IT FEELS GOOD to write again. It has been just over six years since I last added to this blog (which once boasted a...
THANK GOD, OR THE GODS, or Fate, or Luck or Fortune or Purpose, or just feel grateful, that you still have one more thing to do.
SMOOTHIES ARE A DAILY FEATURE of life at Beit Attinson, not least as a reliable way to keep calories and nutrients flowing despite a lack of appetite. I also like them on a philosophical level: a mystical soup of primordial elements, each ingredient partaking of the other’s essence, all ego-distinctions and identities lost amid the mad swirling chaos at the center; and though I’ve developed something of a basic repertoire over the past two years (bouncing among bananas, orange juice, yogurt, egg, peanut butter, mango, spirulina tablets, milk) I like to alternate with whatever’s in reach. Here’s what that was today:
1-1/2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
Six or seven frozen cherries, defrosted (nuke for 30 seconds)
Blend for about a minute or so. Sit down before drinking, lest thy knees buckle and chin divot. (I like to use a straw.)
O One; Distant One, Dear One,
Let me not be blind to the beauty and ugliness and truth that my eyes don’t see,
and are as present as the scent among fields of lavender
and the warm summer air on my grateful back.
THIS BLOG’S DEMOGRAPHICS TEND TOWARD a loose collection of friends, family and acquaintances, some of whom request occasional updates on my still-undiagnosed awfulness. Since one of the most debilitating aspects of chronic pain is Grey Sameness, I don’t like to talk much about it. So if you’ll forgive me for taking the simple way out I’ll forgive you for wanting to read something else:
Briefly: I remain on disability, my days varying between pretty good and very bad, averaging somewhere on the low side of okay. Nausea and pain are still constant companions, for which I take a handful of assorted medicines (some of which make me very sleepy, and necessitate walking with a cane betimes; other betimes it keeps me from getting too sore). It’s difficult to sit for long periods, and sometimes my “companions” still get the better of me. (Like Sunday, when not even the anti-nausea meds would stay down, and Monday, when I recovered from Sunday. Still recovering today; things have actually been getting a bit worse during the past two weeks, pain-and-nausea-wise.) Since March 31 I no longer have medical insurance but have applied for county assistance; once that’s in place I hope to continue seeking diagnosis. At this point, I do not know how long I’ll remain on disability.
Meanwhile, and on the other hand, on my birthday (March 22) I walked four miles around southwest Sonoma. I was sore the next two days, but happy. I’ve begun a new novel and am still cranking out Prosatio Silban adventures (though more slowly due to the novel). I managed to teach more than 90% of the past year’s b’nai mitzvah class dates, although I had to miss a couple of synagogue events. More regretful are the worries I’ve added to Ann’s plate. It is harder to caretake than to suffer, and with no end yet in sight, harder still. (She blogs about it, though, which I hope helps. It sometimes helps me.)
But still: we laugh more than we cry, and have more happiness than regret, even if now more bittersweet, and we enjoy each day and each other as well as we can.
And so it goes. I have always felt uncomfortable, like discomfort-in-my-skin-uncomfortable, posting about my health, but I know that the people who love me appreciate it, just as I worry about and pray for them, and I appreciate that more than even I can express. Since I don’t know what else to say other than “I’m not giving up” I’ll stop here.
No wait. One more thing: Thank you for asking. And reading.
SEMI-FERAL CAT, PLUS FORCED CONFINEMENT, divided by ping-pong ball, equals nothing else.
Kicking a whale up a beach
Braiding grape jelly
Comforting the chronically afflicted.
(1/22/09 P.S. to RW: who asked “Why would you kick a whale?” The only reason I can think of is that 1) he’s down, and 2) you’re that sort of fellow.)
After further conversation, it seems my employer has rescinded my termination — which is good news for a May 19 diagnostic. As the company’s health insurance is now guarded by a fierce COBRA, however, the financial effect is the same, and my suggestion that I be re-fired in order to qualify Ann & I for the 65% discount having met with indignation only one of us is now insured.
But the California towhees are in full urgent voice, and through across-the-creek windows the skyclutching oak is shafted with slantwise gold spilling cloudlike through the cypress behind.
Today, at least, is good.
In the entire time I covered the Sonoma City Council, I only took the podium thrice: once to ask for clarification, once to offer my then-employer‘s help with disseminating something of civic importance, and once when the mayor declared 1/17/01 as “Neal Ross Day” when I first left the Index-Tribune. (Geeez.) Tonight will be the fourth:
Mr. Mayor, members of the City Council and of the public, thank you. I’m Neal Ross Attinson, 21 France St. #1, perpetual part-time rabbinical student and former full-time reporter.
It’s a busy night, so I won’t take up too much time, and anyway I?m more comfortable sitting over there writing than standing up here talking. But I was told that a few people wanted to know where I’ve been for the past few months, and since most of those people are integral to the city in some way it seemed appropriate to address you tonight.
Many of you know I was covering the city and public-safety beats for the Sonoma Valley Sun until incapacitating abdominal pain took me off the job in December. Without going into details (which are available at my blog, metaphorager.net — for the record, m-e-t-a-p-h-o-r-a-g-e-r), suffice to say that after five months, 40 pounds, two surgeries and six hospitalizations there’s no relief and no clear diagnosis yet. But we haven’t given up.
Last Wednesday, my pharmacist informed me that my health insurance had been canceled, and two days later I learned that I was no longer employed by the Sonoma Valley Sun. That being the case, I wanted to thank some people without whom I wouldn’t be here now.
A Yiddish proverb says, “Life is with people.” A reporter has to be (or pretend to be) the dumbest guy in the room in order to learn as much as he can. If he’s not dumb, he soon learns that everyone he meets is his teacher. I was going to read a list of my teachers during the past eleven years … but instead: If I ever wrote anything with any degree of accuracy, compassion or insight — or if, while talking with you, my eyes (or yours) lit up with an “Ahhh…HA!” gleam — I owe you the shiniest of apples. To those people whose tragedy and privacy I invaded in order to tell the public their stories, I offer my apologies, as well as my gratitude for your trust.
Most of all, I thank Ann, my wife and best friend of 20 years, for not giving up — and for not letting me give up. The Talmud says that a man only lives through the merit of his wife; if that’s true, I should live forever.
Thank you, Sonoma Valley, for letting me write about you — and thank you, Mr. Mayor, for letting me speak. Good night.
I must say that feels very weird to do this. Since a reporter has to know “everyone in town” (as Mark Twain points out to great tragicomic effect near the aft end of Roughing It), it makes sense that people might wonder where he went and why he isn’t coming back. But I don’t usually think in terms of “everyone in town” (rather, the 100 to 200 people who are engaged with it) knowing me. One never knows where the teacher will be next…
SO LAST WEDNESDAY IS 4/8/9. I go to pick up my medication. The pharmacist tells me I have no insurance. The insurance company tells me my employer terminated it 3/31/9. My employer answered the phone two days later to say that 3/31/9 was also when I was terminated.
It would have been nice not to learn it from the pharmacist.
Favicon Plugin created by Jake Ruston's Wordpress Plugins - Powered by Briefcases and r4 ds card.