The Drooling Shambling Mental Patient

The stereotype is an old one. The ward full of crazies drugged out til all the do is stare glassily, saliva dripping from the corner of their mouth, and moving with an odd shambling gait. When speaking, they make very little sense. It’s something that’s always scared me – I don’t want to be one of them.

Well, on my current medication cocktail, I produce far more saliva. It’s ok during the day, but if I get tired it can overflow, and while I’m sleeping it gets a little bit ridiculous. Drooling. Check.

I also have much more trouble with my balance, and I have a nasty habit of falling over when I lift my foot to walk. It’s not too bad yet, but I see the advantages of shuffling. Odd gait. Getting there.

I guess the staring glassily I get a pass on, because it mostly resolved on upping my seizure medication. I can still get lost in my own little world, even mid-conversation, and end up looking a bit odd. Glassy stare. Check.

Making little sense when speaking is a touchy one. I’ve always been pretty good at expressing myself, but that’s slipping away as I grope for the words I need. I substitute completely inappropriate (but slightly related) words for very familiar things quite often. The descriptions of  “the kitchen! You know, the one you shower in!” are usually pretty funny, but they worry me.

Drooling, shambling, staring, odd speech. I’ve got a little touch of all of them, and now I understand how those stereotypes feel. I don’t think I’ll ever get that bad. Well, I hope. It gives me a little look into the lives of people more ill than I.


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