Saturday, July 1, 2017

The Process

Lying in bed last night, alongside my irrepresible neuropathic pain, which is not helped by lying in bed or by anything else, it occurred to me that when a person is first diagnosed with a disease, he doesn't really believe in the disease. Or, rather, he believes he has the disease, because the doctor said so and the tests showed as much, and, indeed, he has experienced some symptoms (which is why he went to the doctor in the first place), but he does not believe, nor can he picture, that the disease will affect him over time as it affects other people. He does not believe this because he, after all, is himself and not other people. He has had various troubles in the past, various illnesses, and has always been able to recover. It may simply take willpower, or exercise, or prayer, or changes in diet and lifestyle, but surely he will overcome the problem. Again, he has not ever been a person with a disease, and he is not about to start now. He will take measures. Think positively. 

Some years on down the road, the disease has fully entrenched itself, and has widened and deepened its investment. It has taken hold, one finger after another, and it is not about to let go. It can't. This is what it does. It thrives. His former state of health does not. 

And one realizes that he is going down. The opponent is stronger, faster, heavier, and possesses a far greater expertise - the blind, unknowing expertize of the cellular process, the very process that both enlivens and destroys him. He cannot win, and his efforts are reduced to a pattern of monotonous struggle and endless adjustment. Just when he has shored up one hole in the line, the enemy pours through another. The perimeter shrinks, the strangle-hold tightens, the capital building is already within range. 

And here he is, after all. Just like the rest. A person with a degenerative disease, following the road always followed by all. For there is only one road, and it leads inexorably to the same dispassionate, unchangeable end.

And it is at this point, strangely enough - at this crossing through the threshold of acknowledgement - that one truly begins to live. 

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