Another year, and . . .

Wed 11/23/05 at 11:21 pm

Well, it’s four in the morning, the [beginning, now the] end of [November] again. See February 11, 2005 Post. It’s been a year, and once again this insidious, sinister, dangerous, subtle, menacing disease has blossomed into a significant exacerbation. Significant as in it has nearly my full attention. Whether it becomes a major exacerbation; i.e., requiring hospitalization and beyond, remains to be seen. I am doing everything within my power to avoid such an eventuality, of course.

A year.

A year ago, I had just returned from a weeks-long road trip that had taken me from the beginning of the Mother Road (Route 66) in downtown Chicago back to home, which is a couple blocks off the Mother Road in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (I turn off at the El Vado Motel, which sits at the foot of a bridge that takes drivers across the Rio Grande to Grants, Gallup and onto to Arizona and California.)

Route 66

Starting in September 2004, I managed to rock along through the holidays and into 2005 with a course of antibiotics here and a prednisone burst there. On March 1, 2005 though, I experienced for the first time ever a major exacerbation of my COPD, although Encarta uses acerbation as the medical term of art, identifying it as a late 20th century “back-formation from exacerbation.” (And so the word-sleuthing begins.) Back-formation has two definitions, it is either a “process of word formation in which a new word is coined by removing a real or imagined affix from an existing word,” or a “new word formed by affix removal;” i.e., a word formed by a back-formation, for example, “greed” from “greedy,” or “televise” from “television.” Linguists call “a form added to the beginning, middle, or end of another word that creates a derivative word or inflection” an affix. And I think I’ll stop with that, as it appears the first definition of “back-formation” obtains in this case — though I’ve not requested my medical records to ascertain if the medical profession in Albuquerque has caught up with late 20th century form of the word or not.

The point is, I acerbated (oops, can’t use that term, it hasn’t yet caught up with the late 20th century, as its present definitions only include “to annoy or irritate somebody,” or “to make something taste bitter,” and I was more than annoyed or irritated, I was scared sh — well, you know– and, as yet, no bitterness, well, maybe a little) . . . The point is I exacerbated all the way to a 911 transport to the emergency room, where, during the Keystone Coppedness (yup, new phrase for the consideration of dictionary writers everywhere) of it all, the true meaning of “Do Not Resuscitate” (“DNR”) came crashing into my consciousness as I squeak-screamed with what was then nearly my last breath, “No!” (A good chance of coming back again with faculties relatively intact makes the option worth a try in my book. So charge up them paddles, and CLEAR!) The next day, I exacerbated into a 10-day hospital stay. During those days, I did little else than sleep, eat, and nebulize. Back at the farm, a few necessities were moved from upstairs to downstairs (the bed, my chair, a lamp and side table). The week I returned home, I bought a Playstation 2 (hereinafter PS2) for downstairs in case I couldn’t get to my X-box upstairs. My brother moved in to keep an eye on me during the day while Darcy was away in Santa Fe. I still climbed the stairs for baths and X-box live sessions. Home life, after a fashion, resumed.

Early summer of 2005 found me in good enough health to blow up to Iowa and Minnesota for a family reunion. Shortly thereafter, Brother John moved to LA. As the holidays approach, I continue to deplete and replenish my reading list. I found my voice composing the August and September blog entries. As I marshal research for my novel, I endeavor to post at least one “serious” blog entry a week, health permitting. I became disenchanted with the PS2, so the X-box has moved downstairs with a temporary 25’ foot cable connection as I eagerly await the debut of the 360 on November 22, 2005 [Update: Mr. Gates has seriously pissed me off with what I have to believe is a planned shortage of units, but I still plan to get one eventually as it really is the only game in town (pun intended?) (Not sure)] I climb the stairs for baths. My lair/aerie has become little more than a storeroom for my many wonderful things. My sister is here now, but our planned road trip to visit the brother in LA and complete my tour of Route 66 – I understand the Mother Road ends just feet from the Pacific at the Santa Monica pier — went by the wayside in the face of a minor ascerbation early in September. We’ll be lucky to make it to Mora, New Mexico to see the alpacas at Victory Ranch in the next few days. The alpacas live 3000 feet higher than I’m supposed to go, but I’ll stay in the car, hooked up to the baby oxygen tank, if necessary. [Update: We made it to the alpacas and they are quite wonderful.]


And what do my early morning, prednisone musings tell me a year later? I’m not afraid of Death (Proper n.) – ‘cuz there ain’t no such entity. I’m not afraid to die (infinitive). I realized awhile back (with some relief) that dying will just happen, and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it. The fear I experienced around the DNR episode stemmed from the fear that I might die. To me/for me, there’s a qualitative difference between the use of the infinitive of the verb “to die” and the use of the same verb with the modal auxiliary “might.” [I have just learned that “might” is a modal auxiliary verb, and that we use “modal” auxiliaries to express a grammatical mood such as possibility or necessity. And that so works for me, because the only thing I can really say about] [t]he difference between “to die” and “might die” is that it feels different saying one or the other. I’ve spent the better part of a week now trying to translate that difference into words so I could pass it along to you all in this post, but without success. For the time being anyway, I’ve decided just to leave it where Jesus (or Buddha or Vishnu or the Goddess) flung it and move on. As it is, so it shall be.

For the most part I have dealt with my past – although I would still like to locate and reconnect with my good friend JB n/k/a JM (you know who you are). My future is as many days as I have, all of which tend to be fairly repetitive at present. My existence on the material plane has narrowed significantly. I run my traps (errands) of an afternoon every other week. Otherwise, I am an off-the-chart introvert who learned long ago the fine art of hanging out. Accordingly, I am perfectly content here at Walking Raven Central.

Walking Raven Central

Having a future of pretty much same ol’, same ol’ punctuated by an outing here or there, has led to what I find to be a wonderful shift in perception. I have become, as my friend Susan explains, mindful. My days and nights flow one into the other. I have taken to getting up early in the morning, and, if necessary napping during the day. I rarely think beyond the moment, although every once in a while I look over the books on my reading list and sigh at the thought I may not get to them all. This blog (and the novel) is a very present thing. The novel will either happen or not.

And so, on this the Thanksgiving Eve, I am grateful to be here, and in case you’re wondering:

I still want to be ME

next post: Air Hunger and the big I AM
previous post: Message to my Loyal Readers

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