Last night I had a dream based loosely on reality.
In it, I was impatiently waiting on the EEG results from our hospital stay six weeks ago.
In reality, I am still waiting on those results.
In the dream, I spent my time making phone calls to attempt to track down the results. I called the neurology chief, other neurologists in the same clinic, I called anyone and everyone I could think of. I was tired of waiting.
In reality, I have been calling the neurologist weekly for at least four weeks. I have received exactly one return call, two weeks ago, in which he told me that the lab never sent him her results. He said he could check on it and call me the following week. I have had no call backs since then, and I have left several more messages, both with the receptionist and his secretary. Our pediatrician has attempted to contact him as well, with no replies. I went so far as to contact the EMU (epilepsy monitoring unit) lab to get more information about the delay, but have received no return calls.
In the dream, the neurologist finally returned my call. He said, "Kyla, remember the last time we spoke? I asked you to call and ask your audiologist for some information on KayTar. I told you I could not read the EEG results until I had that information." Suddenly, I had a flashback, and indeed I did remember his request during the previous phone call. I immediately called the audiologist, retrieved the information and passed it along. I spent the remainder of the dream calling all of the people I had harassed unnecessarily in my pursuit of answers. I had to tell them that it turned out not to be the doctor's fault at all, but it was my own mistake causing the hold up.
It took me five or ten minutes upon waking to differentiate between the dream and reality. For a while, I thought, "That's it! I just need to call the audiologist and get that information!" But slowly, I realized that was only the case in my dream. I do need to call the audiologist, but in regards to a completely separate issue. I woke feeling both relieved and embarrassed. The beauty of the dream was because the delay was my fault all along, I had the power to rectify the situation. In reality, I have no bearing on when my calls get answered or what the outcomes are. I felt embarrassed because I had caused such a fuss when I was actually the cause of the delay. At this point, I would gladly take the embarrassment if it meant I also had the power to track down the answers I'm seeking.
The elusive answers aren't only tied up in this EEG, they are lurking everywhere. In the meeting yesterday, I think the act of verbally listing exactly how much we don't know cracked the seal on the big ol' bottle of crazy I keep sealed tightly inside. My dream was the teeniest bit of pressurized air seeping out and in its wake, the contents of the bottle are shifting and churning. The questions I keep silenced inside range from serious to inconsequential, but the punctuation at the end begs for an answer regardless of the severity. I could list them for you, in fact, I started to while composing this post...it just felt like too much. I didn't want to hit post and see those questions staring back at me.
I hate looking at things like this. There were times when the waiting was so much harder. Times when I was terrified, times when I thought I'd lose her forever. Times when she wasn't thriving, her weight was down, she wasn't progressing and every day felt heavy and I was constantly filled with a quiet sense of dread. There certainly are worse things than unanswered questions, but when you are stuck in the limbo of not knowing, you are forced to entertain the possibility that the outcome might not be rose colored. Things are changing, she has more symptoms than she did a year ago, in spite of her developmental progress. I don't know what it means for her. When you don't really know, nothing is guaranteed. I forget this often; I prefer to look at the other side of things. I choose to dwell on her accomplishments, how far she has come, how far she is going. But medically speaking, I don't know much about her situation, no one does. When I'm forced to really think about that and I see just how wispy those threads of information are, it knocks me off balance. When my dreams highlight how little control I actually have over the situation, I spend the next day in a sort of mental fog, the air feels thick and full with the specters of those unanswered questions hovering around me. Questions that, unfortunately, I have no authority to answer.