Birth of a Panda
I’ve had PANDAS since birth: no, since conception.
My mother dropped out of Cornell because she felt sick and couldn’t keep up. They did a chest xray and read it as normal.
She married my father and got pregnant with me immediately. At 8 months pregnant she started coughing blood. I was born in a Knoxville, Tennessee tuberculosis sanatorium. With PANDAS: with my mother sick and since she had antibodies, they would have crossed the placenta. She dreamed she had kittens. She said that she played with them and then gave them away when they grew up.
I lived with my father, paternal grandparents, aunt and her soon to be husband and English greatgrandfather. He would sing me to sleep with some raciest song about darkies. But at least he sang me to sleep.
My mother was allowed to come home if I was not there, when I was 4 months. My father took me to my maternal grandparents in New York, handed me over and went back. I was a bit wary of these new people. I wouldn’t let them feed me. My grandmother laughed and let me feed myself cheerios and bananas and a bottle.
At nine months they took me on a train back to my parents. It was Christmas. I don’t think they stayed long.
Now I really was not too enthused about the new people. My mother said that I was absolutely as independent as possible at nine months. I would pretty much only let them take care of me if I got sick.
I ate a cigarrette butt. That did it.
I always got strep badly. Sicker than grundoon, except when she had mumps on one side for 10 days and then 10 more days on the other. I wanted mumps. I had mental mumps and went back to school.
Mononucleosis at 18 when I came home from an exchange program and recognized that my family was a chaotic psychoitic mess. Took me two years to realize it was alcohol. Well, alcohol and PANDAS…… didn’t know that then.
My social skills were iffy. I am cool, cautious, reserved. Except when I’m not. My mother and sister would turn it on and off, sparkling scintillating butterflies. I came off more as ogre.
Son past term and fine. With my daughter, preterm labor for 3 months, starting at 24 weeks. So I did home bed rest, strict, would plan the trips to the bathroom. Pandas having pandas, but the terbutaline would have displaced the antibodies.
Got sick in the divorce, influenza but I think really it was the divorce. Rather than saying I have a weak immune system, I think my immune system takes me out when I need to be protected and need to rest. Rest or die so to speak.
In 2012, the trigger was Grundoon’s death. And strep.
I didn’t do it a year ago when my father died. I was more in zombie mode the last two years. It’s pretty dark there.
I think it hit this time for two reasons. One was that I’d been picking up hostility for a while. I don’t dismiss it, it’s more that if I can’t identify the source I just wait. The panther, the cougar part of me. Didn’t know why I would feel it so strongly in a small town. What the hell was the connection to a website? Fucking weird, right?
The second reason was that I had done the tasks I had felt were duty and obligation and love. For my sister, for my Ex, for my children, for my neice, for my father, for my mother, for people that I love. My children and neice are launched, my father and mother and sister are dead.
The last task was to self diagnose. Figure out the PANDAS. Sort it out, because I am not the only one. So other people need the information and the tools. A Panda attack seems to make me where shorter skirts, which might be funny, though it doesn't feel like it right now. Two reasons: sex also removes antibodies and I think that the anxiety/fear/adrenalin makes people want to cling and to reproduce.
If love is difficult, there is always work. I am satisfied with the work I've done.
So I have leave to go, in a sense. I’m not frightened of a broken heart or of dying. I think that dying is another place where you are loved.
.....I realized today, it's not going to go away.....