got a half dose after the “incident”. When I moved to another state in my teens they freaked out and looked at me like I carried the plague so I had another half dose. It was awful. I can remember that sickness, but I didn’t die or need hospitalization that time. “Must be an allergy to the components.” Not much elaboration and there was never any follow-up so “let’s not have you be that guinea pig” is a fine enough reason for me. I have had the weirdest reactions to nearly every medicine I’ve ever taken and I’ve been marveled over way too much. “I’ve heard this can happen, but wow…to see it!” I have absolutely no issue wearing a mask for life on the rare occasion that I do leave my home. None of that bothers me. Seeing the entire world predict (or in some cases wish for) my unvaccinated death on the other hand, is hard to handle. Every day I add more to the list of “things not to take too personally or they will end up destroying you”. The numb skin has grown a little thick. Then again, maybe I’m just disassociating because I don’t know how to handle anything anymore. Disembodied is a state of being. One day I may just choose not to come back.

This note is too personal. The jam jar is a truth space. I think I need to tighten the lid again. We’re okay. We’re battling, but we’re okay.





Published by Jennifer Patino

Poet.

16 thoughts on “The Jam Files #5 — Benumbed

  1. Sometimes writing it down like this or speaking the words aloud help alleviate the burden. I hope that’s true for you, dear one. Sending you good vibes. Be well please. Always. I pray and wish you miracles.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow. This is beyond moving. Though every word deeply felt, I can only imagine the struggles. No matter how similar they might feel. This needs another read. And then another. And then a few more. It’s both beautiful and harrowing. Truly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh and I hope there will be many more of Taco Bells for both you and your husband. Hopefully a big majority of them in the times when life will be less anxious and laboring. Also, fuck coronavirus and the three legged beast it rode in on!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So moving and I related so much to what you have written here…Thank you for sharing. I do know the numb feeling which you described so well. Take good care of yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I sympathise with your suffering Jennifer. I’ve got health problems of my own, so I can somewhat relate to what you’re saying. Although, I do know that no one can really feel the pain you’re going through. This piece is so intense, I haven’t read anything like it.

    Liked by 1 person

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