It has been one of those days in my life in which a sense of mortality looms large or at least the awareness, yes, the abiding awareness, of a painful degrading of one’s integument years ahead. Diagnosed with a spinal lower back problem which has caused me terrific pain down the length of my leg like the insanely corrosive pain I had with sciatica decades ago, I am experiencing a mixture of despair, depression and sadness. I am left with my own unique problem of aging, for I am number 12,000,000,002 of humans who have lived on this planet.This summer I have been hit with an array of medical issues, some more far-reaching in their consequences than others. What they are, in detail, is of little importance to you, but what they mean to me is critical.
Some wag long ago proffered that one should have a medical problem, a disease, whatever and nurse this for the years ahead. I get the adaptational drift of this but it is not a practical point of view, not when you feel bombarded by medical issues. It takes a sorting out of them, how to cope, how to prioritize, how to use that bump on top of the brain stem to order and fashion a way to and a way out of. Results from recent blood tests report that I am really doing chemically well in this area, but I have to cease working out with my trainer because of my leg. But exercise doubtless led to the good blood results. Stop exercising and grow indolent, keep exercising and exacerbate the spinal pain, although I may be able to work around that, compensate in some fashion. In short, a kind of triage has set in, of how to manage all this coming at me. Incoming rounds, in short.
When today’s doctor told me that to get off the leg is the best relief — no Tylenol, no meds, no ice packs, et al, it was as if he kicked the stool out from beneath me. I just had to stoically suck up the pain until further tests came back, such as the MRI I had today. X-rays revealed, for lack of a better word, bone spurs in the lower part of my spine.These cause the pain. I had the unique experience of falling to the floor for relief after an attack of pain — put a cup in my hand and I could have beggared. And this occurred at the doctor’s office. I am trying to keep the cotton candy clouds from out of my mind as I try to reason my way through this while working with my feelings about this onslaught.
I realized about an hour ago while lying in bed that my blogging is only useful to me or no more than a handful, if that, of people who read this cyber-diary. So I said to myself to just get up and put down your thoughts as you used to do centuries ago with paper and pencil or the old Smith Corona typewriter to expel my inner demons. ( To the young ones out there, you can handle social media and IPads but can you tune up a carburetor, insert paper and carbon into a typewriter and line it all up, make erasures, even to calculating how much space on the bottom for footnotes, and so on. Can you make your yo yo “sleep” or “rock the cradle”? or put pressure, “English,” on a Spaldeen so to make it curve when it bounced?)
So much time has rubbed through my hands, like water. Only now and then, only here and there, mostly in my later years, did I look, measure and filter this passage of time for whatever contents I could see and perhaps learn from. When you are young time is piss. When you are older it is sad-tinged piss. Associations I have experienced on a daily basis late in life, which seems to my mind always more powerful later in life, reveal this shard from being young dissolving into another shard in the present. Associations to one’s youth and middle age come roaring back to haunt or enlighten me, if that is the word. So much has happened to me in one life span that I only imagine that sense and sensibility will dimly emerge. I cannot attain the enjoyment of making meaning out of it all.
It is not only Kane’s Rosebud that nags at our sensitivities, but what associations did he have in mind as he was dying to that sled? that is the tragic poignancy of it all, the ache we all feel when we come to die, which for me, is on a daily basis. Yesterday’s examination and the imminent results became the early artist proofs of what lies ahead, and since one cannot really prepare for death while dying, one can only “prepare” for it while living and keeping in mind the passing of seasons and the passing of youth and middle age all the while entering the portal of aging and death.
At this point nothing uplifting is required if you are stoical. Like the gigantic sloughs of ice that break away from the cold regions of the poles, one can only accept. Life is a breaking apart and a breaking away.