Archive for March, 2007


Tuesday, March 20th, 2007


It’s windy and blue outside. Storm windows rattle, and the sky shines like a 56 Chevy–a bright and heavy blue that looks more like enamel than paint.

Through it the sun’s light has a clarity it doesn’t have on most days. It makes the snow positively gleam. It is afternoon and I have East- and North-facing windows, so no direct sunlight gets inside my apartment, but I have to squeeze the blinds a bit just to keep from being blinded by the snow light.

And dusk. A slightly rose-colored yellow skims over the roof peaks, suggesting a beautiful sunset. I feel I should run out and photograph it. But I have supper on the stove, and everything, even my favorite diversions like my camera, feel just too heavy to be bothered with. And the windows steam over from the pot of boiling potatoes, obscuring the view outside but still letting in just the dying light.

Slept late

Monday, March 12th, 2007

So much for my doctor’s appointment. Hope my elbow gets better without him.

Got up at 10:30 AM, canceled the appointment, and went back to bed. Just had to sleep more than I needed my elbow aspirated. Plus, nobody could find my X-rays. And I had to go find my X-rays in a cab. And I had to then take another cab to the orthopedist’s office. And that’s an awful lot of trouble to go through, especially when your confidence in these fellows is declining, like the Hindenburg.

That’s my confession. Guilt gone.

Now, I just remembered I have a dinner date. Do I have to be late for everything? I have to call her…

whining and dying

Friday, March 9th, 2007

First HDR

A co-worker is dying.

I don’t know which is worse, a death observed, or to pass through that door in an instant—from hale and happy on one side, to whatever is on the other side faster than the click of a light switch.

I’m sure when the time comes for me, I will have nothing to say. Everyone agrees that suffering—and complaining about it endlessley—appeals to me. So I will probably not go quickly. Which means, when the time comes, I may very well have nothing left to say. Too bad.

It may be that those of beauty and few words go quickly and in their youth; if so, one could make a case that the other side were being choosy, preferring the comely and nimble over the whining and atrophied. After all, as the saying goes, ‘only the good die young.’ But maybe this only means that many of us don’t particularly lament the passing of those who remain youthful and attractive, seemingly without end. Dying at old age and without apparent suffering seems to deserve less sympathy than a death after long suffering or short life.

And I don’t know which is better: To depart abruptly, with no sour anticipation. Or to go with plenty of warning—enough time to build a monument to goodbye. Clearly I have chosen the latter, but that was out of fear, believing it postponed the end somehow, not because I thought it nobler. And it may have had nothing to do with the delay of my demise. But, being human, I do like the delusion of control.

Or maybe whining does delay the end…

luminous awe

Wednesday, March 7th, 2007

Kept my face off the floor, because I didn’t go to work this morning.

Fear seemed the better part of valor then, at about 4:30 AM; fear of another shoulder dislocation, fear of another scene at the work place (there have been other such scenes in the past), and fear just of another scene, period.

I was in a rather pre-seizure state; my organs all gearing up for the event, my bowels getting ready to evacuate (I love that word) and my stomach planning the same; the confusion penetrating the root of my brain; each breath became a thing, like an arm, to fold in front of me in preparation for sleep. It was becoming tedious.

Sleep wouldn’t come. Which is another indication of imminent trouble. I was in the prelude to a seizure, and falling asleep at that point would actually have completed the process. There are a few things staying awake can do, and delay a seizure is one of them.

Seizures in public are, I am told, a rather disruptive event to the general peace and tranquility of a given site. I say, “I am told,” because I am, blessedly, out-of-there as they say.

I have never before experienced such a thorough and pervasive unconsciousness as that which accompanies a seizure. Consciousness, being a fairly nebulous and, in my opinion, misunderstood entity, does not always leave behind an apparently sleeping and/or drooling individual of depleted language skills. When consciousness leaves it often leaves behind a fairly well operating individual. Such is the cerebral cortex that it is able to automate many of our fairly complex activities without much evidence that our activity is not being generated with spontaneous originality.

I assure you, for about a week after each of the two seizures I have had this month, in all activities, I was relying heavily on the horse to get me home.

Yes, I realize that includes this moment now.

Well, whoever said that writing was an activity that required the spontaneously original participation of the writer—or in some of the artifacts I’ve seen, any participation at all from the writer—must have been not a very experienced writer.

Writing is not merely an action of the intellect; not merely the output of a delightfully complex program for generating nearly proper grammar along a nearly consistent theme. Writing is a magic of the light, just like in a photograph. It is possessed of a flavor and a color, and of infinite possible interpretations and apparitions, some of them sensible, but some reaching us beyond our senses, in that untrodden place where magic speaks most profoundly.

If that ‘untrodden place’ is where I go when I have a seizure, then you’d think I might like to go there. But a seizure brings other consequences as well, and at 4:30 AM this morning, ah, I just didn’t want them brought.

Now, as I said, during such a prelude to a seizure, staying awake can delay it. But one cannot stay awake forever. In the particular situation I was in, I needed to stay awake until I could get a delightful little drug called Ativan on-board in sufficient quantity to repress the badsy seizure activity going on in the part of my brain which does not fall asleep. Well, maybe it does fall asleep on occasion. But it does not fall asleep while it is preparing an assault on the other uninvolved, peace-loving parts of my brain.

So, I took the dose prescribed by my neurologist to, in her words, “abort a seizure.” (I love an unanticipated turn of phrase.) And then I waited. My trip to that place beyond my senses was being aborted.

We diminish our own souls when we judge the drunk, blaming him/her for seeking only the stupor which is apparent to us. I have worked among drunks for many years, but I have so much to learn from them. They scare me so. Because (among other things) they go to that ‘untrodden place,’ the place where the light comes as if from the snow itself. Where all is not just white, but a hundred thousand shades of white, and twinkles with little sparkles, too. Where they can move about freely and not disturb a flake, nor leave a mark. They go to that place and have access to that sensibility.

And it looks to us like insensibility. As it should.

But don’t let it’s disguise fool you. And don’t think only the drunks are there; they are sort of like the tourists of the place. The natives are the mystics and the philosophers, the spiritualists who have transcended religion as much as their means allow. And very rarely, a writer, usually a dead one. They live there, and they look out at us—with great tenderness, it seems to me.

After waiting half and hour I still hadn’t quite got enough Ativan into my blood stream—and hence into my badsy brain cells—to facilitate dozing off safely. It was at about 6:00 AM that I finally concluded that it was safe to shut off the lights, figuratively speaking; this whole time I was laying in the dark in my bed, which is the only safe place to be when one is expecting a possible seizure.

Peace came softly, and you’d think I’d have been covered by those flakes of gentle light. But, no. It was just sleep.

And it is with a certain sadness that I return from my seizing enlightenment. Autopilot is not such a bad place to spend the day when gales of light and winds of winking wonderment sweep ’round to light/lift you and move you to places you’d have never found if you were at the controls.

I know—I think with a ‘knowing’ that comes from that place of snowy light—that I will be at work tomorrow, fit as a fiddle, and ready to deal with another cranky, miserable, misunderstood… saint.


Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

Two seizures in a month. Dislocated shoulder both times. Cellulitis after the first one, continuing infected. The seizure threshold is dropping. Everything causes seizures now. Medication I used to take years ago without much side effect now causes a seizure within eight hours.

Dying? If only I could be sure. But then I would want access to firearms, which I don’t have. Kidding. I’m fairly sure I’m far too cowardly to do anything decisive (despite encouragement from the peanut gallery).

So, I will try to restart work tomorrow. We shall see how long I stay off the floor. There are some who would seize—no pun intended—the opportunity, regardless the consequences. And I have little else to do. Plus a doctors note saying I can return to work.


wasted days and wasted nights

Thursday, March 1st, 2007

It’s bedtime again. Nothing to show for the day. Sat around in sweats alternately elevating the cellulitic elbow, and resuming the in-sling position, which the recently-dislocated shoulder requires. The treatments are mutually counter-productive. So mostly I just ignore them both.

Out of idleness, I decided that I suddenly needed to rename all the image files from my Canon. Now, all of the collected data about my photo archive from all over the world, will be …wrong.

Actually, even though Picasa has sucked lately, it was able to keep up with my changes as I made them, which is because Picasa is cool. It does image management that simply works very well most of the time. Sorry, but it’s useful. I don’t need some program to come and offer to “help” by wasting a day duplicating my entire 12Gb archive of photos to its own folder. For what? So now I have two copies of the same image to keep track of?

And other photo management programs will handle today’s changes well, because they are simple, like gThumb. It doesn’t do much, but what it does do it does quickly and it is done. (How many variations of “do” is in that sentence?) Like a quickie. Not true love, but on a particularly dull day, it can be satisfying.

There you have it. The formula for successful interaction with me. If you are cool (meaning sophisticate and practical) or, if you are simple (which means both hot and dumb), then you have my lips. Where ever you want them. And probably my heart, too. At least briefly.

Do I sound lonely? Or horny? Or bored?