Dear (You):

I wrote this long-handed while sitting in “The Olde Crapper,”
the oldest pub in Stow-on-the-Wold.

Typed, it remains identical except for the
“dopplestick” Altbier’s splay of creamy foam
due to the barmaid’s negligence and naiveté
of noteworthy Alt-style ales and their
distinctive yet dreadful character:

the infamously delicate and fragile froth
which collapses quicker than a slit souffle!

10 May, 2014

Dear (You):

Not writing to you doesn’t imply not thinking of you or your gracious patience since 3 February, 2014. That was the date of my last post which required wringing the writer’s dishcloth to honor the writer’s vow: To write no matter.”1-handwrittenletter2

Marcea, an insightful, honest, and very good friend (38 years) proposed “If writing is a catharsis, then I strongly suggest shifting your focus to gain perspective. If you force posts they’ll be “a whole lotta negativity” which no one wants to read.” And she was right. I spent months trying to frame what I went through, but everything devolved into a pity party or my selfishness or that I’m an unforgiving asshole. Then my partner mentioned an interview between Katie Couric and Hillary Clinton about forgiveness which ignited an epiphany underscoring families and catastrophic illnesses:

  1. Families take care of each other unconditionally, absent of remuneration, mea culpa’s, or thank-you’s;
  2. Family business is no one else’s business;
  3. Do your best and ignore failure. Indecision and regret stymies timely action;
  4. It’s their life and they’ve entrusted (not burdened) you to execute their wishes;
  5. Overlook your life which can wait. Focus on their life and prepare for remarks about death;
  6. Skirt your visceral, sentimental and selfish hope that life is too precious to be cavalier;
  7. You love, accept, honor, and respect their free will rationale about their life or death;
  8. There’s nothing, nothing more important in the whole wide world as this; and
  9. Be strong even though your heart is breaking.1-death2

Many thanks to my partner (of 30 years) who lifted the burden of impossible tasks (cleaning out his house, and negotiating with lenders); my best friend Scott who travelled with me and discussed diagnoses and added a degree of levity.

And especially to Marcea who gambled friendship for honesty.

I could not have navigated the maze alone, and I am truly blessed by being their partner and friend.

P,S, I have several drafts for new posts “in the oven.” Keep an eye out for them.

Rare = “$$$$$”

arareobject1rare: adjective

DEFINITION: exceptional, extraordinary, rarefied, recherché, scanty, unimaginable, few, admirable, A-OK, cat’s pajamas, commendable, cracker jack, exquisite, hunky-dory, meritorious, praiseworthy, superior, valuable, worthy, superior, 24-karat, elite, exclusive, exquisite, popular, precious, top-drawer.

I’ve never owned or bought or inherited or found or stole any thing that’s been classified, determined, researched, and stamped rare.  The arareobect2moniker rare is itself rare!  According to the free website, Rarity Guide (www.rarityguide.com), the nomenclature “Rare is far more than the number of units produced.  “Instead, we factor in many additional factors including popularity, demand, age and collectibility.”  On their website they stress educating the public and collectors about collectible objects.  The sobriquet rare is mentioned only when an object reaches the threshold of eighty-one percent (81%) to one hundred percent (100%): The most sought after objects in a collectible category.
Except in medicine where a condition or disease when codified rare indicates under-funded research meaning that the tightly budgeted, yet interested researchers exhaust their paltry budgets thus terminating further research and flatten the idyllic hope for a treatment long before it’s ever presented to the prudent pharmaceutical companies.
arare oject4
It’s simple: It’s unprofitable to manufacture a treatment which less than one percent (1%) of patients living with these diseases will be prescribed.
So, diseases are rare as well, but no one is a collector.  Now, what am I going to do with the four I have?
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PAIN

apain

PAIN relentlessly reminds us of life;
PAIN is cruel, brutal, and inhumane;
PAIN cannot be proved nor disproved; much like many religious deity’s;
PAIN is private and personal and corporeal to you;
PAIN is isolation;
PAIN is an absent invitation and then another and another and . . . ;
PAIN strong-arms false confessions and prosecutes the innocent;
PAIN in prison is orthodox especially to insistent innocent’s;
PAIN is torturous;abodypain
PAIN is not contagious;
PAIN is in your head;
PAIN isn’t where you think it is;
PAIN is an expression;
PAIN might be masked by pills;
PAIN if unforgiving is chronic; disbelieved; every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every year of your life;
PAIN when chronic is a life sentence with little chance of freedom like the innocent suspect now inmate;
PAIN is mental, is physical, is reactive, is imagined;apainedemotion
PAIN is a taste of insanity;
PAIN is tangible unlike its abstract converse, painless, which slips by unnoticed;
PAIN alienates us from the painless and yet, PAIN censures the vague conjecture of painless;
PAIN painfully illuminates the oft overlooked pleasure of painlessness.

The Time Spent To Read This Post, Equals The Time You Have To Save Your Life

Back in 2008 when the shit storm incinerated the first 20 years of my adulthood, I made an oath while dragging what’s left of a . . . of a bespoke walking stick through four inches of gray ash – some sizeable went aloft and rode a breeze – only to land in some other year; this oath was directed at loss, or better, surviving loss which is always, always more painful than the combustion of mortality which is hard-wired to flee extinction.

Appointed to this life: Two tiny, perpendicular scratches amidst millions of other’s noting everyone’s start and finish on (what we’d like to believe) linear straight-edge of time. And my time – time as living – a selfish amalgamation of loneliness, caution, exposure, intimacy, maturity, judgement, patience, learning, strife, letters, confessions, achievement, and the likely propagation of another generation or the unlikely dog-eared page noting a dead end by a period placed unerringly after the last letter of the last name annotating The End, A Willful Extinction.  The simple decision to stop production thus beholden to past generations, or, the decision of propagation thus bound to the future.

We’re putting a stop to this tributary of our bloodline; my older brother never purposely or haphazardly discovered the merits of fatherhood, and I, being of the gay-persuasion fell in-love when fatherhood and matrimony were simply off-limits; thusly denying my partner and I any marginal hope to have children.  My partner yearned to have a child, Jack (because I simply grew tired of our constant referral to “It”), but by the time the stork delivered to same-sex households, I, in all honesty, was too old and too tired and too responsible to entertain my partner’s fundamental need to nurture.  My father was well beyond my reach; that life, that engaging and interested life, was at least a decade before I consciously understood that I was bereft of any gargantuan, mitt-like hand to hold.  And that sadness burrowed deep, deeper than any other heretofore denial ever tunneled.  And honesty foretold of my family’s dearth in the health department by my adult-life diagnosis of a mental illness, a disease, not a sickness or an infection or a fever but a disease, not an alien landing, not a vampire, and not a plague, but a disease nonetheless. Mental illness is handled, not treated but handled by this nation’s body politic.  It’s a dispassionate and treacherous handling, like the negotiating cop that placated the felon’s demands until one, perfectly aimed .32 caliber round stops the demands. “They” know how to dilute the alleged discrimination; the mistreatment of patients in county facilities;  blaming us, the patients, for their on-going ignorance and antiquated seclusion as a “well-informed, empathetic, and public safety response” to the irrational and grossly illogical . . . blah-blah-blah. . . Um, hello, hello? (is this thing on?) mental illness is a disease as bona fide as cancer or chronic kidney failure (except mental illness lacks a “celebrity endorsement).

And yet, we’re not alone: patients-in-general have devolved into a 15-minute generic; that is, the disappearance of importance, the disinterest of ailments, suffering, and cause.  Today’s Western Medicine Patient has become an Accounts Receivable entry in the ledger; a doctor’s statistic of efficiency; appointment number 58.  We as patients have been reduced to a test result followed by a prescription or passed along like a troublesome foster child to a series of specialists and more tests and more prescriptions.

It’s a cold and alienating model of efficiency and profit, and we, the patients, the commodity are fought over by insurers and institutions chanting “To Hell With Life!”

Just when . . .

. . . we acclimated ourselves to the $350/hour shrug by complacent psychiatrists seesaw of Bipolar life, Medical Doctors proudly (by way of tests) declare weighty physical diagnosis like heart failure, severe edema (not endamame), osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis and an unconscionable number of my life hours enduring the shotgun pellet spray of “these should help” pain reducer until the tide of physical illnesses recedes. I’ve lost the moniker “difficult to diagnose” to the “everything bagel” patient. When did MD’s quit being curious and courageous?

Hidden In My Blind Spot

I’m in the hospital: been since
Thursday, the day
my body packed on
seven pounds in two
days.  Med. Staff scurry like Lillyputians
upon sleeping Gulliver; all rubber-gloved
hands on deck!  Your charge: bee-line
to Admitting forthwith.  Cardiac
Floor has custody; such largess traded
for freedom; headboard resembles
cockpit; heart monitor spies
on any movement: feels like house
arrest.

My body threatens
my brain: both had breakdowns
mirroring the other: breakdowns
are my blind spot; mental
and physical illness collapse
beneath rubble of well-being’s
bombardment by remediless
disease.

A short while ago
my brain and my heart
were bright with promise
and smart with life’s storyline.
Today however, I can be found
in the scratch and dent
discounted department.

One More . . .

3-One

5-One

1-One15-One

One more trip to the doctor.

One more admission of humiliating symptoms.

One more physician‘s persevering uncertainty.

One more hunch about drugs even after repeated failures of 6 week trials.

One more hopeful bottle of toxins to ingest.

One more set of side-effects to endure.

One more crippling debility: Illness’s strong swing of a sharp ax into the pulp of my dignity cutting deeply.

One more intentional assault leaving me with a staggering and teetering propriety.

One more debility before I’m disqualified from sovereignty; stripped of my liberty, freedom, and independence, my self-reliant character reverts to childhood, a time of absolute dependence for survival.

One more obedient abdication of my extinct identities and forthcoming dog’s age.

One more no more.