Sunday, May 29, 2011

Carry on Camping

Once again the end of the world didn’t happen. Well, it was the end for a few people these past three weeks. Good ole Bin Laden, allegedly sent to a watery grave, Obama the expert orator, blowing it in front of the Queen of England. Not forgetting the other kind of blowing going on over in an upscale Manhattan hotel with ex-IMF Chief DSK.

It’s been ‘sayonara baby’ all the way from the Sea of Japan to Joplin, Missouri. Iceland’s Grimsvotn Volcano just added some extra trepidation for those who were disappointed the Rapture didn’t take off as… scheduled.

I’ve taken some time away from the blogging universe due to my unexpected brush with death. That’s right, I almost died. At least I thought I was going to die, for about 48 hours. My entire body went into shock, unable to eat or sleep, or stop physically shaking, even after all manner of injections and treatments.

The doctor’s couldn’t find out what exactly was happening to me. Thank God I seemed to recover miraculously within a week. I still have pain in my upper arm, and occasional numbness in the soles of my feet, I’m 90% recovered.

Stress can bring on a lot of things people tell me, and I guess that stress played a part in this. But I can’t help wondering if my lower back injury, brachial nerve problem, and bad acupuncture, had something to do with it! I was seen by four (highly qualified and expensive) independent doctors, and they all said that they couldn’t say what was wrong with me!

While I paced from one end of the room to the other at 4.00am, trying to stop myself from actually collapsing to the floor, it occurred to me that if I died that night, I would not be a very nice sight. So I decided to fix my hair, put on some clean underwear and decent dress, brush my teeth, and apply some make-up, just in case the emergency room doctor was cute. Up to now, I had been quite unlucky in this respect.

Well, if you’re gonna go, you ought to do it with a measure of style. As I stood in the middle of the living room at 5.00am, still pacing up and down in my heels, I prayed to God and asked him to forgive my sins and to help me – if I was going to die please, make it quick! But as it turned out, the end didn’t come for me yet.

Three days later, after another visit to a new doctor, I walked along a street in the ‘old town’ and came across a man giving out pamphlets. He was standing next to a sign that read, ‘If you died tomorrow, where would you go?’…

I laughed out loud, more out of fear than anything else. I thought of this as a good sign. I continued laughing, but it was at the pure irony of it all.

Back home I tried to capitalise on my experience (what?) I thought that for such an event to have occurred to me, a person that is always proclaiming that they are not afraid to die, must surely have some kind of meaning, a message perhaps, that I should be heeding.

I searched on my desk for some paper to write on and noticed that some books had been disturbed on my shelf. Two books I started to read but never finished. The back cover of Gods of the Dawn, by Peter Lemesurier has, ‘Truth is often stranger than fiction’. The other was a sci-fi novel by Iain M. Banks, called Against a Dark Background. Irony was fully in overdrive.

Now I’m laughing at myself over the situation, but at the time it was anything but funny. Real fear is not a fun feeling. The folks on that Youtube video of the Joplin tornado can testify to that.

Waiting to die, or rather thinking that you are about to die, can be a life-altering event. The Libyan people are wondering what is going to happen to them. The Syrian’s are wondering too, the Japanese, and countless others around the world suffering through war, natural and not so natural catastrophe, or illness. I am still trying to figure out exactly how fear has altered me.

If I died tomorrow, where would I go?


LVB said...


It's good to hear from you, of course, but not good to hear about your spinal and nerve problems. I do hope that time, prayer and medical treatment will all play their parts in giving you some relief soon.

I have had similar bouts with horrific pain from things like this, back and neck problems, most of which are probably just payback from my early years of being very athletic and beating myself up playing ice hockey and American football, a few auto accidents not too major but enough to tweak the spine, and the rest is just our very own personal genetics that we inherit from our parents down the line. There's only so much we can do about that part - actually very little, other than live with the pain, and try to get whatever treatment seems to work the best for your, personally.

Anyway, I obviously hope that you are not about to die, although I do know with chronic pain, there are certainly times when it would appear to be the better option!!

Hang in there and keep thinking good thoughts, keep yourself moving and active as much as possible - odd as it seems, many of these conditions work themselves out better and faster in time themore you move around and don't lie around suffering and worrying about how much worse they will get.

Be strong and brave, and have some faith. You are here for a reason, so just do your best to fulfill whatever those reasons are - writing, thinking, loving, etc.

Peace to you and be well. :)

... said...

Dear LVB, thank you so much for your words of encouragement. I know I make light of the recent events, but in fact they were really terrible and came out-of-the-blue, which made it all quite difficult to cope with. I really did think I was going to die (seriously). My mom came to visit me and ended up getting so sick from worrying that she ended up in hospital too last week! Things have improved so now I am attempting to get back to my routine. What a year 2011 is turning out to be!!!!

aka Marty

Alex Robinson said...

Hi Marty
Glad to hear you are on the mend - what a bizarre & frightening ordeal.
2011 is surely a mind-blowing year - I seem to have reached a place where I have to admit defeat, for the time being. At present I simply have no idea on where I am, what I'm doing or where I'm heading - but I wondering if maybe, just maybe that's not such a bad thing after all.

Be well

... said...

Hi Alex, you're right, this year has pushed a lot of people to the edge (of something) I've been reading different astrological columns and they all tell me that if I don't change then the universe is stepping in to do the work for me and push me in the right direction. So perhaps we have to just ride the wave, get tossed about and see where we wash-up so to speak!
It was a very terrifying event and I must admit that I still haven't cleared-up (psychologically and physically) everything that occurred to me those 48 hours of hell. I know there are people out there suffering more than me, and realize how our health is very important. The next time I toast to someone's health, I'm REALLY going to mean it!

LVB said...

It's very good to hear from you, too.

All that matters now is that you are still here, and even though you are struggling like the rest of us (maybe even much moreso), you ARE here, and you ARE ALIVE!!

Thank God, the Universe, your mom, family, friends, doctors, nurses, paramedics...thank them all for everything, because you must have been worth saving, or else as I see it - you wouldn't be here with us anymore. :)

Take care of yourself and recover gently, at first, and then grab life by the balls for this second chance, and do whatever you want and need to do with the gift you have left.

Live like you're alive. It's very hard to do, actually, but an experience like yours is one of those things that can really light the fire within you to realize what being alive actually means.

Peace and love and best of health to you. :)

the living tiki said...

Hi Marty!

Wow, I can't imagine what it is like to really feel like you're going to die, but not even know remotely why!
It's great to hear you are doing better, though. Just take a moment each day to envision a radiant healing light enveloping your body.

Your comment about your mom made me kinda laugh (I hope that doesn't sound bad). It seemed like her maternal protective instinct was so strong, she was trying to trick the reaper into taking her instead. You gotta love mom.

I wish a healthy and happy rest of the year for both of you!

"You worry too much, you make yourself sad,
You can't change fate, don't feel so bad.

You try all you can, it's just not clever,
Quit complaining brother, no one lives forever!

Let's have a party, there's a full moon in the sky,
It's the hour of the wolf and I don't wanna die.

I'm so happy dancin' round the grim reaper,
He cuts, cuts, cuts, but he can't get me!"

"No One Lives Forever"
Oingo Boingo

... said...

Hey LVB, I'm trying to understand the why of it. It wasn't my time so I guess I haven't paid enough dues yet! I do want to change things and seize the day, I hope I can grasp the feeling and hold onto it. Right now I am sort of 'coming down' from the anxiety. But yes, I thank all of you, all my friends and kindred spirits. I believe these last two years, discovering this new area of 'synchronicity/synchromysticism', has helped me to look at things in life in a different, more calmer way.
Hey Living Tiki - I am taking your advice right now! Its true, my mom is an overpowering person in reality, and caused me all sorts of trouble. You have hit the nail on the head. Once I took her to the cinema, after she hadn't been for 30 years... she said 'Oh its too loud in here'. I told her that that is the cinema now, you can't do anything about it. She said, 'that's what you think!'. I sat there in the dark trying to watch the movie, (LA Confidential with Russell Crowe) she slipped out, to what I thought was the ladies room. Suddenly there was shuffling and ushers were fiddling in the corner of the screen, near the big red curtains. The sound seemed to have been lowered. My mom slipped back into her chair, 'that's better' she said. I wondered what had happened. 'I went and found the manager and told him to put the sound down, and he agreed!'... She is a formidable force, so you may be right about the reaper!
Oingo Boingo - my latest, most favourite band! ;-)

LVB said...

Hi Marie and tiki,

That's a great LOL story about your mom, simply hilarious.

And tiki, great mention of Boingo, one of my personal favorite bands, Elfman and Bartek both also being excellent film composers in their own rights, a part of my little world. :)

I wanted to post a link for you both for the studio version of their song called "Change", but oddly it cannot be found at all on youtube. Maybe you can find it somewhere or download, but it is about 15 minutes of pure awesome - deep and also just a lot of fun.

Here's a few lyrics, sort of fits with your recent crisis and all of our shared struggles to enjoy and understand life until the reaper finally catches up with us.

Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Don't you ever wonder why, nothing ever seems to change?

If it does it's for the worse, seems it's just a modern curse

Sometimes when I take a peek outside of my little cage,

Everyone looks so asleep, will they die before they wake?

And, hey. . . Don't you know? We're just products of our time and Hey . . .
What d'ya say? Show me yours, I'll show you mine

Better dumb and happy than smart and without any friends
Better cute and better loud, better join up with the crowd
Keep up or be left behind, there's a dust storm in my mind
Seems I can't see straight these days, doesn't matter anyway

Hey . . . Don't you know? We're just products of our times and
Hey, what d'ya say? Show me yours, I'll show you mine...

I like my stupid life, just the way it is
And I wouldn't even change it for a thousand flying pigs

And I like you just the way you are, I like your face just the way it is
And I wouldn't even change it for a herd of screaming kids

And I like you just the way you are, I like you though you may not like me back

I would dazzle you with brilliance, if I only had the knack

'Cause I like you just the way you are, I like this life just the way it is

And the castles all around me, have been melting now for years

And it kills my brain to think of all the time I wasted here

All the efforts, sweat, and broken hearts, the screaming and the tears

I like my stupid life just the way it is
And the chaos that surrounds me like a flock of screaming pigs

And it hurts my brain to think of all the stupid things I've said

And if I could change the future I would change the past instead

And I'm dreaming again . . . and I'm dreaming again . . .

- Elfman

the living tiki said...

Hey LVB, thanks for "Change". You've got me intrigued... I must have missed that one in compiling my Boingo collection. Danny Elfman is so ridiculously clever and insightful it makes me wonder if he really is an "elf-man".

LVB said...

hey tiki,

I'm glad you enjoyed it. That song Change is from their final studio album together (and I think their best, by far), titled "Boingo" from 1994. Pick it up if you can find it, you won't be disappointed.

And, yes, Elfman is insanely clever and creative. Aside from all the Boingo stuff, he's scored music for so many films and tv show themes now that it's just ridiculous.

Hi to Marie, too, I hope you're still on the mend and doing much better now.

Take care, both of you. :)

LVB said...

Here's the ONLY track from that album to be found on all of utube...their record label scum must have really insane copyright police lol