Strangely Out of My Mind
Mercury fillings is, metaphorically speaking, brain fog. The stroke is a part of it with paralyzing palpitations, funky metallic taste and nagging fear.
Every so often, waves of dread came over me; impending doom, far beyond reason. And just like that, it's gone. I'm lucid, normal, able to function; then it's back with a vengeance. Strangely out of my mind. Brain fog. I was 21 and alarmed. It's 1999, nearly 30 years ago, I had a stroke in 1999. I was 52 with Afib, thundering and pounding in my chest, rank metallic taste and, well, Doom City. Not good.
Conservatively, the fillings in my teeth were 40 to 50 percent. That's a lot of mercury for a teenager. The silver amalgams are actually half mercury, 50%. Silver fillings contain a mix of zinc, copper and tin. My mom didn't know; I didn't know.
My ex-ex-ex-husband Frank, he related, every spring and fall, he was disoriented, befogged and he "wasn't here", an aura of confusion, a sense of place, time and identity. Brain fog. He dreaded spring and fall.
It's 1976, and I called the psychiatrist with an appointment. I worked in Volkswagen Personnel at the time. Frank is fearful doctors and described the aura. The doctor furiously wrote about the symptoms and prescribed a sedative. But he has no clue, as did Frank and I. The psychiatrist scrawled an arcane "depressant", but Frank worried about... um... erectile dysfunction and he threw it out.
I divorced Frank in 1979 and the brain fog is a moot point. Coincidentally, the dentist filled the teeth with mercury fillings, sometime ago, in the 1960's, after the shrink. Could it be mercury fillings? I never heard of mercury fillings.
Frank threw a lot of things, specifically, heart medication. At 42, a shiny helicopter transported Frank to Pittsburgh hospital tout suite. He had a heart attack. He tossed the medication again. At 57 in 1999, clutching his heart and eating a submarine sandwich and a Miller Lite, he succumbed. Two days later, bloated and swollen, Jeffrey (my son) found him. Frank called 911, but never made it.
Brain fog is insidious, it wears you down. Before the stroke in '99, I couldn't, reluctantly, drive a car; what if my palpitations start? Something's going to happen, but what? The breathing, sweaty hands and overwhelming calamity?
In 2004, I had caregiver, Carla, for accessAbilities in Greensburg, PA. Carla's Dad had leukemia for two years. No family history to speak of and dad was failing and, of course, died. She and I perused the internet for leukemia, toxic waste, polluted arsenic, mercury and onerous bad stuff. Mercury?
I know mercury. The light bulb moment is mercury. Of course. The stroke flipped the switch; flooding back to 60 Minutes, heart-stopping palpitations and cataclysmic destruction. I knew. My heart is racing in a good way. It's the mercury. I'm grateful to Carla and Dad. Perhaps it's written.
The dentist pulled the teeth in 2005. I still can't talk. Pull? Dentures? One-word answers. A crazy lady with a stroke. The dentist understood.
The stench in my mouth was unbearable. One by one, the dental forceps extracted the teeth. Forty years is a long time. Cell by cell, organ by organ, took it's toll. The long, slow, process is over and I was overjoyed. Dentist placed the dentures in my mouth.
In 2012, for 20 years, give or take, I have no palpitations. (Side note: Lopressor reduces the heart rate. I get that. In 2000, I came home to Bear Rocks; still the palpitations are heart-stopping, volatile and vehement, pounding on my chest. I took the Lopressor religiously. It's not the medication and it's not the heart rate, although Lopressor is a nifty drug. I know my body.) It's a wonderful feeling; no brain fog. The fog lifted.
Everybody's looking for a quick-fix. Let the body heal itself.