My chest is cut, broken and torn. My heart operates like an alien, completely out of control, wandering around in its functions like a lost pup. New disturbing and unexpected side effects crop up every few days-- double vision, wild arrhythmias, night sweats, the grinding of torn rib cartilage with every move.... And all these events are apparently ... normal. Lies? Omissions of important information? At the least, an artifact of a field dominated by cardiologists with no scar down their chests, who have never run with the pronghorn in New Mexico, much less along the backstreets of London or Chiang Mai, who never learned bouldering in Colorado or sea kayaking with the alligators in the Everglades. I bet they never built a house with a chainsaw and a bone saw. But then it is the same in my field, perhaps all fields, even though I find it irresponsible. I never felt confident until I sacrificed to live the lessons in my teaching texts. Unfortunately, I now expect other true professionals, especially those paid several times that of an academic, to automatically live and breathe their expertise. Nope, they are all guessing. And for me they are doubly guessing. One doc finally said so, and that earned my brief admiration, although not my respect.
I do not walk; I shuffle. My physical life is entirely removed, and will be for more months. Years of hard-earned fitness are melting away week by week, a dangerous proposition at my age. My body is very slowly moving towards the state of my cardiologist's.
This is not happiness, which apparently deserves the labels of depressed and un-American. Screw it. I have had happy times. I remember distinctly that they were caused by pleasant events. We should allow each other to roll with badness, punch our fists through the wall, get ugly, whatever. At least it is real. Sometimes things are bad, and bad is bad.
We pay for mucking about with the natural order of ecology. My heart defect is congenital, part of that order. For propping up my life, I have made the Faustian bargain, and am now paying the cost in a number of ways -- all in line with the laws of thermodynamics, conservation of mass, economics, and the stuff that guides me to understanding the world. I knew it, but it is still a bitch.
Well... all I can do is read, which has recently resulted in this diverse bedside reading list:
- Diary of Adam and Eve - Mark Twain- On e-book, just for the juxtaposition.
- Wild Comfort, Solace of Nature - Kathleen Moore. THIS is a modern classic.
- Canoeing with the Cree - Eric Sevareid. Yes, our very own Eric Sevareid, from 1930.
- Boys in the Boat -Daniel Brown. The 1936 Berlin Olympics
And magazines, which I rarely do:
- Rolling Stone
- Diesel Power
- Motorcycle Classics -- Oh yes, featuring the gorgeous Italian Moto Guzzi Ambassador from 1970.
- Time -- always to be taken with a handful of salt.
The western bluebirds just yesterday nested here for the first time in ten years. Saw my first western tanager, Piranga ludoviciana, this week. Extraordinary.