Why I Lie
Dreamed 2016/10/7 by Wayan
I've had Lyme disease for decades. Never gotten rid of it, though I've knocked it way back--partly antibiotics, mostly herbs and diet. I still get mild attacks now and then, but I've regained my energy.
I've gone back to college. First day of classes. I plan to try out a lot, see what teachers I like, and drop the rest.
It's very hot today, so most of us are stripped down, nearly naked.
Now, this is a parallel world that doesn't neglect Lyme disease like my waking-world America. No, this one is worse. Here they obsess on Lyme--believe it's communicable, and fatal in just 1-2 years. The government tags us infected. We're shunned. Not locked up... yet.
But mine wore off--both the illness and the tag. I treated myself with herbs, and got better--not totally cured, but I'm okay. I've had it at least 6 years, maybe more. The longest survivor I know of. Outlived the cared-for! Their treatments don't work.
Now I'm more sick of their judgments than of Lyme itself. My herbs keep me healthy enough to pass most of the time. Harder on these hot days, with so much skin showing--you can spot faint discolorations. Nothing like the classic purple lesions, but I could be an early, incubating case. Except my bruises faded not grew--and have been like this six or seven years now.
Tagless, passing, I've heard what the healthy say about us. Not as bad as Jews under the Nazis, but bad.
A huge class in a grand hall. Leaderless so far, but will the teacher walk in? Or are multiple teachers present but so low-key I haven't noticed?
A round of introductions. Each of us has to give a one-minute bio. I jot down names & descriptions of classmates. Need to, since I can't recognize faces--I have severe prosopagnosia. Just missing that brain module! I distinguish you by voices and body language, not faces.
A bearded guy spends his minute ranting about a book of crude scribbly comics by Seth--though this world's Seth cartoons are more like Shel Silverstein's or John Lennon's doodles than the Seth comics I know (wry, nostalgic, minimalist). The guy can't really convey why he loves doodles...
A slender acerbic smart woman speaks next. Authoritative character. Her aura says teacher not student, but she doesn't claim to be. Incognito? Why?
By her, a big tall florid old guy, who says he's a Christian. No surprise--so old-fashioned, full of certainties. I think he's a teacher too. Not a bad one--a CS Lewis charm--but his world-view's so unquestioning!
All these folks bare who they are so readily! But then, they CAN. They won't be arrested. But I dread speaking up. I CAN'T be fully honest, not here. This society won't let me--won't listen. Teachers and counselors don't believe long-term survivors like me exist, so they'll "treat" me for delusion &/or lying, while cops and medical authorities will play it safe and assume I'm dying not lying, and punish me for hiding my "communicable illness"--according to THEIR model of Lyme, and ignore the proof it isn't--if they were right, I'd be five years dead.
I've had too much experience to trust institutions. To trust the majority.
I'm not shy. I'm hiding. They're not at all the same.
NOTES IN THE MORNING
A year later, I read Sam Kean's The Violinist's Thumb, on the musical prodigy Paganini, who Kean claims was the first known case of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a mutation causing stretchy, weak connective tissue. His rubbery hands made him a star, but in later life EDS caused a host of weird problems.
Every single trait Kean listed, I had. And so do my sisters. Loose joints, rubbery hands, constant dislocations, easy/huge bruising, severe gluten intolerance, headaches, fatigue. High-functioning autism and a dedication to music, even. Between us, 185 years of supposedly modern medicine had failed to diagnose our copious parallel problems as EDS--though it was described before we were born.
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