Auditory Hallucinations and the Responsibility of Being a Mom
In most cases, Auditory Hallucinations strike at the onset of deafness. Those who suffer from them say it's as if someone has turned on a radio inside their head. Music, which they have no control over, plays and plays sometimes to the point of madness. Scientists took pictures of patients' brains at the moment they said they were having an auditory hallucination. Then they took pictures of regular peoples' brains while listening to the radio. Both sets of pictures looked exactly the same.
I learned about this fascinating disorder last week while listening to Radio Lab. Leo Rangell was the first interviewee in a series of people talking about their hallucinations. One day, he woke up in the hospital to the sound of a Rabbi singing outside his window. Twelve years later, the music is still playing inside his head.
As Leo tells it, he didn't realize the music was inside his head. He really thought it was coming from outside his hospital window. With each new day as he got progressively better, the music changed. It got perkier, happier. Until he was riding in the car on the way home and realized that even though he was not beside his hospital window, the music was still playing. And this time, as he drove home fully recovered, he listened to these lyrics: "When Johnny comes marching home again, Hoorah, Hoorah."
At first the music nearly drove Leo crazy, but now in his late nineties he said it's become his friend. In fact, the music talks to him. If he really pays attention, he says there's always a reason for the song he's hallucinating. For example, a few years after his wife passed away, he woke one morning to the song "Bring Back My Bonnie to Me." Later that same morning, he realized it was his wedding anniversary.
This weekend I caught a severe head cold and have been sick as a dog. All weekend, I was snuffly, feverish, achey, and irritable. Poor Dwayne got the brunt of it. I wanted just to sleep. But couldn't seem to get more than a few hours in a row, because Noelle was battling an ear infection of her own and was extra needy.
The majority of my frustration stemmed from my pre-baby self, the me who believed that I had a right to a sick day, a day off - free of any responsibility. 'Round about Sunday afternoon, while I held Noelle's rosy little face in my arms, I realized for the hundredth time since having her that I'm a mother, and we don't get sick days. At least not for a few more years.
This may sound depressing to you, but it was actually freeing to me. Once I stopped trying to pass her off to Dwayne or grandma or grandpa and just accepted my responsibility, things went much better with the two of us.
Anyway, I woke up this morning to the sound of her squeaking in the other room. Dwayne had gone to work, so it was just me and her plus our colds. A song started playing in my head. Just the melody. I couldn't quite place it.
I thought of Leo Rangell and his songs and how they always mean something. Suddenly the lyrics clicked into place. It was the Beatles. As I sat spooning mushed up bananas into her mouth, these words ran through my mind;
"Eight days a week. I love you."