Well that took longer than expected…
Going to bed last night I caught myself in a mild state of disappointment to think that I would likely spend 12 hours, a full half of the day, in bed. Little did he know…
One of the challenges I’ve found, or perhaps better framed as a gift to my practice of equanimity and nonattachment, is that experience of quadriplegia where, seemingly out of nowhere, one’s body simply turns on a dime into discomfort and dysfunction. Framing these instances of the gift my practice is actually quite appropriate as I can see over the years a distinct improvement in my ability to go with that flow.
Today was a day of practice. I woke at 4 AM, reasonably rested, happy for the quiet of the early day as a perfect context for meditation. I practiced for an hour, reclined and rested, listening to a lecture on the subject for 30 minutes, rose again to enjoy a little more of my friend’s audiobook, and settled into morning news and a little more meditation before Caitlin would arrive at 8.
Things went smoothly enough, range of motion, a little massage of the lymph and spine, and the morning bowel evacuation, all seemingly normal. Finishing the routine and readying to move into dressing, and there it was, my body turning on a dime down the road to discomfort.
It came on in an instant, a welling sensation of tingle and dampness moving through my body. Sweat began to eke from my back and arms while Caitlin scrambled for an absorbent chuck in case the discomfort should have anything to do with any failure related to the bladder that may cause leakage.
Clear of any leakage, but we spent the next 20 minutes turning and twisting and nursing the body along, repeating the bowel process a few more times in search of gas and any possible additional stool that might be at fault.
Eventually the body settled down again and with a few moments in front of the heater to quell the dampness, we were back on track to rising.
Dressed and in the chair, teeth brushed, and just about to call it a morning when out of the blue, wham, full-scale discomfort, an instant later the lap of my pants began to change color from the urine leaking out underneath. Unfortunate for any conception of morning planning, but here we were – clear steps for what’s next.
Prep the bed with pads to prevent contamination, remove the shirt, lift, transfer, undress mindfully and begin the cleaning process. Next begins the investigation, what is causing this acute condition and what, if anything, can be done about it. This is generally a game of whack a mole as the culprit is rarely obvious and there is always one or two additional usual suspects lingering about.
Checking the catheter for urinary drainage, exercising the diaphragm to rattle anything loose, more abdominal massage, and another check of the bowel. Nothing stands out.
Lots of burping, bloating in the abdomen, body movement, massage, and time… Time, and rest, the only allies.
Noon arrives, I’ve slept lightly – more from the exhaustion of the nervous system than anything else. I’ve got calls to make, and now half a days work unattended. One more check of the bowel to see if anything there will provide movement in a positive direction. No luck. Time to get up anyway.
The news is about riots. The police station on fire. The “peace” officer caught on film two days ago kneeling on the neck until dead of the man in his custody has finally been arrested. As if blind to this repeated atrocity, the president has threatened to shoot protesters should their disgust turn unlawful. No comment from that office on shooting the murderer.
As our good public servant Daniel reports, after Epstein, no one’s buying this shit anymore, except we are. What comes next will surprise some of us at least.
Breakfast was lunch, oatmeal, no coffee. The black and yellow oriole proudly flitting about the tree being mindful of the nest. The day is cold and grey and windy. Apropos.
“This is all our fault.” Sobbed Caitlin, torn by yet another injustice.
We can’t go back. We have to do better.
God gets to know things, we just get to ask questions…