Friday, April 9, 2010

A Personal Rant Against Misfortune


This is a personal rant. I'm tired of going after the big issues of the day. Yeah, it makes me feel better, but what good does it do? I'm not kidding myself. I worked as a reporter for ten years and the world went on after I quit. All of this is like the waves hitting at rocks. Like quantum physics, inexplicable, thought transference through some undiscovered medium, hoping that some current of thought will be picked up and like magic impact multitudes. Like prayer, this blogging depends on faith and discipline and ultimately its effect on anything but the mind of the perpetrator is on shaky ground.
Okay, I stepped on something in the garden while digging potato beds last weekend. I got a splinter in my foot which resisted my best effort with needle and tweezer. Saturday night I went to the emergency room. The doctor laid me stomach down on the bed and injected painkiller into the sole of my foot. That was the most painful thing I'd experienced since root canals. Then she proceeded to slice away, trying to get at the troublesome object lodged at the base of the punture wound. When the nurse came in and commented on the amount of blood getting on the floor, I knew it was trouble. I bit the pillow a couple of times with the painkiller and the knife slicing away. They never found the splinter, left me sitting on the bed with paper towels to stanch the bleeding, then sent me home with a prescription for antibiotics, saying I would probably get an infection. I resisted for a few day, but the swelling and limping didn't go away. I've been on the pills for a couple of days now and it's getting better, thank you, but oh so slowly.
The world sucks when you are infirm. I can't think what it could be like to be truly incapacitated. There was a girl two days ago I had to escort from class to the front office and back again while I was on hall duty. Her name is Brittany and she has twisted legs, all out of whack, and crutches that she carries supported at the wrists that she uses like an insect's feelers while she lurches unsteadily on the legs that look like they were bent on a rack. She was sweet and game even though I walked her down the stairs by mistake instead of taking the elevator. She told me every day coming to school is like going to the place with fire and pointed with her crutch at the ground. I know most teenagers feel that way, and her bright uplifted face told everything you wanted to know about heart, but what a struggle every day. And for us relatively able people, a splinter in the foot blackens everything until it clears up. That's how fragile well being can be.
Tomorrow I am going to a memorial service for the wife of a man who teaches at our school. She died recently, and he's been bearing up well. The support of colleagues and friends has been lightening his load. I would have to quit. It wouldn't be enough for me. Maybe I am bipolar in that regard: when I am well I am reaching for the stars, and setbacks send me plunging through the black hole. Maybe not, maybe I'm over those days. But look at what a splinter did. A tear in the heart would put me in the breakdown lane.


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