Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Still Here, But You Never Know

Having nothing better to do in this hospital room, thought I'd update the known universe on my condition.

Life is the great Teacher. Only Saturday my sitting group enjoyed this Dylan Thomas poem, because I had quoted the first line earlier to Nancy V. (We have two Nancy's most day, some days three. Really.). As I read it aloud I realized how it is about life and death.  Now I'm here soon to get scanned  for blood clots etc.

But, to my story.  One microbe in this colony of seven billion.  I woke up yesterday much more short of breath and tired before I even got out of bed.  It happened that my annual visit with the cardiologist was scheduled that day.  He follows my atrial fib.  Struggled to shower and get there, Tom driving.  Well, they take difficulty breathing with any exertion seriously at the cardiologist's.  And yes, tightness in chest....so this was exciting. Got taken by squad - five guys! - to the ER and so on. Nitroglycerin patch, aspirins, all that.  Nobody took a video.

And today much more testing, no blood clots found to explain my symptoms, leading to the startling affirmation that I need to get a heart cath tomorrow.  It looks like we will do that, knowing the contrast dye might damage my one kidney and we could have to do dialysis for a while if that happened. But the kidney would probably recover. And that might not happen.  If on the other hand a massive heart attack blows out your heart . . . there are no living donors of hearts.


I realized something this morning as my night nurse, Rachel, told the day nurse, Julie, all about me.  Looking at Rachel, I saw how tired she was, and she is young, under 30 I'd say. They work on their feet, you know, endlessly interrupted by crises small and large.  It's hard work. Nurses over 50 usually look tired all the time.  For the first time I realized - They work all night. I mean I saw it, I knew what it meant for the first time, how they keep the cities alive.  My consciousness expanded to all the people who keep Riverside humming, the electricians, the miners who dug the coal for the first electric plant, the train that brought it here, the engineer . . . probably the young people who build computer chips from China that schedule the trains.  How all this cushions my life.

Sunday I had been remembering Torei Zengi's Bodhisattva Vow, so that also led me real-eyes this truth a little more clearly.  Here's a bit of it:

Among us, in our own daily lives, who is not reverently grateful for the protections of life: food, drink, and clothing! Though they are inanimate things, they are nonetheless the warm flesh and blood, the merciful incarnations of Buddha.


  1. Yes, just life.May you be safe.

  2. I am so grateful for YOU. May you heal beautifully, Jeanne, and continue to see clearly to the heart of matters.

  3. In your trying time, you have found beauty in people, gratitude for our healers, reverence for that web that went before us that has created these complex institutions where we lay trusting, and you weave this text and give it to us a gift. Wow. Thank you. Blessings and healing to you, Jeanne.

  4. Praying for healing for you dear friend.
    I miss seeing you on Facebook but I knew it was time to get off but I'm still " around". Lots of love to you my dear friend.

  5. Merging with the universal consciousness can't be all that bad, after a life of illness, disappointment, and unfulfilled desires.