February 28, 2011
Duet, ME Newsletter, Vol. 4, Issue 9
A mildly famous fellow named Justin Currie posted a clip of the music box doll scene from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, with the following notation: “I love this part where the actor and actress sang a duet in front of their unlikely audience. It's romantic in the sense that both are deeply in love with each other but somehow faintly deny their feelings.”
That couldn’t be and farther from my long-held interpretation. Growing up, I repeatedly found it to be one of the most stressful parts of the movie. I could all too well feel the stress of having to play a charade in front of people who despise that which you love – in this case, the children, of course. To be in the throes of a mission, just to find time must be wasted playing out the charade-istic method used to position themselves as saviors was breathtakingly horrifying to me.
The impending danger to the rescuers made me unbearably tense. Throughout the years, I completely missed the real duet, the way the words counteracted each other, how each felt restricted in their own way, yet one chose to give an account of their restriction and one chose to give an account of their longing. The problems are the same, but the focus, the way each approached the issue – was at odds. So, in the melody of the moment, the common goal close at hand, the characters find a way to let each other know: “I think there’s something more to this.”
I think there’s something more to this:
Our perspective controls our output. Our mindset controls our wellbeing. Our receptivity controls the informational flow. If we’re feeling uninformed, perhaps it’s because we refuse to take in what is not clearly in our forward sight. We miss those alongside us, the parallel riders whose visions are shifted based on the rut they occupy. Even on the same road perspectives differ slightly, dependent on the fraction of space between us. It is physically and mathematically impossible for two people to see an exact visionary duplicate. Similarities are what we must learn to identify with.
Just because we’re talking over each other, doesn’t mean we are not in accord.
Sometimes we are saying the same thing, just in a different way.
And, not so surprisingly, that’s exactly what it takes to make beautiful music.
February 22, 2011
Sugar Boil, ME Newsletter, Vol. 4, Issue 8
“Don’t want to discuss it
I think it’s time for a change
You may get disgusted
And start thinking that I’m strange
In that case I’ll go underground
Get some heavy rest
Never have to worry
About what is worst and what is best...” (Domino: Van Morrison)
I was not put in this earth to save anybody. That’s not my job. And it’s not yours either. No unearthly angels among us. We are earth bound doubters and sinners, sometimes lost, sometimes found, almost always directionally impaired. Not the sort of people you’d expect to be on GOD’s steering committee, but that’s our position. That’s where we sit, or stand, or walk the line, or walk away.
Not so long ago, I made a very flippant sarcastic remark, in response to what I considered a fairytale-esque unreality based statement about “what-should- happen” within a scenario that has time and again proven it would not be the case. I responded incredulously: “Do you even hear yourself?”
The reaction I received shocked me as much as the retort shocked the other person. On the receiving end it was interpreted as, “Don’t be stupid!” On the giving end, it was meant to be a lighthearted, “Let’s consider that pathway dead, and find a more reasonable expectation.”
Given some of the situations I’ve been witness and party to recently, I’ve stepped back a bit. I’ve begun silently asking myself that same question a lot more frequently. It does give me pause and causes me to think a nanosecond more before I speak. Mentally biting my tongue is making me a whole lot quieter. Being quieter leads to exaggerated introspection, and some speculative outer observations. Here is what I’ve deduced:
There are some who are just not happy. They do not want you to be happy. They don’t want anyone to be happy. And if you’re happy, it becomes their goal to change that. As believers, we assume it comes to fall on our shoulders to resolve conflictive issues. I don’t believe that’s really our role. We are not qualified and cannot be mediators between these people and GOD. All we can do is steer our own thoughts and actions to better places, lead by example, pray, and hope that they will follow.
Even within our limitations, we can surely derail the negativity. Pull out your bravery. Become a stop-gap. Redirect. Fight back with a sudden compliment. Sincerely compliment something: an outfit, a hairdo, anything you can find to like about that person at the very moment they are being the most hateful and destructive to your happiness or others’ happiness. Put some sugar in that boil. Turn up the heat to high-crack temp. Perhaps with persistence we’ll all end up enjoying some sweet-life, ego-dissolving, soothing, soul-resolving candy.
February 14, 2011
Soulless to Soulful, ME Newsletter, Vol. 4, Issue 7
Humor is a veil, and sometimes it gets a little hard to breathe under mine. It’s also a protective shield that deflects others from the intent of going deeper. I’ve given myself a little more leeway that I probably should have with the sarcasm shield. I enjoy it, though. Having to dig for the spin from tragic to trippy is a challenge. I exercise my mind a lot; trying to see around my metaphoric road block. I’ve heard enough that it doesn’t go away. As you move along, it diminishes. Every time you turn back to the way from which you came, it’ll be there just as big and ugly as when it landed in your path. Of course, you’ll go around it. It may not seem like that now, but you will. You might not notice that shift right away. You’ll spend a lot of time maneuvering in its shadow. Then one day, it will be beside you instead of in front. That’s when the decision has to be made. Stand in the at-best momentary warmth of the sun knowing that it won’t always be that way; clouds will come and go. Retreat to the at-worst constant shadow of coldness where life doesn’t change much, but your back is always reliably covered by what it’s flattened up against. The decision is always eventually made; it’s just that timing rules the court. It holds us back or propels us forward. Timing is what drives us from soulless to soulful. For some passing time is counted by continuing little claw scrapes, love bites. For others, it’s a proverbial bandage ripped from the anchoring (erroneously-presumed) stable flesh surrounding our shredded hearts. You can cry. Or you can laugh. I choose to laugh. I laugh because I understand some things I couldn’t comprehend before; it’s the only way to keep sanity in the shadows. I laugh to best demonstrate a sadly acquired knowledge: Humor is a greater teacher and a better companion than melancholy. I should know. I learned from the best.
February 08, 2011
Ambulances, H2O, FM, ME Newsletter Vol. 4, Issue 6
I took my very first ambulance ride Sunday night, well… technically Monday morning. Wasn’t at all as I imagined. Certainly wasn’t a mellow sedan-like cruise, only bare brass cube-truck suspension with a lot of equipment and bright white ceilings. And two very nice techs.
I never really cared much for water. Now, I’m pretty sure it’s my enemy – a necessary evil. In an effort to comply with healthy standards, and to see if hydration eases fibromyalgia, since December I have been attempting to get down those eight required glasses a day. I never managed it. Five was always my tops. And I started to feel horrible. Bloated hands and feet, sloshy stomach, frequent bathroom breaks, interrupted sleep for more bathroom breaks. I eventually slowed that effort down and resumed my normal liquid intake per day. Most days, I could handle three; some days I know I barely got one in.
The physiology of fibromyalgia is linked to dehydration, at least that what a majority of studies indicate. The trigger points on the muscles are not sufficiently lubricated, so when they contract, they stay that way. Tense, never relaxed. The best way to describe how FM feels is this: imagine the worst bruise you ever had, and then imagine putting extreme pressure on it. Now, imagine your entire body feels that pain, all the time, constantly. I’ve learned to tune it out. Massage helps if you can stand the pain. I’m pretty good with pain: tattooing, piercing, living with FM since I was 11 years old.
Ambulance stats: blood glucose 176, BP +10 upper and lower, O2 sats way down. Started an IV, put me on oxygen. In the ER, heart rate was a little high – pain related, and white cell count was slightly elevated. The hospital discharge paperwork says “acute myalgia.”
Three bags if IV fluid, two dilaudid injections later, I was finally able to stop crying, and collapse into a sort of sleepy state. I kept hearing myself saying, “shit, shit, shit… ow, ow, ow.”. I confused and amused the emergency room caretakers when describing my pain levels. Like a shark gnawing on my legs. Like an anaconda wrapped around my chest. Like my arms are being ripped from my body. Like there’s an expanding balloon inside my head and I think it’s going to blow my eyeballs out. My kidneys were hurting, bad. Every organ is a muscle. Fibromyalgia is an equal opportunity muscle attacker.
After the second IV bag, I druggedly pushed the call button. I had to pee, thank GOD. A chest xray showed no pneumonia. Lungs are muscles, too, and people with FM often get pneumonia when those muscles seize up.
In at 1:00 am, out at 7:00 am, it’s now 2:00 pm and I am able to sit up at home. Here I am, with orders: 800 mg of Motrin every six hours. That’s a max dose, and not the first time I’ve had to go that high. Eventually, I’ll wean myself down to 600 twice a day. They sent me home with Vicodin for pain, which I won’t take unless I need to call an ambulance again, and orders not to exercise for two weeks. What that means is I will have to rebuild my routine again starting at 15 minutes and hopefully getting back to 35 minutes within a few months.
But the worst prescription of all is this: dramatically increased fluids. I still haven’t totally stopped cramping or having muscle spasms, but they are manageable. I am going to lie back down now, and try not to flinch when my inquisitive cat walks up my body to see if it’s really me under the blanket or a moaning, snorting monster.
Later, I’ll get up and pee, and medicate, and drink, and lie down again, and repeat. And be very happy about it.
Post-log: the emergency room documented “pharyngitis” but did not treat it. I suppose they were distracted by the other major problem. However, that little oversight has lead to another major problem diagnosed today: acute streph. I have now been armed with horse-size antibiotics, taken the mule-sized Vicodin, and allowed myself a sweet consolation prize vanilla shake. Good night, I say. Good night.