I’m thinking about three ways we might look at things when life is hard.
1. It’s a dialogic, I’m being encouraged to see or behave in a certain way. Perhaps I’m being punished, or tested, or broken down for something better…
2. It’s just dumb luck. Things happen, occasionally lots of them, occasionally to you, or to me. Life just means playing the odds, lucky to be born, unlucky to die.
3. “Life” and its contents are my “self.” That which is arising is simply the nature of “me.” If I pay attention to these experiences, I may gain a greater insight or understanding into the phenomenal self.
6:30 PM and I’m just up from a short nap. Not so much a nap really, just lying down in hopes of alleviating some of the pressure on my spine which I have, for now, delegated to take the blame for the afternoon’s discomfort. As likely as anything it’s exacerbated by the absence of the bowel program this morning, but that is a story for a later line.
Not so much a nap really. I wasn’t tired. Instead I called Charles one more time, or rather he called me, or rather both, and encouraged him to regale me with stories of the rich history of his life, today now closing its 79th year.
So not so much just back from a short nap, as back from a short journey through Rhodesia, Australia, 1945 Britain in the time of the war, and rations, and American soldiers who were, they said, “overfed, oversexed, and over here” as their three main faults in an otherwise unblemished character. They did bring chocolate, so they have that going for them. Or is it us?
Anyway the nap, or the not so nap, was critical to bringing about some sensitive peace for the evening. It’s been a hard day, following on a hard day.
Last evening just a few moments after Ms. Vanessa embarked on her Uber journey home, I found myself in states of acute dysreflexia. I recognized in moments, this was some problem with urinary drainage, and I was likely beginning a long evening of lying in my own fluids.
The discomfort was sharp, maybe it wasn’t just a few moments after Vanessa left, probably it was longer, closer to 11 I think. In any case I slept the night in two hour bursts, waking almost with the clock with a sense of management and discomfort at the fore.
Some dreams I think, but nevermind those for now. Vanessa arrived, on schedule, near 8 AM and the odd morning ritual began. First order of business, see that she is well and settled, cup of tea in hand. Next, prepare a glass of water, warm, with lime which I will be wanting to help keep my blood pressure up in a few moments.
Now to move me into the chair for the shower, or rather to supervise on the way to the shower. Now we must strip the bed, quite down. I’ve been fortunate, not much on the blankets, and only a fairly small pool to the mattress. It was good that I realized the source of the discomfort and so refrain from water through the night.
Once the bed was staged, and laundry heaped, and first load started, we arranged the foot of the bed to receive me sideways from the shower, as my typical position was currently occupied by baking soda and a heater to sterilize and evacuate the stain.
It’s been ages since Vanessa saw the shower, and it’s a difficult task to talk one through. Today was demonstrative of that. We did manage to get me clean, but also managed to instill a thorough damp chill in my bones in the process. Nurse Denise noticed the latter moments later when she came in to do the catheter change. Nice timing on that.
At her urging we put a blanket on me. It would seem common sense, but in a paralyzed body with little sensation, it’s easy to overlook these things having to do with… Sensation.
Denise affected the catheter change, Vanessa cleaning and organizing and helping along the edges of that. My blood pressure was un-takable, but the pulse and oxygen saturation and temperature left some reassuring traces.
In the flurry of things we overlooked the bowel program, and range of motion for that matter. I dressed in winter boots and heavy sweater, and a few hours later had managed to thoroughly cut the chill.
The FedEx had arrived at the bank, but much to the chagrin of Mr. Patrick in Arizona, no one at the bank could confirm the contents, and we must wait another day to finalize the transaction of his purchase of the electric vehicle that has served me so well. This transaction will help in the finance department, and sits well with me as a privilege to pass along such an exceptional asset into the next life of its service.
The occupational therapist, Saul, stopped by for an intake. We moved into the sun shining through the window to keep chipping away at that cold. It seems to go well and he will be sending some visits of therapy to aid in the energization of my body.
Somewhere in there I have an omelette for breakfast. Lunch was more a snack. Ms. Cassandra is now preparing dinner.
Dr. Mike stopped by and we adjourned to the sun. Vanessa and I had just been outside, garage door opening, processing laundry, and I thought it would be nice to keep in the warmth for our session.
We spoke a while on the subject of crypto currencies, a fascinating sidebar to the evolution of the world today. I caught Mike up on the various threads, care, finance, housing, and we turned to the hands-on portion of the treatment, an osteopathic adjustment in the warm winters light.
My body had already by this time started to express its displeasure with whatever was going on, either in the spine, or the bowel, the former had the blame.
I came back in to what felt a rather hurtful email. The property manager of the apartment we’ve been courting, passing along a message from the owner. Basically, that we should agree to pay $30,000 to renovate the apartment for ADA compliance, expect a three month minimum delay before moving in, and plan to pay again to return the unit to its former state at such time as we may choose to move out.
I choked. Almost speechless. But not quite. I wrote a scathing reply, invoking attorneys, disability rights and discrimination, a nuclear response. It felt good. I deleted the property manager’s name from the “To” field, lest the message be accidentally sent, and called Elisa to talk me off the ledge.
After a short chat with her, another with Charles, and some texts with Ahlea, I called Tyler for the final word.
The truth is, the suggested renovations are far beyond anything I would want, let alone need. I replied instead simply, “I’ll be happy to take the apartment as is thank you, please send the lease.”
I felt sick. I spent the next hour researching disability rights and housing online, calling various advocates for advice. This process will continue tomorrow. Hopefully the morning will bring an invitation to sign the lease, that would make things much easier, though I am now most certainly on guard for the details of the transaction.
It seems clear that transgressions have been made. With luck they will be smoothed out peacefully and without incident.
The discomfort in my body was growing, undoubtedly now from multiple sources. My cognitive function was in decline, I moved from the office to the dining room. Vanessa had gone, Cassandra was not yet here, I needed the space heater to break the discomfort. Lying down would be better, the heater would do.
I called Charles, for the first time, to wish him happy birthday, realizing I had overlooked this auspicious note when calling him earlier for legal advice.
We chatted happily for a time. The doorbell rang, the door opened, and Stephanie stopped by, on her way home from her other job, just to say hello. I find it just delightful, the friendship we share between us. She is younger than my daughter, and just old enough that it’s not quite like relating to a kid.
She’s going through her own versions of hard times lately, but with some definite flecks of gold around the edges. She’s just completed a mural for a client, a new kind of gig for her, and they happily paid her three times her expected fee. The price was absolutely right, to see the joy it brought to those young eyes, priceless.
Of course by the time she was ready to go we had come all the way around to “buy bitcoin.” And Cassandra had arrived smiles and warmth radiating from her being. “Buy bitcoin indeed!” She agreed.
But why she asked? I replied, and then exclaimed out loud, I’ll have to share that one!
God gets to know things, we just get to ask questions…