Face the Rest of the Day

My new primary care doctor spent an hour and fifteen minutes with me yesterday, the longest “in-office” visit I can recall. Surgeons have spent more time with me, but I’ve been unaware of their presence as they sliced into my flesh and removed pieces of me so the remainder might survive. Yesterday, though, the doctor actually spoke with me and asked me a lot of questions. He scheduled me for a return visit in a month, as well, when he will burn off some skin blemishes on my hands and excise a particularly bothersome growth on my right hand. He explored my state of mind, as well, recommending some tactics to improve it. I am grateful for his time, but I am afraid his words and even his time have not yet spurred me to emerge from this cloud of harsh, hot, suffocating dust. But I must give it time. I haven’t even begun the new regimen of consuming an ever-increasing assortment of pharmaceutical wizardry in pill form.  And I have not inquired, yet, of Walgreen’s as to whether I can get injected with doses of Shingrix two months apart.

I wonder how my body might react if I simply stopped taking all the damn pills that have been prescribed for me? Atorvastatin, metoprolol, gabapentin, tamsulosin, losartan…and on and on. Would I wither? Would I crash and burn? Would I weaken gradually until my muscles and bones could no longer hold me erect? Would my heart simply stop beating? I do not plan to find out by experience, though I think it would be fascinating to know. One day, science and medicine may be capable of duplicating patients (but eliminating sentience from the copies, thereby eliminating some of the concerns about the morality of human experiments) and testing the effects of drugs and the lack thereof and so forth. How would I react to seeing an exact replica of me react to having drug treatments withheld? Would it have bothered me, for example, to have watched my doppelgänger’s body respond to untreated lung cancer? I will never know the answer to my hypothetical query, but thinking about the question arouses my innate interest in the philosophies that give rise to morals and their foes.

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I tried to speak to my wife yesterday to no avail. Her phone was either switched off or the battery was in need of charging. And the room telephone in the facility where she temporarily resides was not answered; either it was out of reach or she chose not to answer it when I called. She does not seem to understand how much it bothers me to have the only tether of communication shut off. But, then, I cannot possibly understand how the experience of being confined to a single room for the better part of three months, with no visitors, is impacting her perspectives and her perception of the world. I want nothing more than to embrace her and protect her from the world.  Yet she may not want that at all; she may prefer the more reliable retreat into herself. My attempts to communicate frequently may be precisely what she does not need and, in fact, those attempts could be annoying to her in ways I cannot understand.  It’s maddening to me to realize that it is possible I am largely to blame for her withdrawal.

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Mornings no longer appeal to me. The quiet hours before sunrise no longer provide respite from the chaos of daily life. I’m losing my interest in watching sunrise unfold into a thousand muted shades of pink and orange and violet and blue, ultimately cascading into brilliant oranges and pinks. That majesty, recently so awe-inspiring that it almost brought tears, is now simply a matter-of-fact process. Sunrise and its companion, sunset, do not  hold the power over me they once did. It’s as if a sheet of grey gauze, intended to filter out color and light, has been placed over my eyes.

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Last night, I went to bed very early, around 9:30. I did not fall asleep right away and I woke up several times during the night. My SleepNumber app claims I was in bed for seven hours and fifty-nine minutes; six hours and fifty-seven minutes of which were “restful,” the app claims.  I do not believe the app. For one thing, being in bed for almost eight hours is radically out of the ordinary for me; I do not like to be in bed that long. For another, I recall getting up to pee at least four times; the app claims I was up only twice. The app claims my heart rate was forty-eight, considerably lower than the normal fifty-eight. And it claims my “sleep” was restless for only an hour or so. I have grown suspicious that the app is making stuff up. Alexa, perhaps, is communicating with it, recommending it tell me lies (in retaliation for my unreasonable hounding of and cursing at Alexa for her intrusive flaws). I simply must stop believing the app. Just stop looking at what it claims to report.

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WordPress continues to refuse to display comments. Later today, I will contact my web host (that also provides me with WordPress) to ask for assistance. If that does not work, I will contact a consultant who knows WordPress far better than I in an attempt to get help. I rarely get comments, so the problem is not especially troubling, but when those few people who leave comments see that the comments they left are not displayed, I suspect it is upsetting to them. I know it is upsetting to me. Is this just another example of how I am allowing technology to manipulate my emotions? Am I permitting software glitches to control centers in my brain that regulate my heart-rate? Am I allowing the human-machine interface to cause my serotonin levels to plummet, thereby sparking anger and, ultimately, rage? I think those are possibilities. I must attempt to gain control again; it’s my brain, after all, isn’t it? Or is it? Has technology already snatched my self-control from me, swallowing it and releasing it into the internet as the technological equivalent of marijuana? That’s a question of interest: might it be possible for software and hardware to be influenced by mood-altering interference? Is that what hackers are doing, in fact? So many questions, so few answers.

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I must be back at the medical clinic in less than an hour to have more lab work done: hemoglobin A1C, vitamin B12 level, and vitamin D25 hydroxy. So, I’d better finish my coffee, take a quick shower, and eat something. And, then, face the rest of the day.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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