Complaints About Gratitude

My good fortune is almost boundless, especially compared to the circumstances confronting million and millions of my fellow Earthlings. But, still, I complain about the difficulties I face. With all those difficulties, I should not have to acknowledge the bounties of my good luck; but there it is.


Naps, I’ve decided, are shields. They provide temporary protection—in the form of unconsciousness—from the psychological damage to which a person is naturally exposed by living in today’s brutally uncaring world. Children are taught, early, to rely on naps to replenish energy and to secure protection from the harsh world of adults and adulthood. Some of us forget those childhood lessons, though, retrieving them from ancient memory banks long after extensive swaths of time have robbed us of the safety and shelter of naps. Naps reduce the pressure in our heads; they are the relief valves that prevent unnecessary explosions.


Medical bureaucracy—infamous for its speed that rivals frigid syrup—likes to surprise skeptics. In an unexpected burst of speed, I received phone calls yesterday, while sitting in the treatment chair at the oncology clinic…to schedule my bronchoscopy for this morning. The precise timing of the procedure is more than a little indeterminate, but will be performed this morning…well, today, anyway.  Mi novia, whose calendar for today conflicts with my bronchoscopy, insists on providing my transportation (I cannot drive myself because the procedure involves general anesthesia). So, despite generous friends who were more than willing to come to may aid, she cancelled her plans to care for me. I am not quite sure what my oncologist hopes to learn from the bronchoscopy. I know, I should not have left her office without fully understanding the purpose of the procedure. But my brain becomes scrambled by the reasons for all the scans and infusions and procedures and medications; I acquiesce to the notion that “they are better equipped than I” to determine the best courses of treatment, etc.

About John Swinburn

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