• Category Archives Health
  • Loneliness

    Imbolc and the Ancient Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: Dan. Alan. Joanne. Snow. My companion Lodgepole greeting the Snow. Much as they greet Great Sol. Home. Sue Bradshaw. Josh. Proctitis. Feeling vulnerable. Alone. A white Snow Cloud filling the Sky. Electricity. Fitbit. My desktop and laptop. The internet. What a joy. A.I. Senate Navy Bean Soup. Corn bread muffins. Health

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Waking up

    One brief shining: We need the windows in our homes like we need our eyes, so we can see outside, right now my eyes turn to this computer screen, but every so often they turn up and look toward Black Mountain, see only the Clouds bringing the Snow, of course, too, my hands typing and the file cabinet and the wall, like the window view we see only a portion of the World around us, yet it is enough for the moment.

     

    With my visceral world calmed down, as it has been since Sunday morning after that no good, horrible night, I want to revisit my feelings of loneliness. They stemmed not from the bleed itself, but from the feeling of vulnerability it sent cascading through my soul. Looked at from today’s perspective that makes sense to me. What else is loneliness than a feeling of vulnerability in a world populated by over ten billion other humans? And none available when life gets scary, hard.

    I feel fortunate that for me the feeling was temporary, exacerbated by the depth of the night and the severity of my situation. Several folks have reached out since then, confirming what I knew-once that shock passed: there are many who would take my call, even come. I’ve returned, strengthened by those responses, to my usual alone, but not lonely. Visiting loneliness for an hour or so was a brusque shock; however, it gave me a window, see one brief shining today, into that narrowed and insecure experience.

    I’ll see Sue Bradshaw on March 12th and I’ve sent a note to Kristie, my oncology P.A. I want to be aware and ready if this happens again.

    Mentioning Kristie reminds me I’ve not remarked about my latest lab results. My PSA rose slightly, as did my testosterone. That may mean my cancer has begun to wake up from its chemically induced slumber. May not. Another round of labs-I’m a phlebotomy regular!-in six weeks rather than three months. If it’s rising again, we’ll wait until it hits .3 and then I’ll have another PET scan. That will determine a new course of treatment.

    Kristie tells me that even since I went on the Erleada and Orgovyx, now some two and a half years ago, other treatment protocols have been found. The ever pushing forward of prostate cancer research produces results helpful to me in real time. As a result, I’m not worried, more curious about what happens next.

     

    Just a moment: A friend from CBE recently returned from her months long stay in a Buddhist nunnery in India sent me a note. Since I was officially a Jew now, she said when I replied to her I had to kvetch about at least one thing. Kvetch=complain in Yiddish. I sent her a note with this.  My kvetch: Election year 2024. That one should be good for some months.


  • Life

    Imbolc and the Ancient Moon, now waning

    Monday gratefuls: Life. Familiar sounds as Shadow Mountain folks go off to work. The Sky like a polished katana. My buzzy body. Taking in our insults, regathering. My lev healed. For now. Rest days. Bereshit. Television. Soothing. Taking care. Of myself. Annie. BJ. Sarah. Phone call from Ruth. Gabe and his learner’s permit test. Taxes. Tis the season.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Steroids

    One brief shining: Our body carries the after effects of our lousy night, a bit shaky, thrown off, yet also eager to move on, get fed, go back to the usual diet and exercise routine, yet not yet, for the lingering sense, a drained out, hollowed feeling, goes back and forth, up our back and gut, into the shoulders, and thence directly to the mind where memory traces its account in blood.

     

    Blessed cessation. Oh, yes. When something not happening takes on an outsized significance. A quasi-normal day after a horrible night. Quasi because not confident in the not happening. Will this start up again? God, I hope not. Likelihood seeming less and less as the day wore on. Confidence increasing. This flare has ended. Still some laundry to do, but yes. Moving past this to healthy life again. Oh, thank you to the miraculous body who is me, who is our physical presence in the world. Who in spite of our troubles finds our center again, rushes to healing. Our journey together, my lev and my body, is the most ancientrail of all.

    As I learned, again, after Kate’s death, Great Sol appears anyway, throwing the bright light of fusion driven energy on the peak of Black Mountain. The Lodgepoles still reach toward Great Sol, eager for their daily nutrition. Maxwell Creek flows on down the Mountain, Kate’s Creek feeding into it not far from from Hwy 73. Neighbors get up and brush their teeth, eat breakfast, go to work. Our journey is brief, our significance most likely little. We sink quickly from sight and memory.

    Why then do we live? Why do we greet a return from illness or problems as a resurrection? A return to normalcy. Why? Because life is all we know. These cells of our humanness, so few compared to the others-just checked this out and turns out it’s not true. The best estimate, cited in this article: 1.3 microbiome cells to 1 human cell. Even with this estimate the reality is that our human cells are less than half of our body’s constituent cells. And, BTW: there are also viruses, fungi and archaea in addition to the microbiome’s bacteria. What even is “our” life? We have had no say in creating this astounding organism, this host-self, that wants most of all to continue to live. That is the existential imperative. We gasp for Air. We find Water. We eat each day. We do these things not out of choice, but habit, instinct. The lungs must have oxygen. Our cells must have Water and nutrition. So we organize ourselves around those needs. We live.

    Of course we can fancy this up with philosophy and religion. We can come to an awareness of living that raises our continued existence to the level of choice. Yes. But even then the biological imperatives must be met while considering this. What we do with this strange and momentary glance at reality depends on our learning, our choices, our dreams, of course. But deprive the body of air or water or food and no dream, even one of justice, will come first.

     

     

     


  • A lousy night

    Imbolc and the Ancient Moon

    Sunday gratefuls: Blood. Radiation. Prostate cancer. Great Sol. Joan. Alan. Cheri. Francesca. Shabbat. Conifer Medical. Movies. Returning to Seoul. 2:22. Going nova. Odysseus on his side. After having passed through the Scylla and Charybdis of Lunar landing. Space above and the Moon below. Scientists. Engineers. Space travel of all kinds.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Bleeding stopped

    One brief shining: In June of 2019 I spent thirty-five sessions under the mechanical dinosaur shape of the Cyberknife, lying quietly as it jerked and twisted its away around my abdomen, sometimes to jazz sometimes the blues sometimes Mozart all my choice; the trips to Lone Tree stopped in August but some of the side effects might come even years later Dr. Gilroy said. How right he was.

     

    A lonely night last night. One of those side effects, radiation induced proctitis, an inflammation of the lining of the rectum, kept me up last night. A lot of blood. I mean, a lot. My first thought was: this is where Kate’s decline began. And she had less bleeding than I had. Didn’t help. After the first session I called Conifer Medical. What should I do?

    Wait it out, use the suppositories. If you go to the emergency room, they can’t do anything for it, so they’ll put you in the hospital. Yep, that’s what happened with Kate. Don’t want to do that if I don’t have to. I didn’t. The oncall doc said I might have two or three more episodes but that it should quiet down after that. If not, call again.

    And so it did. Nothing since 2 am.

    If that’s TMI, sorry, but I wanted to give you the context for the real difficulty I had last night. I handled the bleeding and talking to the doc just fine. Didn’t want to, but I had to. I was calm.

    The real problem was this. I felt alone. Because I was alone and having a real crisis. When Kate had her bleed, I was there to talk to her, take her to the emergency room, stay there, wait. No Kate. The burden felt very heavy. Handling the crisis and handling the emotional weight of it. Having to make the decisions alone.

    I did go back to bed and got a good night’s sleep. That has helped this morning. I had to contact Alan and Joan to tell them I couldn’t make the concert this morning. Didn’t like that. I keep my commitments. And I couldn’t.

    This morning those feeling are gone, replaced by my usual alone but not lonely. Still. They happened, opened a hole in my life situation. Made me consider the downsides of living alone. At 77.

    Doubt anything will change. Don’t know what kind of change I could make short of living in a senior care setting and I don’t want that. Maybe consider who to call if such a thing happens again. Maybe talk to a couple of people.

    BTW: the radiation accomplished nothing positive.


  • This. That.

    Imbolc and the Ancient Moon (92% Waxing)

    Wednesday gratefuls: Mario and Babette go to France. Tom goes to Evergreen. Mark (brother) may leave Hafar. New Mexico. 5 hours away. Marilyn and Irv. Primo’s. The Cutthroat in Bailey. Happy Camper. Jamie the phlebotomist. Blood draws. PSA and testosterone. Murdoch. Kep of blessed memory. Rigel, too. Gertie and Vega. Kate, always Kate.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Mario and Babette at the airport, ready to travel

    One brief shining: Unbutton my sleeve, roll it up above the elbow, set the elbow on the front rest of the phlebotomy chair, I’ll use a smaller needle she says to preserve that vein, little pinch, the needle is in and blood spurts out into tube number one, then tube number two, there you’re a tablespoon and a half less of a man.

     

    Yeah. Three months are up again. And this blood draw is significant. My testosterone should be up and as it goes up the likelihood that my PSA goes up rises along with it. Dr. Simpson told me, when we finished the second round of radiation, that there was a small chance I was cured. This is the test that might cancel that idea. Or, support the possibility if I get another undetectable PSA while my testosterone goes up. Not counting on either one. Results should be back this morning.

    On Friday I telehealth with Kristie. Assume I’ll have a new urologist/oncologist. As you may recall, my old one, Dr. Eigner, retired in December. Kristie and I will discuss what happens next in light of the results of the surveillance labs. Another step along this path.

    A bit of anxiety, peering into the unknown again. Between here and there.

     

    Breakfast with Marilyn and Irv yesterday. Always good to see them, get caught up. Primo’s. We were going to try the new Conifer bakery, Wicked Whisk, but it’s closed on Tuesdays. Driving to Primo’s on 285 there is a grand display of snow-capped Mountains in the distance, beyond the Platte River Valley.

     

    Going to be some folks here for my bar mitzvah. Some Ancient Brothers. Probably Pamela and BJ. I hope Gabe and Ruth can come. No real plans for an after party yet. The service is at 10 am so it would be way early for anything but a lunch or an enhanced oneg. The four of us haven’t gotten together yet and discussed what we might do. Whatever it is, it will involve food.

     

    I seem to have misplaced or outright lost a book. You might think this would not be unusual at my house, but you would be wrong. I have an excellent memory of where I last had a book. This one though, the Rights of Nature, which I’m reading for a Rocky Mountain Land Library book club has vanished from my sight. Frustrating because the book club meets on March 3rd.

    I’ve exhausted the possible places it could be and still not found it. I like to complete my assignments. Hard if I can’t find the book. Oh. Looked it up on Amazon. Bought it on Kindle. No hard copy to find. Guess that explains it.

     


  • The Alexandrian’s Library

    Imbolc and the almost full Ancient Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: Tom. My Lodgepole companion waving their branches with an early Morning Breeze. That faint blush of Great Sol on the peak of Black Mountain. Senate Navy Bean soup. Pretty good. Famous Dave’s cornbread. My kitchen. Dr. Jill and her needles. Acupuncture. Mourning and grief. Evening and Morning, the first day. Safeway pickup.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: My Lodgepole companion

    One brief shining: Stripped down to my underwear I crawled up on the massage table, stuck my face in the small ring jutting out from it, and lay there as Dr. Jill placed needle after needle after needle after needle, most with barely a prick, some though a bit more, as Dr. Ma says, she must have forgotten to sharpen those.

     

    Yes, another round of needling with no laughter. No Whale noises, thirty/forty minutes of lying down being one with the Chinese way. Dr. Jill felt up and down my spine, pushing here and there, then inserting a needle, a few in my leg. Sounds like something I will do every two weeks for a while, then maybe once a month. Stenosis doesn’t get better, the only treatment for it outside of surgery is symptomatic relief: physical therapy, acupuncture, NSAID’s, Lidocaine patches, steroid injections. Though I’ve ruled out that last one.

     

    Ana came yesterday, spiffed up the house. Having my house cleaned helps me in ways beyond sanitation and hygiene. Self-care. A clean house concentrates the mind, removes a distraction. An anxiety prophylactic. Same thing with organizing, re-organizing. Going to have Ana and Lita do my loft next time. I’m ready to get back up there for more than workouts.

    Had an interesting experience up there yesterday morning. I decided to look at my library as an outsider, what did it say to me about me? I started on the shelves devoted to Minnesota, the Great Lakes, natural history, glanced at my Civil War collection. Onto Hawai’i and the U.S.A. Biographies of Tesla. Oppenheimer. Einstein. Atomic era history. American history, the West. A shelf of books about the Enlightenment, natural theology, emergence, the American Renaissance. A few on Astrology. So many books. Plays. Emerson’s complete works. A few Russian novels. Reference books including the OED and the Grove Dictionary of Art.

    Of course there’s poetry, religions, especially Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, and philosophy. Roman and Greek works. Latin texts. A shelf of Ovid related books. Celtic history, mythology. Magic. Great Britain. Novels, a whole bookshelf. Travel guides, military history, gardening and horticulture. Meteorology. And, of course, Art.

    As I walked slowly around the perimeter of the loft, I began to feel my self emerging, the one knit together over all these years, all those interests. Yes. This is me, or the tapestry of selves that through memory constitute my ever changing identity. A koan. If all these are my self, who now am I?

    This felt good, warm, self-acknowledging. Whether they have any practical benefit, my books, my passions have enriched my life, taking me to places I would not have been able to go alone. They have nourished my soul.


  • Wisdom is where you find it

    Winter and the Cold Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: Tara. Rabbi Jamie. Great Sol, seen again. Taoism. Acupuncture. Needles. Meridians. Jill. Spinal stenosis. Theodicy. All is one. The one is all. Yet I am. Tom. Diane. Ginny and Bo Yi. Fan Kuan. Taiwan. The National Palace Museum. Korea. My son, Seoah, Murdoch. Joanne. The Mountains. Crisis of confidence. The Hazel Miller Band. Alan. Gary. Torah study. Shadow Mountain.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Jazz Sax

    One brief shining: Wondering if there’s one place that provides music to acupuncturists and massage therapists that only has one recording which includes whale songs and related noninstrumental music, what I heard while resting face down, torso and feet bare as Jill needled my lower back and feet, the also not to be missed wallpaper image of the Milky Way rising in the desert.

     

    My maiden visit to the world of Chinese medicine. In a small strip mall not far from home just off 285. Near the Snowpack Tap Room. Jill shares an office with a chiropractor who looked like an ex-boxer. In the area that adjoins the restrooms some wag put up a skeleton with a doctor’s white coat. Not sure about the message of that. Bones? From Star Trek?

    Yes, it was an odd visit. And yet. My back feels better this morning. How bout that. Jill got a good sense of what I wanted. Trying to nail down methods to keep me traveling. Acupuncture as one modality. So she had me lie down next to the Milky Way, whale song filling the air, and proceeded to place the needles.

    I went to Medical Acupuncture on a whim, sort of. That is, Sue Bradshaw agreed with me that cortisone injections and back surgery were bad juju. Which leaves, she said, physical therapy, lidocaine patches, acetaminophen and the very occasional NSAID, and acupuncture. The only one of those that was new to me was acupuncture so I decided to try it out.

    In spite of my feelings about the context, a bit too latter day hippie for me, I think the needles will become my friend. Chinese medicine is an ancient art and science with wisdom we Westerners most often ignore. As with most of Asian culture for that matter. As my friend Bill wisely said, if you turn your back on a form of treatment it will do you no good. Well, then again. I turned my back on this treatment. Ha.

    So. P.T. exercises daily. Lidocaine patches, perhaps for touring days when traveling? The occasional pain med. Regular resistance work. And acupuncture. Keeping this old body rolling, rolling, rolling.

    I feel pretty good about this. A problem surfaces in Korea. Gets diagnosed and calmed down. Thank you, Mr. Lee. Western doc refers me to p.t. Mary the adopted Korean physical therapist helps me further along the road. Now Jill the acupuncturist introduces Chinese medicine as a prophylactic. And I have pushed myself back to three sets of resistance work. It takes a village and a couple of different cultures to get me to a good place. Worth it.


  • Clever Business Model

    Winter and the Cold Moon with Snow

    Friday gratefuls: Marilyn and Irv. Irv’s resilience. Snow. Black Mountain gone. Alan. The jazz concert in his and Cheri’s condo on Sunday. Going with Joanne. Jazz. Mozart. That new CD player. Late night sessions with Coltrane and Miles Davis. (Late night for me, around 8 pm) Phone calls. Email. Text. A Snow day. A Fire later. While practicing my Hebrew. Tara. Rabbi Jamie. Janet. Anshel.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Irv

    One brief shining: Dr. Timothy O’Leary has tortoise shell glasses, a mask, and a kind heart as he takes his magnifying glass to this spot on my arm, then to another on my chest, oh this one we’ll freeze so it doesn’t become precancerous; taking the blue nitrogen pump off its spot on the table, he shields my eye, then sprays liquid nitrogen on my cheekbone which hurts a bit but not for long, that will scab over, otherwise everything looks good, make an appointment for a year from now, ah, I thought, an optimist.

     

    Annual skin checkup. Never a worshiper of Great Sol in the let this body bake on the beach as a tender sacrifice kind of guy I have less likelihood of skin cancer but you never know. Annual skin checks take about five minutes. And cost $10 with my current insurance. Cheap for the peace it gives.

     

    Went to Fountain Barbecue afterward. A new place located close to the medical building where I was already. An interesting setup. You come in and there are three computer screens. Like ordering from home online. You decide what you want, tap on it and add that item, 3 ribs for me. Then, mac and cheese. Oh, and Aunt Polly’s Pecan dessert. Swipe or insert your card on the right side of the screen.

    Part of the same business but up a couple of steps to the right as you come in is the Lazy Butcher. Not sure what the Lazy part means, but their cases are not pristine and carefully laid out. Maybe that’s it. Not dirty or haphazard just not that almost clinical look you find at the grocery store meat department. Didn’t look too closely but they have uncured bacon, perhaps I’ll get some later on for my next Hoppin’ John batch, steaks of various kinds. No fish. Just beef and pork. After I did a quick scan of the Lazy Butcher, I walked down the wheelchair ramp back to the barbecue.

    My name with #103 showed up on an l.e.d. screen under in process. Other names and numbers were in a column to the left.  Ready. A somewhat husky guy with a lazy or blind eye called out names. Charlie. When I got mine, it felt a little bit like encountering someone from the underworld offering you food.

    This is a clever setup. There was a hostess. The kitchen. And the guy handing out the food who probably works in the kitchen. No waitresses. The hostess cleaned tables and helped anyone who needed it with the computer ordering. About as low overhead as a restaurant can be. And, with the Lazy Butcher money can be made after processing the meat that comes in for the restaurant. One backroom feeding two businesses. Smart.

     


  • A bit of health, a dab of politics

    Winter and the Cold Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls: Lab results. Darkness. Shabbat. Rabbi Jamie. Anshel. CBE. Marilyn and Irv. Leo. Gracie. Luke. Anne. Mussar. Handling my back pain. Pythons in Malaysia. In Kuala Lumpur. Torah study. Taxes. Cernunnos. The senses. Our link to the world around us. Wild Neighbors. Here and there. Water. Altitude. Coffee. Breakfast. With friends. Ruth. Gabe and his learner’s permit.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: January

    One brief shining: Ruby has bangs and dings, rarely finds herself in the carwash, yet she runs as well now as when we purchased her on that hot June day because she had air conditioning and our old Rav4’s had long ago quit working; only seemed fair since on the 6th those three Bull Elks would visit to eat our dandelions and I would start 35 sessions of radiation in a second vain attempt to cure my prostate cancer.

     

    Labs. My phlebotomist and I exchanged information about Japanese restaurants in Denver. Her daughter-in-law is Japanese. I mentioned Domo and she talked about Sushi Den. She might go there for her 40th anniversary. Yes, I know her that well. She slides the needle in with years of practice, swapping out tubes for various tests, showing them to me to check my name, then comes the gauze and the band-aid or piece of cloth tape.

    When I got the results back yesterday, they dumbfounded me. All green. Best labs I’ve had in years. Kidney disease no longer. Cholesterol low. Anemia resolved. How bout that? Made me feel good about, well, all of it. Means my diet’s ok. I no longer suffer from iron poor blood. Throw away the Geritol. And no kidney disease? Well. Always good to drop something off the list.

    In other medical news. I know you’re dying to hear this. I have an appointment at Evergreen Medical Acupuncture. Prophylactic, mostly. I want this in my tool kit for my back pain. Sue Bradshaw agreed with me on no injections, no surgery. That leaves p.t., acupuncture, lidocaine patches, acetaminophen, and continued resistance work. Bought some lidocaine patches. Acupuncture may help, too.

    Just to complete the organ recital. On February 12th I have my next PSA and testosterone labs. Probably my testosterone will be moving up which could mean my PSA will, too. Or, not. Never far away.

     

    The New York Times map of New Hampshire with red for Trump and green for Haley (Merry Christmas America!) looks like a whole ham. Sorta fits. If he were less dangerous, less cruel, less authoritarian, I’d say Trump was a ham. Loves an audience, any audience. Loves to stress his elbow while patting himself on the back. A cartoonish man with a puzzling, yet real anchor in the world I live in.

    So he won. So he might win the GOP nomination in South Carolina. Ironic for Haley, eh? All too much. Even Heather Cox Richardson gave commenting a pass, instead she posted a photograph by her s.o. Buddy Poland. Sans the Poland photo, I’ll do the same.

     

     

     


  • Health

    Winter and the Cold Moon

    Monday grateful: Traveler’s Insurance. Car and House. I’m grateful I still have it. Deaf old guy t-shirts. The Ancient Brothers on healers and healing. Sue Bradshaw. Annual Physical this morning. Great Sol lightening the morning Sky. The shema. Hashem in letters of fire. Getting laundry done. Groceries in the house. Self care. Agency. Independence. Cognitive awareness. Physical mobility. Healthy.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Ruth, Gabe, Mia

    One brief, shining: These days I often peel back the metal lid of a can of Wild Caught Sardines, put them on a plate, open up my current package of #34 crackers, this week they’re Rosemary, reach in the fruit compartment of the refrigerator to select a cold Pear or maybe a Tangerine, prepare the fruit by slicing or peeling, add it to the plate, pour myself a cup of coffee, place it all on the table and start to read my breakfast book, right now Democracy Awakening by Heather Richardson, while enjoying a protein rich morning meal.

     

    Annual physical today. My PCP, Kristen Gonzalez, retires next month for medical reasons. Apparently very bad headaches. As a result, I’m seeing a nurse practitioner, Sue Bradshaw, who has worked with Kristen for over twenty years.

    Kristen may have been the best doctor I’ve ever had. She and Charlie, whose last name I can’t recall, were about the same, but she’s older and wiser. Which I imagine he is at this point, too. She’s kind, empathetic, put me first always in our encounters. And she’s medically humble. Says when she doesn’t know. I trust her, trusted her, completely.

    Her retirement makes me sad on two levels. First, that such a competent physician and decent person has something so wrong that she must leave her work. Which she clearly loves. Second, I’ll miss having her in my corner, the backstop for my health.

    As I scan myself at almost 77, I don’t have anything that jumps out, says Tell Your Doctor About Me. Yes, prostate cancer. But it’s being managed. New labs next month. Yes, altitude and funky diaphragm induced shortness of breath. Yes, slacker thyroid gland. All part of the world for me, nothing that causes me worry. Well, maybe one thing. This damned back. It’s been flaring. Yet I do my exercises, take some acetaminophen and it behaves. Sort of.

    It bothers me not so much because of the pain itself, which most of the time I don’t notice, but because of the limits it puts on exercise and travel. Exercise I need to maintain my overall health. And travel. Well. I want to travel.

    I think.

    I say I think because I’m not getting out and doing it. I have nothing planned and don’t know what I could do if I did. Which is partly why I have nothing planned. A combination of physical discomfort and inertia. Some days I imagine this is my life. Here on Shadow Mountain. Out some during the day, reading, meals with friends and family. Staying in at night. Sometimes I push against that idea; sometimes it feels like what I want.

     

     


  • Choose

    Winter and the Cold Moon

    Friday gratefuls: TGIF. Ha. No hump day, no Friday as the last day of work. Just life. Sleeping in. Perfect sleeping weather. A good and difficult day yesterday. Luke. Leo. Anne. Gracie. My Roger. Mindy. Rabbi Jamie. The classical texts of Judaism. Including the rabbinic codes. Those two Does in the road. Driving Mountain roads. Alan and Joan. Dandelion. My son and Seoah. Sick. Murdoch’s ok.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Korea

    One brief shining: There is an exquisite pain knowing your child has run a fever over a hundred for three days in a row yet lives 9000 miles from your front door, a squeezing of the lev that makes the body want to find cold wash clothes, advil, blankets, maybe even stuffed toys though you know he is long now a man, it is the pain of belonging and longing, one for which there is no pill, just that moment when you send your body, by astral projection, to his sickbed.

     

    Now Seoah, too. We miss and love you they write, explaining symptoms. My son’s fever has broken and he took Murdoch out for some fresh air. I asked Seoah to give him a hug for me. He wrote that he got it. Now I’ll have to send the same request to him for her. Family, close close family. Joy. Concern. Love.

     

    Meanwhile I’m over reading signals. Coloring my soul a pastel purple. Do those crossed arms mean he’s annoyed with me? Why does he want to wait until he sees how his next two month’s money does? I didn’t want to leave the house yesterday. Felt like ducking mussar and the Rabbi Jamie time.

    Two reasons. Monday was so cold that I chose not to go upstairs and workout before a one p.m. doctor’s appointment. That meant I had to workout on Wednesday and Thursday and Saturday to get my 150 minutes in. I felt bad about that choice. So I already had a one down feeling about myself. Not terrible, knew I could have chosen differently and I didn’t.

    Then on Thursday morning I pushed myself to get my workout in. Can’t miss because of Monday. I wanted to do thirty minutes. As I wrote yesterday though, my back nixed that plan. That meant I was not only behind on my minutes for the week, but that I had a possible barrier to my next workout in my back pain. It also meant that my back was not going to go gentle into that good night but would rage, rage, rage against the moving of the feet. Which in turn meant that my vain hope for a less restrictive travel barrier was that, a vain hope.

    The two together made me want to stay home and favor my psychic and physical upset. I chose not to. However, when I first got to the synagogue I carried that bruised, purple sense of self with me. I sought out and found further evidence that I was somehow doing it wrong. I spoke over someone. My comment landed flat. I felt distanced from the group like the Jews distanced themselves from the pillar of smoke. That was the day’s topic.

    Then I realized I was no longer concerned about my back. It was quiet. And, I had chosen to exercise. And, to come to mussar. The tint in my sense of self faded from purple to a dull yellow not far from the vibrant yellow of joy. Choices. Eh?