Monthly Archives April 2012

On Alone, Loneliness, and Friendship

Sometimes, late at night, I lie in bed and stare at the ceiling fan above me, with no other sounds in the house except the normal sounds that houses make.

I can lie very still and very quiet—until all I can hear, all I can focus on, is the sound of my own breath and the feel of the pulsing of my heart in my chest radiating out into my body, and throbbing, pulsing in my toes and fingertips. If I let myself float for but a moment, to wander around the sounds of silence in my room, I can realize there is much more going on in the world than of which I am consciously aware.

I can hear the sound of the fridge in the kitchen humming and the faint click when the compressor shuts off. I can hear the collar on the cat jingling. I can hear the click, click, click of the dog’s paws on the floor of the kitchen. Sometimes I can hear the rattle of my son’s bunk beds when he rolls over or moves and sometimes the whoosh sound of the water heater as the flame comes on to keep the water warm.

As I drift farther from my inner sanctuary that is my home, off in the distance there is a sound of a dog barking. It’s faint, and I probably wouldn’t even notice it if I wasn’t lying so still and listening to all that is around me.

Occasionally, the sound...

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I am Afraid of Pain

There was an episode of HOUSE a while back in which he makes some comment about how pain makes you make bad choices and that fear of pain was worse than that. I nodded my head knowingly at the time, but I’m really beginning to understand this more than I would like. Pain doesn’t really seem to stop me. It’s the fear of pain that holds me back. When I’m sitting in my recliner, tapping away on the laptop, and I’m not really hurting, going along okay, and then I think about getting up or doing something, I know that doing it is going to hurt. Why? Because it always does hurt, always. Always.

I mean, I cannot stand up with out pain. Sometimes it’s mild pain but sometimes it’s excruciating. I never know for sure until I standup which it will be. Sometimes, moving around is okay and sometimes it’s horrendous. Again, never know until I do it. So there are days I sit in my chair and spend more time debating with myself than I do actually doing anything. I’ll need to pee, but I know getting up is going to hurt, so I sit in my chair for as long as I can, until my eyeballs are floating, hoping the urge will go away, but since take Lasix (a diuretic – you know, a water pill), I know it won’t go away, and in fact, I know it will just get worse, and the longer I wait, the worse it will get, so (taking a deep breath)… yeah.

It’s the same for food, water, drinks and other things I need, includin...

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Book Review: Poems that Might or Might Not Change Your Life, by Charlie Clouse

There are a couple of things I need to say before I can get to the actual review of this book. First, I don’t usually review books that consist of nothing but poetry. There’s a reason for this. Poetry is so personal, so subjective, that it’s really hard to review it properly. Either you feel something when you read it or you don’t, and what you feel might not be anything at all like what the author felt or would want you to feel. If you review it as objectively as possible, you can review meter, rhyme, style, and type of poem, and yet, so many who write poetry don’t even bother with those things any more. That’s not really a good thing either...

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Everything Looks Like a Nail

My primary pulmonologist is a sleep disorder specialist. He thinks I have a sleep disorder. This is sort of akin, to me, to my cardiologist thinking I have a heart. Or in other words, when all you have is a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail.

It’s not that I’m disagreeing with him about having a sleep disorder at all. It’s just, he thinks I have obstructive sleep apnea and I do not think I have obstructive sleep apnea. Again, though, I’m not saying I don’t have a sleep disorder. The problem is, OSA can be treated with a CPAP machine, but some of the other sleep disorders are actually worsened by a CPAP. So let’s look at some honest-to-goodness facts.

Sleep apnea can cause: snoring, waking up gasping for breath, sleep arousals, waking up unable to breathe or feeling like you’re suffocating, excessive daytime sleepiness, irritability, waking up feeling un-refreshed. It can cause some other things too, but I want to focus on these, because these are usually the symptoms that send a person to the doctor, either because they noticed it or their spouse or partner noticed it.

Now, let’s consider this: I have several ...

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Words are Powerful, But–

LANGUAGE WARNING! (THIS POST CONTAINS LANGUAGE, as all my posts do, but this one, well, it contains language that some might consider offensive. If you consider it offensive, feel free to curse me out in the comments.)

Recently, there’s been a lot of talk about the power of words, whether you realize that’s what people are truly talking about or not. Words ARE powerful. Newscasters are saying things like ‘racial slurs’ instead of saying the word nigger. I wrote an article once about ‘The N-Word: Who Should Say It?” Historians should be able to use the word, because it’s history and without using it, no one knows what it is. Should newscasters use the word? Well, that’s a tough one. It’s technically not included as a curse word, like fuck or shit would be, but to many (and I think I’m one of those), it’s more offensive than those words. Newscasters don’t say fuck or shit, even if they are quoting someone, they bleep that out, so should they be able to say nigger without bleeping it? This question has multiple answers depending on who you ask. Whoopi Goldberg, a black woman, says newscasters should say it if they are quoting and that saying “the N-word” makes it sound cute or funny, and it’s not. But then, on The View, the other black panelist said, paraphrasing here, that she doesn’t like it when a white person says it but it doesn’t bother her when a black person says it, and that includes using it in newscasts.

But in the end, it’s just a word...

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Beating the Odds

The odds of winning the last mega-millions big lottery that was all over the news were something like 1 in 176 million chances of winning. That’s pretty long odds, right there. Yet, ever hopeful, people buy tickets to the lottery every day. Why? Because human beings seem to like playing the odds. One of the reasons hang-gliding and mountain climbing and even something as simple as roller coasters are so adrenaline pumping and exciting to people is because there is a risk of death (or at least serious injury), however small, that comes with the rush. If there were nothing to fear, there would be nothing exciting about it. You get excited because you faced risk and death, and you win… you survive. You beat the odds while staring them in the face.

We play the odds all the time: every time we get behind the wheel of the car (sober or not, driving or not), we risk death. Every time we take a new medication from a doctor that we’ve never taken before, we risk death. Every time we walk out our door, we risk death, and just staying in and doing nothing risks death in a different way. After all, did you know that more people die from accidents and injuries or illnesses that happened in their home than all other crimes and causes of death combined? Most of us, if we die, are going to start that process in the relative safety of our own homes.

The point is, we are constantly at risk of death, every one of us, and yet somehow we function every day in spite of it. We are gamblers, human beings are… yes, we are. We play the odds. We hope for the best, even though we know the odds are stacked in favor of the house, because we know, deep down, that someone is going to beat the odds. We believe, with prayer and fantasy, that we will be that someone.

And sometimes… we are. Or as my uncle said to my mom once–and you’ve probably very likely said it before yourself: Someone has to win the lottery. Might as well be me.

And yet, in the end, we all die. Every last one of us is going to die. We can’t escape that eventuality. But some of us die sooner than others. There are reasons for that. We don’t all get to live a good, long life and slip into the next plane of existence quietly in our sleep. Blessed are those who do.

BEATING MY OWN ODDS

I’ve been doing a lot of reading ...

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