Grown-Up NICU

It’s hard to grow up in North American pop culture without hearing of either the John Travolta made for t.v. movie “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble”,or the actual child who inspired it.

If you’ve managed to do so, it’s a rather interesting idea. Tragic, too. Imagine lacking the immune system to survive the world we live in. Now, imagine that the immunodeficiency is in your brain, instead. That instead of germs invading your lungs, bloodstream, covering your skin, wreaking havoc on your body, running rampant with nothing to stand up to them… You get the picture. Imagine that it’s your mind. That thoughts, and the effects of interacting with people have the same effect on your heart and psyche, that your mental immune system is completely defunct.

Not pretty. Sounds melodramatic, I know. And it might be, just a little. But there’s my dramatic intro to pull you into my less compelling post.

I live in a self-imposed quarantine. Intimacy terrifies me. I carry my bubble with me wherever I go, and interact with people through its walls, and sometimes, very, very rarely, I let someone put their hands in the gloves and touch me. Sometimes, people see me the way my heart feels, like a premature infant in an incubator, and they reach in and give me a comforting hand to hold. And then they go away. Of course, unlike the infant, I sometimes choose who I let reach in. And I generally choose the wrong people. Wrong for a zillion reasons. Sometimes they introduce feelings and hurts that I can’t process. Sometimes I misjudge their intentions and they leave behind wounds and germs that I can’t cope with. And sometimes they mean the very best, hold my hand, bring me warmth, and kindness. But they have lives and can’t abandon them to sit at my bedside and hold my hand as I languish. And then I’m worse for having known the comfort and warmth, and I shiver and ache and crave it, from whoever passes by. Lather, Rinse, Repeat. The temptation to close the little portals and keep to myself is rather compelling.

Can I do that? I don’t know. Is it my personality or my disorder, or my life experience that keeps me locked in a perpetual state of premature baby-ness? I don’t know. And do I have the strength, the will, or the optimism, to change it? I don’t know. Today, however, I’m just going to lock myself in.


~ by Trillian on 02/05/2011.

4 Responses to “Grown-Up NICU”

  1. That was quite well written. Just so you know if you were in an incubator as shown, I’d reach in both hands. Then probably try for both feet as well. Sure, I’d probably injure myself, but I am pretty sure there would be a point that would eek out a smile from you 🙂

  2. I don’t know if your insight is unique, but it is startling for its depth. I don’t know quite what to say to you, but for reading this I think I can better understand your view on the world.


    • Thanks, Jim. If all I manage to do is give those I know insight into my mind, and maybe let someone else know that they are not alone, it’s worth the writing. That, and it’s cathartic.

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