Fiction, Health and wellbeing, Melbourne, Relationship and marriage, Writing

Waiting for answers

Part B to Smashing Morning. Click here if you missed it.

Six weeks and many rage-turns later, we are no closer to an answer to what is plaguing Erich. I am on the chaise longue, reading a book. Erich is sleeping after his latest turn. He becomes exhausted afterwards. Never remembers, just crawls into our bed with wide, terrified eyes, leaving me to clean up the mess.

I let the book slip from my grasp as my mind meanders to those days before Erich’s first breakdown. The sun seemed to shine brighter; the wind in winter less biting. He was my relief, my sanctuary, my rock. A haven who almost smashed my skull with the bedside lamp.

‘The fact is…’ our GP Helen said, later that first, frightening day. We had been with her for over an hour during which I recounted those terrifying moments, then gave a rundown of our average day’s dietary intake, Erich’s alcohol consumption, his family medical history.

‘…we don’t know why Erich behaved in this way. Mental health is largely a black hole. There’s still so much that we don’t know about the brain, its wiring and why, sometimes, it goes awry.’

My heart missed a beat.

Erich sat beside me, silent. His head hung reverentially, hands rested like ham hocks in his lap.

Helen continued, ‘It’s going to be long journey. I recommend beginning with a psychiatrist and I can give you a referral to a good one. Would that suit?’

‘Yes, thank you,’ I said, reaching for my handbag on the floor. She passed me a wad of papers: referrals, prescriptions, instructions.

‘And call me if you need to chat or if anything is unclear,’ she said as we left. I felt betrayed by medical science. I don’t know why. I don’t know what I expected. A magic wand waved over my husband to bring him back to me, perhaps?

On the way to our car, Erich reached for my hand, as if he sensed my despair. I took it, unwillingly. I didn’t want this version of my husband.

Picking up the book from my lap, it hits me that I am still here. Buried deep within his frame, my Erich remains. Our life together, and my love for him helps me to cling to a belief that we will get past this.

The answers will come some day.


Photo by PHUOC LE on Unsplash

7 thoughts on “Waiting for answers”

  1. I hope Erich’s GP did more than assume this was a mental health disorder. As I learnt in medical school, never forget syphilis and other infections which may infect the brain and cause psychotic problems.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry Linda, I didn’t mean to infer a lack of background knowledge on your part.
        One thing hammered into us as students was to never assume an idiopathic problem until after exhausting obvious causes like a vascular problem, endocrine problem, infection, problem, and malignancies.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Although you call it fiction, that “black hole” aspect is absolutely true. It was >4 years ago, but I remember I had all sorts of questions afterwards, and after, like, 5 seconds, I hit a “we don’t know” wall.
    If anything, the experience has made me more sceptical – because medical people tend to speak with 100% confidence, yet the confidence is actually 5%. There is so much they *don’t* know.

    Liked by 1 person

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