Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Unintended consequences

I have only tried this exercise from a mystical yoga teacher once, and it did not awaken that deep well of joy some Buddhist teachers purport to experience, nor a sense of bliss, but it did relax me, seems promising, and I feel I should be offering something now and then on this blog.  I am disappointed in a couple of other bloggers I follow by email, who have stopped posting regularly, leaving me with an inbox that is stultifyingly boring - [what?  now spellcheck is telling me stultifyingly isn't a word - nor is spellcheck.  Nor is bloggers.  I HATE this.  (The computer capitalized hate by itself, don't blame me.)]

Here is the whole world at my command, yet I am bored.  Or say, unimpressed.  Ah, there is the sun, a lot of golden leaves outside my window, a pale blue wash of a sky, water with just a drop of indigo  . . . Speaking of painting, I may be ready to pick up a paint brush in a week or so.  Suddenly yesterday I found myself basically not using the sling.  Well, the day before I hadn't used it much, either.  Found myself loosening it whenever I was sitting, just resting the arm in my lap.  Ah-ha. Healing.

The arm is tending to hurt now in the rotator cuff area.  Another ah-ha recently: maybe these problems with torn muscles (torn rotator cuff in left shoulder, remember?) have been caused by the *&%(# steroids at surgery (one whole gram).  That, or the misprescribed Cipro.  Or the years of levaquin.  Well, an ordinary life. Even if all this crap hadn't happened to me, I would still be getting old.  Or, already old.

And I think that's what I've come to as I digest the fact that it is now one year since my kidney transplant, and the kidney is very unlikely to reject.  I am possibly not going to die of kidney failure, but of something else.  It first came to me almost like a revelation, the mundane words you keep reading as you wait and pray:  A transplant is not a cure, but a treatment.  Like I said, mundane.

But under that lay something else - I had been led to believe it would mean a whole new life.  Being restored to health and vigor.  Maybe that is the curative fantasy one of my favorite Zen teachers, Barry Magid (who is a psychiatrist) talks about. 
creativus interruptus - a phone call from my favorite best nurse, Joanie at the transplant center.  Yes, the urine culture taken last week does show an infection.  They are going to prescribe an antibiotic taken four (4!) times a day for ten (10!) days.  Well, thank God, I said, in italics, because I thought I should feel better than this.  These damn infections sap your strength and depress you.  And why am I having them?  Seems related to the transplant, since this is the fifteenth one in about a year (15!)  Ah, yes, I am immune-suppressed.  Sigh.  And always will be (as far as we know now).  That leads us to the title of this post.  Wikipedia on the subject is excellent:

More recently, the law of unintended consequences has comes to be used as an adage or idiomatic warning that an intervention in a complex system tends to create unanticipated and often undesirable outcomes. Akin to Murphy's Law, it is commonly used as a wry or humorous warning against the hubristic belief that humans can fully control the world around them.

Sounds Buddhist, but then Buddhism is so loose and accomodating, a lot of things do.  I bet anything that if you look at your own life, you will see that you - a complex system - have experienced such consequences too.  Like the way sex leads to babies, and babies become teenagers.  If they were born teenage, nobody would ever get pregnant, at least not twice.


  1. gee, this is all surprisingly apt...both for my mood, and for happenstance. Funny I'm just getting around to reading now.

    Did I read correctly that you had 15 transplants, or am I losing it???

  2. Hi Karen -
    You're losing it - it's 15 infections the first year after transplant. But don't feel the least bit bad. SAHM's do go insane in self-defense. You can comfort yourself that (good lord willin') one day they'll be grown and gone, as in living elsewhere, and with any luck you'll have grandchildren and you only have them when you want them, and love them to pieces. Really.

  3. thanks Jeanne :) I always did suck at 'reading comprehension.'