Differential Diagnosis

So, seven weeks and counting; started after 3 months of very painful and (to me) invasive dentistry. Though to dentists, pulling out the center of many teeth, causing a few “pinpoint” pulp exposures, and injecting me with 40+ shots of anesthetic would not be considered “invasive,” only “normal.” Invasive would be something like pulling all the teeth out and sticking titanium rods into the gum and jaw. Or, I suppose I could have avoided all of this, had my teeth filed down to nubs, and had porcelain put on top (the kind of thing Ben Affleck underwent when Michael Bay told him his teeth were too small – true story).

What has happened since the 3 months of dental work though has been a surprise, and so, without belaboring it, let me say that thoughts of life and death, meaning and philosophy, goals and attitudes, cause and effect, infection and reaction, and all attendant mysteries have been ever swirling in my mind.

Which would be fine, if it were just thought. Thought is fine. Thought can bother you, can inflame you a bit, but it’s the symptoms that get you. And the symptoms are looking like a few things. And I guess I’ll talk about them.

Why not? We’ll take the journey together for as long as it goes.


That link, written by a brave soul, is sounding a lot like me lately. He’s more experienced, more progressed, and has insurance and expensive medical intervention.

I don’t; I’m at the low end, the beginning, and have rarely been sick in 14 years in a way that required me to do anything but take vitamin C, eat curry soup and have a couple day’s rest.

And now?


The funny thing about immediate pain or lack of ability is that it removes your focus from anything outside of a very, very small circle in which is written the name of the symptom, the pain it is causing, and an asterisk that refers to a line on the page that says: “Immediate survival threatened.”

That’ll get your attention.

So, the symptoms… I hate to list them, as it makes them more real. Or, something I can’t pretend about. Or, whatever.

But.. wait. First. First..first. Before the symptoms. Let me say that the potential diagnoses (that’s plural) for this batch of hellaciousness are not so very wonderful. On the positive: things like this can resolve spontaneously. It can happen, crush you, then go away; recede and leave you grateful for the life in your body.

That’s a good note.

On the other hand, the symptoms can progress, be chronic, and eat you up, chewing on system after system, muscle after muscle, nerve after nerve. That sounds like a great introduction for a comic book villain. Something like the weird Hulky fetal thing at the end of the new Superman Batman disaster. “Darkside?” I don’t know. Whatever it was, it belonged in a different fucking movie. (More Wonder Woman, for Christ’s sake! Does nobody know how to make a fucking movie anymore??)

Right. Where was I? Wonder Woman.




No, skipping that for now. Not symptoms. But… responses to diagnosis. Sorry, diagnoses. Plural.

The potential directions for this batch of nerve fiber breakdown go to things that will kill you, and it’s not a quick and painless exit as the nerves fry and go away. It, to use a word coined by a sixth grader in a period of history blotted from memory, “sucks ass.” Also donkey balls, perhaps. Or, it simply sucks, and that’s a good enough description.

The directions suck. And so, let me say this now: I’m not the kind of person who will be leaving this world on a respirator while shitting hospital pudding into a bag. No thank you.

I’ll load up on the pain killers, muscle relaxers and whatever else I need, and find my mountain, and take in the view, commune with the spirits, and let fasting take me to where I must go.

So. That’s a heavy statement, but it’s true, at least in my heart and mind – my desires, that is. Of course, I worry that I would fall into such a bad state so quickly I wouldn’t be able to make it to the mountain. But you know where I’ll want to be, and try to be.

But. I know. Not there yet. Things to do in the meantime. Like talking to you about names. And symptoms.

Tingling, spasming, fasciculations (lightning electrical tremoring spasms in the fascia – the muscles under the larger visible muscles); episodes of wobble, dizzy, and other adventures in what the fuckness. Inability to breathe well or easily.

And it’s that one that.. really has my attention. Because it points to a few possible diagnoses. One is the baseball player’s disease – Lou Gehrig. You can look up the symptoms and see that I have some, and don’t have some.

Another is called Guillan Barré syndrome. You can look up the symptoms and see the same.

Another is a variant of GBS (not GPS) that is called Chronic.. oh.. fuck it: CPID. No, CIDP. (Wasn’t that a movie with Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds? Kind of a ghostbustery thing that seemed like an Eastern European cheapie off-brand redo of “Men in Black?” (Which wasn’t that great to begin with – just a lot of Will Smith face-making? Whatever.))

No, CIDP. Chronic.. blah blah blah. The link is above. It sucks donkey balls and ass. It’s not good or happy or fun. Hello mountain.

Okay, wait. There are treatments. They take your blood out and put it back with fewer antibodies. Cool.

What? Yeah, well. They can do that. They pull your blood out and run it through a dish towel, and then … something something.. and it goes back and you’re not as fucked up for awhile.

Hello Mountain.



So, it might be that. Could also be the baseball thing. Or something else.

In the meantime, I have to get insurance, get diagnosed, and drink a lot of fresh raw juice. Why? Because I like to. And I’m doing things I like that like me back.

So, that’s the update.

I’m taking it, I must say, in fairly good stride, as a kind of adult, a sort of adult person. One who never bought into the American fantasy dream, but who has great love for the world anyway. That’s me.

As always, to my friends, I love you dearly. To the fans – I really appreciate you, and wonder if you’re as strange and out there as me, as strange, as curious, as open, as both critical and kind….

I’ll update you. I promise.

In the meantime, it helps me to let you know that it’s hard, and I’m doing my best.

And I won’t suddenly leave without warning. And if I decide to find my mountain, I’ll make sure I’ve tried lots before, and won’t give up without doing that due diligence.

You can help me pay a few bills if you’d like; you can buy a book. You can support the work. I would like to – should energy allow – write about some of the things I’ve loved in this life, not just the things that have been wrong in the world. I’ll be working on that and publishing thoughts daily.




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Two important videos on what to do in case of emergency:


But this. Important. If I have to be intubated because breathing gets thready – this is the way to go:

No intubation. I gotta call this guy and get this little breath-ee thing.

Just a note to self…among others.


One Comment

  1. Liam – that’s a bummer route to go down.
    Better try and eliminate the source of the problem. Now it seems to me that all this started after your tour of invasive dental treatment.

    Let me tell you something about that dental stuff. It is highly dangerous. The last thing you want in your mouth is a dead tooth, much less a number of them. They can, every one of them, be a source of infection. Inflammation and infection may well drive some serious nervous system malfunction, like demyelation.

    Two questions:

    Do you have any mercury fillings in your teeth – how many?

    how many of your teeth are de-vitalised ?

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