Wednesday, August 25, 2004

For some time now you may have noticed that I've been bitching about my back pain. In point of fact the pain is not simply in my back but down my legs, down my arms and in my neck. The tingling is constantly in my arms and fingers and midback. The burning in the legs has slowed down, maybe because I'm trying so hard to adjust my posture, but the tingling has increased. Just so you know.

I called a massage therapist in town yeaterday. I'd been to see her before and it was very nice to have hours of no pain whatsoever without being dizzy from drugs. I mentioned that I had bought the last MRIs and radiologist's report and she asked me to read it to her. I obliged with her helping me through the technical terms and then she said "So what they're saying is that from the T12 down thru the sacrum your back is trashed." That's what I've been telling people for some time now but it's nice to hear someone else reach that conclusion. Friday I'm going to see her and get some work on the problem. I want to find out if the insurance will cover such treatments. You'd think it would since the drugs I'm taking constantly must cost a lot and without some kind of therapy on the root causes of the pain I'll be taking drugs for the rest of my life, wearing out my liver and kidneys in the process, but then the insurance says it covers accupuncture until you try to get them to pay and then they explain that they only cover accupuncture when performed by an MD. Why they think a western trained MD would be better qualified to needle my back than someone with many more years of training and experience is beyond me, but that's what they want.

I've been wanting to use my little tape recorder to get down some random thoughts for this blog, but I can't find the tapes or the machine anymore. The drugs trash my memory, which is why I wanted a pocket recorder to record my thoughts. By the time I get over to the computer I have forgotten so much of my line of thought I tend to ramble. On the other hand if I try to go without the drugs the pain is so bad I tend to truncate my writings so I can go pace around for awhile doing lamaze breathing. Right now it feels like my left arm is getting ready to go into shingles mode, like some brute is pinching my elbow and my right hand is tingling. One of the neat things, though, is that I can trace some of the larger nerves by where the pain is. So I got that going for me.

A born again Christian writes in the editorial page that God hates homosexuals and destroyed Sodom and Gomorra so gay mariages will result in God destroying America. I wonder why God hasn't destroyed any of the other cities in the modern world where gays are running around? Ptown on the Cape, for instance, is right out there in clear sight. Maybe He ran out of fire and brimstone so He's going to have to use nuclear, biological and chemical weapons this time around. Oddly enough, another writer pointed out that the King James version of the Bible was authorized by a flaming queen: King James. Well, I'm sure once the True Believers convert America into a theocracy we'll sort it all out. Shuffle all the gays, gypsies and pagans into Vegas and then nuke it. St. Hitler would be so proud of us! Nothing like a little rabid hatred after the morning prayers.

I wonder what would happen if we got a bunch of grandmothers to march on Washington to demand that their families come home from the war? I wonder if Kent State would be revisited? Most of my daughter's friends don't know much about the smaller demonstrations where people were clubbed to death or maced in the eyes and blinded, but they know about Kent State. They know it could happen again, to anyone. These folks don't care about who they kill and maim, or they wouldn't be so quick to drop cluster bombs on children.

It's really hard to stop the back from hurting when your heart is hurting.

I saw my boy yesterday, saw that he looked as bad now, four years after the accident, as he did when we first got him back to NY and into a decent facility. But all facilities are manned by people and these people have given up. Last night I saw Michael Moore's movie and saw a vet with brain damage trying to talk about things. If Jon ever talks again that will be about as good as it gets for him. We are making thousands of people just like that, many of them Americans. George doesn't care. His drunken happy daughters will never go to war, never risk their lives for others. That's all he cares about. If I were to take him to Lake Katrine and show him the crippled Americans dying there all he would worry about would be if they voted or not or if there was a camera nearby. Trouble is, it's about the same for Kerry. He's making money off of death. He'll never have to work again either, just talk. He'll be a millionaire by talking and hell, I can talk til you're blue in the face, why aren't I even remotely rich? I have $30 in the bank and a boy in a wheelchair who can't come home in part because his bedroom has two buckets to catch rain water from the holes in the roof. But at least our toilets flush and our lights go on, which is more than can be said for the poor slobs living in the countries we have liberated in the name of rabid American Christian Capitalism.

You might have noticed that tired old men with acheing backs get grumpy. We also get tired of being tired, tired of holding up our kid's heads to show them a poster on the wall. Tired of mopping up mucus from their chests where the trache leaks. Tired of waking up to cat vomit and dog shit. My friends tell me to cheer up and get on with my life. I'm not always sure I want to, but then, who would hold my son's head?

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Around 3 am I woke up to the sound of dripping in the bedroom. I knew the roof was, once again, saturated, cracked and leaking. I got out the buckets and then lay down to try to sleep. My sweety-pie was sleeping peacefully away. The lady can sleep through a train wreck. I jump up at the whisper of a mouse. Then I heard our guest, my sister in law, grumbling and thrashing about. She had placed her laptop on the desk directly under the stain on the ceiling. I know I have warned the ladies about this, but they thought my last adventure with the tar bucket had solved the problem. I have no confidence and was proven right. So with several buckets stuffed with towels to soften the sound everybody got back to sleep. The faint drip sound eventually drove me to the living room where I lay down under a throw and tried to get back to sleep. The old cat Oona decided she wanted attention and came up to yell at me and purr loudly. The cat has the loudest purr I ever heard. I grabbed her and in a fit of unjust anger, tossed her out into the rain. She hid under the car in confusion and the rain continued to pour down.

Now I'm up and about, drinking many cups of coffee. I let Oona in and apologized and gave her some wet food... she has no teeth. She happily purred and yelled at me. My neck is stiff, the back is sore, the eyes are red and in a couple of hours we're all going to go to a happy birthday party for a 9 year old, the daughter of good friends who live in town in a house whose roof does not leak, despite it being a hundred years older than ours. I like that house. It has a lot of funny little stairs leading to servants quarters, to the basement, odd little bathrooms with nothing but a toilet inside. It's the kind of house I figured someday I'd live in, except it has no tower. I always figured I'd have a house with a tower. Maybe the second floor of the garage where I keep my clay studio counts as a tower.

From that tower I can see the new beds in the garden I built last week. The second crop of lettuce is sprouting and the snow pea bed is ready to be cleared off and replanted. I added a couple of beds to the garden in happy hopes of growing more dried beans and other foods to augment our meager income. I have a barrel full of dirt and potato plants growing, secure from the chipmunks. It's something I think I got from Mother Earth News. If it works, when I turn the barrel on it's stand the potatoes will pour out and we'll have happy purple tater pancakes. If it doesn't work I'll have proof that chipmunks are even smarter than I thought. If it works I have another barrel I will cut and build a stand for next year. The raised beds have produced a huge crop of green plants, but not as many squash and beans as I expected. I have found out that birdhouse gourds not only love raised beds, but will grow over the top of nearby bean plants, driving them to the ground. If I can make birdhouses out of the gourds maybe I'll make enough money to buy dried beans to make up for my bad planning. Next year the birdhouse gourds grow on the fence, not in a bed. I'll add loofahs, too.

Jon had a stay in the hospital to deal with a urinary tract infection induced by a catheter. Instead of using a diaper and risk his skin breaking down, as it sometimes does, they shove a catheter up his dick. Needless to say the thing is sterile at first, but if the nurse drops it on the floor she uses it anyway. I've seen this. I mentioned the idea of using sterile catheters and she changed the device for a new one, but I know that when I'm not there she uses the dirty one. Jon gets fevers very easily but since the doctors have abandoned helping him emerge from his coma-like state, the nurses follow the cue and just maintain him. they talk to him, in much the same way you talk to a teddy bear or a car with a bum battery, but they don't really talk TO him. They talk at him and around him but not to him. He's inside now, not listening, not paying attention to the catheter being shoved up his dick.

When Jon comes to visit I can feel his hands take control of my hands. My chopping changes style, becomes more effective, more profesional. Jon was a good chef. He starts adding herbs I rarely use and lectures me on the overall look of the meal. Maybe this is a memory of his lectures from before the accident. Maybe I'm just imagining what Jon would be doing if he had used a seat belt back then and was dropping by in person to help me prepare a meal. Maybe his soul is still trapped in that broken form 100 miles away. Then again, maybe all I need to do to get rid of the pain in my back is accept the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal savior. Maybe all I have to do to get rid of the pain in my back is to accept the Lady Bjork as my personal savior. Maybe all I have to do to get rid of the pain in my back is to accept that my back is broken and stop paying attention to the pain. Lots of maybes.

The rain in Spain may fall mainly on the plain, but the rain in upstate New York falls mainly in our bedrooms. In my universe there would be a great geodesic dome over our living space, preventing the rain from dripping into my life. I'd have a few panels of clear glass, a few of stained glass and a few of solar panels for heat. I'd also be living alone, because I'm the only one in the family who likes domes. I'm also the only one who really believes that Jon comes to visit in spirit form and advises me on my cooking habits. I'm kinda used to being the only one who feels certain things. The typical shaman is a solitary person and even in the 21st century in an all white household filled with computers and cd players, the resident shaman is a lonely man. He misses his son, he misses having a roof that doesn't leak, a back that doesn't twitch and jolt with pain, and the feeling that the rest of his life will be all smooth and under control in a house with a lovely productive garden and a great looking tower where he runs off to create his art.

I still run off to the garage studio to create my art. The garden is productive, if only for biomass. My son still comes to visit, although nobody but me talks to him. And if I was smart enough to suspend a spider plant under the leaks I'd have an automatic watering system instead of an annoying household problem. Why didn't Jon mention that last time he was here, why does he always try to tell me how to cook? Oh well, he always liked cooking over gardening, and I guess a leaking roof was never something he had to deal with. I wonder if I could shove a catheter into that stain on the ceiling and redirect the drips to a bag on the wall? It's a thought.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Sitting in the living room with my daughter, laughing at some funny cartoons. The phone rings. Jon is having a "not good day". Heart rate is up, breathing is down, blood pressure is off. Urinary tract infection because they always use a Foley catheter instead of a Texas catheter. They could use diapers or towels and a plastic sheet, but that means more work for the aides. So they shove a plastic tube up his penis and every now and then innoculate him with a bacteria. Fever of 102.7. If it goes higher should we send him to the ER? Yes, please. High fevers mean seizures. We'll keep you informed, just wanted you to know.

Now the laughter is gone, the smiles are gone. I have a headache. My back is tight. It's almost time to take some pain meds. Sleep will come in one hour slots, I suppose, as I worry about the fever.

If we lived in Sweden, Britain...even Finland, Jon would not have these fevers and I would not have this pain. Jon would be sitting in his chair watching the cartoons with us, his family. I would have a nice new disc in my back, or a pump squirting in low doses of morpheine or something to kill the pain. Jessie wouldn't be borrowing $100,000 to go to college. My car would have a rear bumper or we wouldn't need a car. The roof would not be leaking. Mold would not be growing on our ceiling. If we lived in a civilized country.

I can't get high enough to kill the pain without killing myself.

How to learn to love the pain, to admire the folly, to feel no remorse? They don't teach you this in those nice meditation classes. I'm not trying to learn how to relax, I want to stop hurting. Why won't they let me stop hurting? Why do they have to hurt my son?

There is no "why". It's just the way it is, here in America, the best of all possible worlds. Tomorrow the rain may be gone, the roof may stop dripping, the back may loosen up. I may just go eat some pills, maybe double up on the pain meds. Find a way to find a way.

Tomorrow or the next I'll dose up, hop in the car, drive 100 miles to hold my son's hand and tell him I'm sorry he hurts and try to convince them to make the effort to reach him, not to maintain him, but to reach him and explain why it's so important to shove a tube up his dick and make him sick. To give him fevers and seizures and a shorter life span.

Ancient blessing: Grandfather dies, father dies, son dies.

Live to see your grandchildren, have children of your own, your children live on after you have gone. Something like that. I still have a chance to have grandchildren. I can always move the family to Sweden if they let us in. Time to take some pills and watch some cartoons.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Tonight I'm stuck in a world of pain. It doesn't make a lot of sense because I had reikei on my back this afternoon and didn't have any alcohol, no red meat. I watched an interesting bit of TV and went to bed early and woke up a couple of hours later in pain. Typical that my back would sneak up on me like this. I dug up some wildflowers this morning, so the shoveling might be the problem. The irony of this is amazing. If I do things which make me feel complete, like gardening or art, my back and arms knot up and lock up and then no pills, no herbal teas, nothing helps.

I've been told I'm too serious. I can't quite understand this. We have had our government taken over by bloodthirsty, religious zealots who think the idea of the End of Times is a justifiable goal. I have a son in a coma losing hope and running out of time. My back has crushed bones and damaged nerves and the drugs you take to help with one problem cause others. I sleep in one hour increments with my mind buzzing, my arms twitching and my dream erratic. But I'm too serious.

It's hard to think like this. I've been through drug withdrawal before and this is similar, but I haven't stopped taking any drugs recently, so where is it coming from? I thought about the rebound effect I get sometimes when I do the right things, like get therapy for my back. The muscles relax nicely and then snap back, tighter than before. I'm at war with this back of mine. I think it's winning. Lack of sleep causes pain, pain causes lack of sleep. This is where legal medical pot would be so handy. If I could grow the stuff I'd have a nice salad, saving my poor lungs and affter awhile I'd be nighty-nite. Instead I will probably be drinking hops tea some more and see if the mild narcotic will help me sleep. It's not that I can't get to sleep, but the pain wakes me up too soon to get into REM sleep.

When I was having reikei I had a vision just towards the end. I could see the wooden archway that is at the path to my garden. In front and blocking it was a seven headed monkey, like a hydra. I wonder what kind of spirit it was, maybe a messenger from trickster. Cut one head off and two more grow. Well, maybe a flame thrower would fry the bastard. What's the spiritual equivalant of a flame thrower? Peyote. Yeah. I should shove eight buttons up my butt and have a little trip. That would certainly be distracting but chances are my sweety-pie would object. Besides I haven't done that kind of thing in maybe 30 years and it would be a shame to stop my heart just to relieve a little pain.

What I need is a good massage and accupuncture. I wonder if the local accupuncturist makes late night early morning house calls? A sauna might do it but the sauna remains incomplete due to back troubles. Ah, there's the rub. Everybody who has enough skill to make the pain go away lives about 3000 miles away. I'm so tired, Uncle Albert, and I haven't done a single bloody thing all day. Except dig some wildflowers, try to help my back out and eat healthy. Strange. If I had had a half dozen beers or a few shots I'd probably be sleeping like a babe, but waking up with a migraine. Damn this body of mine, I wish we could work up a treaty of some kind.

Okay, the pain pills will kick in soon, if they are going to do anything. I'll make some more hops tea, take some more neurontin and hope for the best. That freaking mokey can piss off as far as I am concerned. Sooner or later I will pass out and maybe sleep for more than an hour. That would be great. Risa, if you want me to loosen up and lighten up come on down and use those massage skills on the tightest back you ever saw. Otherwise go out back and tell that hydratic monket to piss off. Tomorrow is a better day and I will never be hungry again. Sleepy yes, hungry, no. I have patty pan squash out the ass in my garden. Not the same as peyote up the ass, but it will have to do. If my daughter wasn't a vegetarian we'd be eating fried chipmunks. The little creeps are digging up my herb garden. I hate that. Ah well, pain and lack of sleep makes my grumpy. Maybe a good book on quantum mechanics will make me sleepy. Oh, yeah, it's not being sleepy that's the problem. I'm plenty sleepy. I just can't sleep.

Monday, August 02, 2004

A simple proposal came to me. As usual, I was weeding and meditating on the act. We've seen the genocide allusion and bigotry concept go by and thought about the idea that I was not killing, but trimming back, becaue I certainly know that all grass in interconnected and long limbed, so I was brushing aside. then I had the thought that really I was harvesting yet another growth which thru my action or inaction I had some responsibility for....well it just snowballed. Or dirtballed. Anyway, I have pretty locked onto the idea of Life as Change. that all life changes and all that changes is alive in some way even if I am ignorant of how to say HI. But I got into a talk with a fundamentalist evangelical lady who always assures me that God even loves me, the Pagan. She's cute, but she makes me think about, How could I say anything to make her understand anything of what I mean by "spirit"? So I practice speeches. And edit them in my mind while I weed. I figure the speches are changeing, ergo they are alive.

And what do living things do first off? They try to stay alive. Every living thing does things early on to stay alive, or.... they die, yeah? So everything tries to stay alive, usually by establishing some room for change, establishing "space". This often means killing other things. But it's okay, generally, if you kill "others", like so called weeds. Flowers, things that you like or make you feel good, can stay. That is pretty much a right of all living things. That said, I asked, What else is there?

If everything that changes is alive and everything changes, and certainly all things change, what's left over? IN my mind's ear I heard it as I was thinking it, probably whispered to me by Trickster. "GOD NEVER CHANGES" No, God in the Big Three is unchanging, all knowing etc. If God does not change, then God is not alive, or not living. This would make sense because the metaphor of life on earth is of non-life sustaining life, and God is said to sustain us. So God is the Great Unliving. Not the living dead, because they require human blood and you can't seem to shake them with anything but symbols, and you better believe in them symbols strongly because the strength comes from within. Then I realized I'd described Judaism, Christianity and Islam. But those date back earlier, maybe to a volcano god. Which could have been the Goddess when she was pissed. Maybe Yaweh is Momma Pissed Off. Shades of Glory.

But I digressed a bit. God as the Great Unliving is also the AllKnowing. Now, I know that gnosis is the domain of the Goddess, and gnosis is knowing, but gnosis is also understanding, the goal, the perfection. Yaweh's gnosis is imperfect so he's just allKNOWING, not GNOSIS. Now, as some thinker realizes that the creation of a God requires a quantum collapse of emense proportions, they understand that "Whenever three or more of Ye are gathered..." is more Hermetic, but Hermes was the God of messages. The point is that making a God requires a lot of people to think it up, to sustain it. If you sustain a God long enough it elevates up to a level where it is the Biggest Crab Grass on the Lawn! Or at some point, whether it was a god in waiting and a prophet delivered it to the people, or created by some prophet and sustained by the people makes not difference. You got a God out there. You brought it home, and by YOU I mean the people who sustain IT. You have to feed it, to pick up after it, teach it something, don't let it just lay around and get fat, like those Goddesses over there....

But the gods made this way are merely metaphors for the ONE, which, in a fit of self examination created the Living Universe, the one that thinks and changes. Slightly different from the Great Unliving which created it. We don't know how long the Great Unliving was about, thinking about itself until it established what it was and what it wasn't, which created duality and the illusion of time. Before two there was no time. By then the paradoxes of daughter creating mother cause a ripple effect of paradoxes and the Physical universe comes into being, the Group of Four. Four dimensions. Four directions, four elements, nice difraction pattern formed by fours and waves of light and radiation, what a blast.

I weed because it makes me feel good. I harvest to make food and to spread life, why I compost. Understanding compost is to understand entrophy. I realize that I cannot see the Great Unliving because it does not change. It can't wave, it has no fingers. Unlike me prying through the violets plucking out grass sprouts, God is reduced to sending tablets of stone down. But how could IT, the One send anything out? Couldn't, it would have to be one of the grandkids or one of the cousins. Someone with room to change and the inclination.

A people define their god by their habits, by their history, what they are willing to take on and to pas up to their God. You don't see vegetarians worshiping a meat eater very often. Sometimes they are picky eaters. Sometimes people get the idea that to make enough people think of a god a certain way you need to make them run in one direction. So they kill someone up front and the whole flock just runs to the right, then the left, tramplings can happen and it just never works out well. People who worship cattle tend to want to be in big flocks going in one direction. It's why congregations happen. Whenever three or more of ye are gathered in my Name refers to the creation of a Holy Name.

The trick with a Holy Name is that the fewer people who know it, the holier it becomes, so it becomes SACRED, like secret. It's a secret, don't tell mommy, and don't tell daddy, or uncle or whatever he calls himself...don't tell anyone, it's a secret. That just so sounds like a dirty old man about to expose himself to some little kid. The Burning Bush indeed. But there you go. That's why it's important to have esoteric knowlege, that is Hidden Knowlege. But then that's a damn secret too. And on it goes. All of Mom's brothers want to play games that don't seem "right". Like when you're asked to lay your son over a rock and slit his throat so He could drink the blood. Well, He didn't actually make the kid do anything except slit the throat of a living thing and let the God drink it's blood. Then in a few hundred years the God gets the kid anyway, because all living things die and are reborn.

Gods that are living must therefor die and be reborn. And in between Death and Life, Dark and Light, is the domain of Trickster. The God of threshold events and quantum collapses. He keeps cranking out new Truths and they still don't get the joke. He's just watching us until the ONE returns, and don't try to tell the ONE what Uncle did, because One already knows and doesn't care, because you've all been bad. You.... ate that fruit! That Bad Fruit, you thought that thought, slept with that person, worked on the wrong day, you're all bad and all your children will be bad, too and the ONE will not like you at all, ONE'll turn away from you. The ONE can't turn away, because the ONE is ONE and there is no duality so there is no question, no answer, no goal or destination, or anything living, because living is change and the ONE cannot change.

But the virtue of Trickster is that Trickster is OUTSIDE, coming from Chaos. Trickster can allow the ONE to change, or close enough for tunnel work. By holding up masks of all the faces of ONE and exciting the imagination through symbols, Trickster can empower the masks and give a form to that God. That is the example of trickster in his Creative Role as Great Mother or maybe Great Aunt, probably named Freya. But, as I say, once you've asked for one, created one and sustained one, you know they are living and so must die someday. Maybe in your lifetime and if you are devout enough, this will be a bad time, maybe the Last of Times.

I figure we'll all just go to the shelter and find one with nice eyes.