“[Jabez Stone is examining Mr. Scratch’s contract]
Jabez Stone: What does it mean here, about my soul?
Mr. Scratch: Why should that worry you? A soul? A soul is nothing. Can you see it, smell it, touch it? No. This soul, *your* soul, are nothing against seven years of good luck. You’ll have money and all that money can buy.”
When this film first came out, one of the ways it is described on a movie site, is as a comedy. When I watched it, a few months ago, it absolutely terrified me. Every time “Mr. Scratch” chuckled or palmed his chin, thinking his evil thoughts, I shivered. But, we all know that deals in the movies also happen in real life. These are the innocent, insidious, steps to how it plays out, at least in my life.
1. My first hospitalization in Chandler, Arizona, where I stayed for five weeks. Because of my fear of authority, I questioned nothing, didn’t know I had other options, so when they wanted to give me Prozac, I said, “Okay.” That’s the beginning. The first ignorance, the first taking whatever comes your way. I’m depressed? Okay, I’ll take Prozac and I’ll get all better. Ha!
2. Switch scene to years later, actually this year. My psychiatrist looks at me and tells me I’m a difficult patient. I, thinking she meant behaviorally, immediately asked what I was doing. “I mean you have been on so many different medications by this point it is hard to know what to try with you that will work.” It’s true. I’ve been on just about everything except MAO inhibitors, because I don’t think I could deal with all the restrictions.
3. It’s no secret on this blog that I have severe anxiety. I’ve been on benzodiazepenes, which only work halfway, then stop working altogether and have to be replaced with another one. What I didn’t do, or no one told me, was to check the side effects: loss of balance and coordination, dizziness, short term memory loss, searching for words, etc. When I told my shrink I was having a really hard time with the side effects, then came my deal with the devil.
4. She said, using her hands, like the lady of justice: “Well, you can either live with the side effects on one hand,” she lifted her other hand, “or just deal with being sick.” Wow.
5. Now, after I made that deal with the devil, to put up with the side effects, I’m potentially very sick. I went to my primary doctor because I had fallen three times in six weeks, and all sort of other difficulties. He told me he would do everything he could, and would not stop until this was figured out and I was better. He ordered an MRI on my brain last Friday, and I have the results: It was an MRI Brain WO Contrast. The summary findings sort of terrify me. Even though I don’t completely understand, because I’m not a doctor (but I play one on TV), it’s startling.
“Mild T2 hyperintense signal is seen within the central and left aspect
of the pons on FLAIR and T2-weighted sequences.
A few very small focal areas of faint hyperintensity identified within
the white matter of the cerebral hemispheres bilaterally.”
1. Findings to suggest mild chronic ischemic changes within the pons
and cerebral hemispheric white matter bilaterally. No acute
intracranial process is seen.”