I was searching for stuff on my computer tonight when I came across a diary entry I created back on my 28th birthday, 21 Jan 1997. I had started journaling then mainly because I had started having trouble with my memory. It is also why I began this blog, as I’ve said before.
This entry is from a time when I was young, single, fit, and supposedly at the top of my game, yet I was deeply concerned about my future. I post it today to remind myself of just how long I’ve been dealing with Gulf War Illness.
It has been three decades of pain and frustration but I am still here.
Looking at the old clock on the wall I see that I’ve just turned 28 years old. Here I am sitting at my keyboard on my 28th birthday, all alone save for a lazy cat. I didn’t feel like staying at the party because I’m feeling down, so I guess I really didn’t have to be alone. I can’t talk to those guys about what’s bothering me because they couldn’t relate. There are very few people who could. But the party was getting my down because I couldn’t seem to jump-start myself into the conversation, and I became alarmed at this inability to speak.
I had been reading the email from the Gulf War mailing list and the stories from vets with similar problems as I have really began to scare me. That list has provided me with more information than I could ever expect to gain from traditional news sources. I thank God for the Internet. If you’ve got a problem, you can use the Net to find another schmuck with the same problem and commiserate together. The Internet was born from the concept of
Misery Loves Company, whether it be lonely computer geeks or sick veterans who are feeling their consciousness slip slowly away.
The thought that this illness may turn me into a permanent wallflower scared me so much that I was actually on the verge of bursting into tears at Jeff’s place tonight. Boy, would I have some explaining to do! I wasn’t the one who got fired today and I’m the one who’d bawl. Sheesh. I’ve always been shy but always took for granted that I could speak up when I had to. Now I can’t muster the will or ability to do that even among my longtime friends. It kills me. It really does. The frustration is unbearable.
I really blame the lack of short-term memory. I’ve become convinced that that goddamn PB pill I was forced to take has really fucked up my brain. I never thought one fucking little pill could cause years or potentially a lifetime of misery. I never doubted the decision I made to serve my country until this winter, when all the news stories caught the Pentagon in its lie. They knew all fucking along that we were on our way to vegetable-land. I love my country as much as I ever did. But I have grown to despise those cowards in Washington who are covering their asses as fast as they can.
Goddamn it! Be a fucking man and admit you were wrong and let’s get on with it! I will never take anything said by any government or military official at face value ever again. I put my trust in them and they don’t give a shit. Some fucking leadership. Powell, Schwarzkopf and the rest of them, back-pedaling as fast as the can. So fucking easy to call the shots when you’re manning a desk back in the U.S. of A. Smile for those cameras, Generals!
Today I noticed that damn rash appearing on my arms again. It turned out to be mild this time. In fact, it doesn’t seem to be anywhere other than on my forearms this time. As I look at it now I can barely see it. Just a few patches on my inner forearm now. I still don’t really have a guess how or what causes it. I have ruled out a contact allergy (overruling my dermatologist in fact. But I’ll stand my ground until he can provide some evidence of what I am allergic to).