"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Thursday, June 10, 2004
glim-mer Function: intransitive verb
Etymology: Middle English glimeren; akin to Old English gl[AE]m gleam
1 a : to shine faintly or unsteadily b : to give off a subdued unsteady reflection
2 : to appear indistinctly with a faintly luminous quality
3 : how my memories feel
Sometimes, I pause and find a memory in my head that doesn't belong to me.
It will sit right there among my other natural memories, like some disconnected train turnstile that goes nowhere, yet just as real looking as all the rest. But inside, I will know, just know, that it never happened.
Medicine side effects are like that. They hit you from your blind side, and you have to be vigilant and make sure you know the difference.
Some of the meds I have been on can bring some side effects to the party that are real gate crashers. One of them is referred to as "vivid dreaming." Lately, it has been getting more intense, and I find myself following trains of thought that I shouldn't have to.
For example, I awaken in the morning and have to actually figure out if this is the dream or this is the awakening. For most people that is quickly settled as they become fully awake. For me it might not be.
And my answer might be wrong. So far I've only made that mistake while dreaming, I hope it stays that way.
My dreams have always been reasonably pleasant places for me. But now, now I am dreaming in 3D technicolor, stereo, smellorama and taste-orama. I can feel texture and temperature. I can sense the passage of time. I can feel wind, my clothes, see what color everything is. If I pinch myself there, it hurts.
Which can be bad when you are having one of those "forgot my pants at home today" dreams. Oh, sorry, awful mental picture there, forget I said that.
Anyway, I think that maybe this dreamland is where these odd memories are coming from. They have to be surfacing from somewhere. Usually it's a pretty easy call, such as the spurious "memory" I had of seeing a counterfeit $28 bill. Sometimes, it hovers just at the edge of my mind, giving me one of those moments where you just stop and try to remember something you know you forgot.
Of course, in my case, I never knew it in the first case, so it's frustrating.
And for the first time in my life, I find myself revisiting places in my dreamtime. I've never really done this before. I haven't ever had the same dream more than once, but I have definitely been to the same places over and over again.
There's a river where at times I have hiked a path way up on its banks in the woods, and another time have been on an island in the center of it, and yet another time been just close enough to hear it in the distance from the far end of that path.
There is a town beside the sea, a little village, with a small amusement park, a little restaurant where I have eaten, and a beautiful town center with a sparkling fountain. Down the beach are small islands and jetties, and inland are salt water marshes, and I've been there lots of times.
The odd thing to me is that the town by the sea somehow feels more like "home" to me than any other place in my mind.
I almost said "on Earth" but that's not where it is, is it?
Today I find myself in a reflective mood, so I notice the glimmering memories more than usual.
They determined yesterday that my mother was having congestive heart failure. They gave her a diuretic to temporarily fix it while they contacted the team at the hospital where she had her heart transplant twelve years ago. As it stands now, they will do a cardiac cath on her next week, then if needed they will do angioplasty, stent, whatever.
I have not made up my mind as to whether I am going or not for the cath. If there is an angioplasty or anything else, I definitely am. But she's had so many heart caths, it's almost an everyday thing for her. And right now, I can only afford one trip.
Ah, decisions, decisions.
Yesterday in the middle of all of this, I realized I had a couple of doctor appointments. The first one was at the local medical university to see the endochrinology department about my diabetes.
When I am checking in, there is a young lady in a wheelchair there. She has a mask on her face, beautiful blond hair, and big blue eyes. Later when I am having my blood pressure checked, I see her again. I notice that her arms are...is that burned? No...bruised, every single square inch of skin on her is one huge bruise.
She keeps asking the nurse what they do there, meaning at that clinic. The nurse keeps misunderstanding her and telling her that they are taking her blood pressure. She looks scared and alone.
It's hard to tell if the mask is for her benefit or ours. For some reason, I get the impression it was for ours.
She is too young to be dealing with something like that, whatever it is. And she looks so sweet, it just breaks my heart, but she is being so brave. She has my prayers.
My own prognosis? Blood pressure down, heart rate down, blood sugars still up but not as bad, thyroid odd but not too much. Keep doing what I am doing and they'll call me later about the thyroid if they need to, seeya next month thank you and that'll be $30 please.
When I come home, my wife has had a meltdown.
The stresses have just been too much for her. I spend the next several hours trying to help her put herself back together. Fortunately, there's housework to do, so there is something right there at hand she can tackle and see a quick result. She dives in and it's not too long before she feels more in control.
And then it's off to the psychiatrist for me. He asks me what the status is on things, and I tell him. He says he doesn't dare touch my meds right now. Good. I tell him about some of the side effects I'm having, he's a bit concerned so he's asked me to get some tests done.
So, I have a slip in the car to go see the vampires tomorrow.
I sit back, and reflect on where I am in my life, what has come before, and what is ahead. Sometimes certain kinds of stress can make you do that. Or at least it can make me do that.
Every day is more of a challenge than the one before. And everywhere, home, work, family, I have to be the strong one, I have to be the bulwark that everyone else leans on for their foundation.
So I will. But I'm paying a steep price for all of this. No one knows I'm really crumbling inside. And they don't need to.
I reflect on that.
You know, I think it's worth it.
Yeah. It is.
I'll just stand here then, solid as I can look, pleasant and upbeat, just like I've always been. Even though its wrecking me, even though the stress and tension is winding me up like a spring, sending evil chemicals through my blood, clogging my arteries, sending my blood sugars sky high and doing who knows what to my brain chemistry.
Time enough later to pay the prices.
For now, it's only time to stand.
And there, in that one simple crystal thought, I see my reflection.
We are always in search of the redeeming formula, the crystallizing thought.