Visits

Monday, April 29, 2019

Bakso

I had not seen Viana for quite some time. Perhaps it was because my door was often closed and my curtains shut and my lights out. Not that this had anything to do with Viana, but has just been my preferred mode for suffering with the incurable throat plague. While not up to being very pleasant or entertaining, I had kind of missed the little tyke nonetheless. Well, she came flapping to the door this afternoon (she always flaps). 

"Hi, Meester!" she says. 

"Hi, Viana. Where have you been lately?"

Her recent whereabouts are of no interest to her. 

"Meester, you want bakso?"

"Bakso? Why? Do you have bakso?"

"No."

"Who has bakso?" 

"The bakso man." 

"Ah!" 

"You want?" 

"Do you mean to say, Viana, that you want bakso?" 

"I do if you do," she agrees. 

Lol.  

And so she buys us two orders of bakso from the bakso man, 5000 Rupiah apiece, her portion of which, I suspect, she will like Wimpy in the old Popeye cartoon, gladly pay on Tuesday. 

Lee

I see that good 'ol Robert E. Lee is back in the news again, thanks to Donald-the-student-of-history-and-special-fan-of-Frederick Douglass-rap-songs-Trump, who tells us that Lee was one of the greatest American generals and that many generals (countless, no doubt) in Washington have told him that Lee is their "favorite". (Apparently, military men are inclined to have favorite generals in the way that children have favorite candy bars). 

Well, it's got me to thinking about Lee again, as the Civil War period has long been of special interest to me. Was Lee a great general? Was he the greatest in American history? 

I think not. What Lee had going for him was the great good fortune of facing Federal Army commanders who were incredibly, and dangerously, cautious at best to fairly perfectly inept at worst. From McClellen, to Pope, to McClellen again, to Burnside, to Hooker, and even, to some extend, Meade, the Union Army fielded an opposing general's dream. 

Take a look. In the Seven Days campaign, for instance, McClellen acted boldly at the outset, sailing an entire Federal Army south of Lee to advance directly on the capital city of Richmond (taking Lee quite by surprise, btw). And then he dithered, oppressed and cowering before a tiny force guarding the Peninsula under a less than notable General Magruder, and giving Lee ample time to bring his army south to guard the safety of Richmond. During the ensuing battles, McClellen again, insisting that he was facing an army 2-3 times the size of his own, when it was in fact significantly smaller than his own, panicked and cowered, took to the defensive, made no use at all of the siege guns for which the Confederates had no match, and ultimately, and rather clumsily, slunk back toward the sea. No great prowess was needed from the victor. Rather, the victory was given on a silver platter. Nonetheless, when the opportunity seemed at hand for the final crushing victory--which Lee, a truly devoted killer, sought in every battle--the result was  the unimaginative, even careless, mass frontal assault on an impregnable position at Malvern Hill (something Lee was to repeat later, especially at Gettysburg). 

A great general? Well, not so far. 

At Second Bull Run, much of the success must be rewarded to Stonewall Jackson, who, arriving far in advance of Lee, simply confused and bamboozled clueless General Pope--although, again, however, total annihilation of his foe escaped Lee. 

Fast forward to the return of McClellen and the Battle of Antietam. Here, Lee had invaded Maryland with a woefully inferior force and was quickly caught with his pants down by an again boldly advancing McClellen. Pinning Lee's small army between the cornfields and the Antietam River, McClellen straightaway decided to discard all advantage and attack Lee's position in piecemeal fashion, allowing Lee to shift forces to meet each ongoing threat in turn. In short, Lee could not have survived this battle without McClellen's assistance.

Fredericksburg hardly need be mentioned. This was simply slaughter of World War I proportion, with wave after wave of Federal troops thrown against prepared positions and massed artillery. No foxy general needed, just the order to shoot and keep shooting. 

Chancellorsville, often counted as Lee's great victory, again, as it seems to me, owes more to Stonewall Jackson's imaginative daring than to any grand strategy conducted by Lee. And of course we should not forget the sudden curious paralysis of "Fighting Joe Hooker", who had slyly maneuvered his army around the left flank of Lee's, and then found himself utterly without any idea of what to do next. It was Jackson who conceived and conducted the crippling assault on the hanging right flank of the Federal Army. 

And then there is Gettysburg. And we all know that story, of a battle bumbled into, an accidental affair, not a showcase of grandly prosecuted strategy, nor of tactical merit when it came down to the brass tacks of the fight. Would a great general bluntly assault prepared positions on the right and on the left of the field and then, failing to succeed in that, order an assault on an impregnable position in the center? Sorry, but I can't see the military genius here. 

If anything can be said of Lee, it is that he was greatly admired, almost worshipped by his soldiers, who would have gone to hell and back on his order. As Wellington once said of Napoleon, his presence on the field was worth 20,000 men. This was Lee's strength, and part in the ferocity behind the Confederate soldier's efforts. Because the Union army, or rather its generals, had lost so many battles, it was said therefore that Lee had won them. It was largely an accidental reputation, and not one that Lee could sustain with the eventual appearance of competent opponents such as Grant and Sheridan in the lead of able corps commanders. Lee inspired in his soldiers an almost maniacal will to fight and die to the bitter end. It was an inspiration that was not present in the western armies of the Confederacy, and that, in fact, was where the war was truly lost, by commanders equally as average as Lee.  

Saturday, April 27, 2019

No Good News

I've been absent for the last few days mostly because of the return of the throat plague, and there's really nothing more that would  be interesting to say about the throat plague, especially when there seems no solution in sight. So, in short, I haven't been doing much except lying down having the throat plague. I have no plan for a next step. The doctor at Kasih Ibu wants to do a CT scan of the head, but that doesn't really sound promising to me. Sounds like something that could lead to endless explorations and doctor bills. So I've decided to heal myself instead by swimming and then baking out the disease in the pool chair under the wearing tropical sun. So far the results have been a combination of general wetness and hotness which have made no impression on the throat plague. 

Louis continues to want me to move, as if changing my location alone will bring about a miraculous cure. In fact, she is looking at a place this morning nearby where I'm at now. But it doesn't have a pool, so I could not pursue my ineffective throat cure there. On Wednesday, she took me to see an absolutely horrible little place in Denpasar--so depressing, really, that it defies description. 

Other than that, my activities have been limited just to a couple of exhausting trips to the grocery store in order to keep something to eat in the refrigerator. And sleeping. 

In a letter my son left behind, he spoke of just wanting to be well, of just longing for the daily horror of being constantly ill to end. 

I know just  how he felt. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Way is Narrow






Every street is narrow
and I do not know where any leads;
alleys are my options,
the open vista is deceived

Sunday, April 21, 2019

These Shoes are Meant for Walking

Got out for another short excursion today, this time to the mall, with the extravagant conceit that I needed to buy a pair of tennis shoes because I need to get back to walking on a regular basis, which itself arose after several comments regarding my "fatness". Not that the these were inaccurate observations. Indeed, during the months that I have been ill, I have often eaten in order to temporarily sooth my throat, and also because of a general inability to do anything much more active than eating. So, yes, I've gained some weight. Who knows how much? I don't have a scale. But, of course, the weight gain is apparent.

Once I got done at the mall, I did not feel much like walking any more. predictably enough. Maybe tomorrow. 

Yesterday, I ended up buying something called ketoconazole at the Apotek. This, apparently, is the poor man's option for the treatment of fungal infections, though, in fact, it is mostly intended for use against skin infections (thrush is lifted fairly far down the list on the package indications). But the thing is, one needs a prescription for the strong stuff (fluconazole), and in order to get a prescription, one must see the doctor, to the tune of at least 1 million Rupiah each visit. Just can't swing it. Aside from that, I had already taken two courses of fluconazole and, once the medication was gone, the infection returned. So what's the point? 

I'm feeling a bit better, honestly, just using natural sorts of remedies and otc meds (such as Advil and methylprednisolone), but still a fur piece from well. I just don't have any other ideas other than to slog through on my own, embracing the questionable belief that the body, ultimately, knows how to heal itself.   

Friday, April 19, 2019

On and Off

One day on, one day off. That seems to be the pattern of the dreadful throat plague these days. I will feel fairly well, go out and do something simple, like grocery shopping, and then the next day will feel fairly lousy again. Yesterday was particularly bad, as the whole thing seemed to be returning to his starting point--sore throat, sandy feeling in my mouth, burning up from my neck to my head (though, as usual, no actual fever), unable to breathe through my nose. 

Curiously, today I suddenly feel kind of like I have a regular head cold--which I welcome, actually, in favor of the plague.  Coughing, achy, sniffly, tired--all the "normal" sort of symptoms. For the first time in my life, I'm enjoying having a cold. 

Why has this happened? Who can say? One thing I've done differently is that I have started taking cold pills. These were not mentioned by the doctor, and so, as I assume, not recommended. I have also started using nose spray (again, not mentioned or recommended). Have these anti-cold measures actually given me a cold? 

So I will continue to pursue this course today, in hopes that it will give me a worse cold and less plague. Sad when one begins to think of improved health in terms of a particular character of general illness. But such is life in paradise these days. 

In the meantime, I must apologize (again) for not having something more interesting to talk about. My friend here at Kampung Kumpul did return from Sumba yesterday, with which he was quite positively impressed, and a new tenant moved in to one of the family units--a woman from Brazil, though of European heritage. I've not had a chance to talk to her at any length. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The Other Way

Although I have been in this new place for two months now, I had only been able to explore one side of the neighborhood, which is because I have mostly been lying in bed since I got here. Finally, as I seem now to be trudging my way out of my long illness, I took the opportunity this morning to explore the other half--that is, I turned left at the top of the street rather than right. This turned out, actually, to be quite a challenge, as I am still quite weak and my legs are pretty wobbly. I took it slow; nonetheless, by the halfway mark in the walk, I found myself listing continually to my right side and having to make course corrections. Otherwise, who knows where I would have ended up? Along this route, I found many makeshift sorts of dwellings, skeletal structures with old political or advertisement banners pasted along the front to keep the weather out. I also found many scrappy, rather hungry looking dogs who ran out to ask me what the hell I was doing in their territory, but backed off when they found I am fluent in dog. I encountered as well quite a few motorbike drivers and passengers, who slowed down to say Hi, probably wondering as well what I was doing on their turf. Well, I got as far as Jalan Sedap Malam ('Delicious Night Street), before totally pooping out and heading back. Astoundingly, I became lost on the way back--astounding because on the way out it seemed that there was really only one street one could follow, while on the way back there seemed many possibilities. Apparently, someone had been going around behind me changing all the streets. I actually had to use my phone navigator to find my way back home! 






Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Not In PLain Sight

I had not seen Takut the black dog in a few days, except for a couple of brief sightings late at night. I find this morning that this is because he has made his new residence underneath the floor of the patio out back, from whence he emerged to watch me eat a bowl of Wheat-Bix. 

Why he has decided to life underneath the floor, I do not know. I thought at first that it might be due to the rain, but the fact is that the entire patio is covered, so why would he need to go underneath? Perhaps he is thinking that it is a safer place in case the villa caretakers are here (as they usually chase him off). Still, it might have occurred to him that they are not always, or even often here. But then, true to his given name, maybe he is just takut--afraid. 

But anyway, it was nice to see him again. And, in fact, I probably shouldn't be so quick to judge. I myself have never tried living under a patio floor. Perhaps it is more pleasant than it seems. 


Limited Activity

It seems like every time I get out for a short while, I have to pay for it the next day with a lower level return of the damnable illness. And it's not that I am overdoing. Yesterday's outing was to the Honda garage for a long overdue service on the motorbike. I had put the thing off some two months beyond the regular time, waiting to feel well enough to face what is otherwise a fairly simple task at any rate. Leave the bike, walk down to the KFC for a coffee, and return in a couple hours to pick up the bike. Not really a major effort. Except that, in my state of health, it is. 

So today I have a bit of a sore throat, feel feverish, and will spend yet another day vegetating in my room. 

This all really is quite reminiscent of mononucleosis, which I had at age 17. It's not mono, of course, but feels much the same. Relentless sore throat, exhaustion, weakness--the desire to return to normal life, and the body's inability to do so. 

Here's to hoping that tomorrow will be a better day. 

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Mertasari

Actually felt good enough this morning to putter down to the beach for a very short stroll. Problem is that I chose Mertasari Beach, my favorite spot, as it is the only peaceful beach remaining on the Sanur oceanfront, but forgot that today is Sunday, which is Locals day at the beach, given that most Indonesians work Monday through Saturday. I found Mertasari, therefore, very crowded and rather less than peaceful, given the massive gathering of families and children and teens and hobnobbing young men and women. Nonetheless, it was good to get out for awhile and breathe air other than the close air in my cloistered little room, I stopped by a familiar cafĂ© for a kopi Bali, a black, muddy substance made from local beans, and then took a short walk down to where the new hotels start (which has become very short indeed). This last open beach in Sanur is slated to be paved over in due time and generally ruined by honking humongous hotels and all the outer trappings, including traffic and buses. Quite sad, that. Time was, must eight years ago, when there was nothing at all on this beach except for colorless, unseaworthy little boats parked in the sand. I guess progress ain't for everyone. I myself never did much care for it. 



Friday, April 12, 2019

The English Lesson

A motorbike rumbles by on the gravel road out front at Kampung Kumpul. Two adults with a child squeezed between. Viana. I listen until the engine stops further down the street, and then comes a flapping sound. Flap-flap-flap. It is the sound made by Viana's flip-flops as she runs back up to the street to my door. It seems to take her forever to get here, but she is, after all, only 10, and rather short in the leg, and just a little bit overweight. 

"Meester!" she calls. 

"Hello, Viana." 

She rattles off something in Indonesian. 

"Huh?" 

She sighs. 

"Meester," she begins again. "Can. You. Help. Me. With. English?"

'Sure. What do you want to know?"

"Wait." 

Viana flaps off again. Flap-flap-flap. Like a small flock of birds. After a time, she comes flapping back, lugging a school book, a tablet. Out of breath. 

"Meester, I don't understand," she says. 

So we take her books to the patio area at the back of the villa where there is a table and chairs. She opens the book, slaps the page as if the book itself has done something to offend her, and repeats emphatically that she does not understand. 

"Well, English is hard," I say. 

"Yayss."

"So, what part don't you understand?" 

Viana flips through about 10 pages or so, pointing to each as she goes. 

"This." 

"Oh, good Lord." 

"Yayss." 

"Okay, let's take a look." 

The trouble is, I don't understand either. Page one, for instance, asks us what street the post office is on, what street the police station is on, what street the library is on. How should we know? 

Viana is dumbfounded as well. 

"I mean, it must say somewhere." 

Viana sighs. She flips back through the damnable book, finally locating a map.

"This?"

"Yes, that must be it. See, here's the post office."

"How do you know?"

"Because it says 'Post Office'. You see?" 

"No. I can't speak English."

Hmm. Apparently, teaching is going to be more difficult than I thought.

But we get that done, and move on to page 2 of 10. This one shows a big square with hundreds of random letters. We are to pick out English words that pertain to previous exercises. I hate these sorts of puzzles. Even in good health without a headache, I hate these sorts of puzzles. I struggle to find even one word in this sea of consonants, while Viana rapidly picks out one after another. 

"Aktikann!"

"No."

"Why?"

"Because it's not a word." 

"Stoobret!" 

"No." 

"Wumplly?"

"What's a wumplly?"

"An animal?"

"No."

Finally, I pick out a couple, and Viana, by miraculous accident, picks out one herself. 

"Yayss!" she says. "Only seven more."  

This time we sigh together. 

"Viana, how can you learn English if you don't know any English at all?" 

"Yayss," she agrees. 

Page three wants us to say fifteen things about a picture showing three people and a desk. 

"I've never seen a more stupid way of teaching English," I say. 

Viana agrees. 

"Viana, did your teacher really give you ten pages of English homework in one day, or have you been saving this all week?" 

"Yayss," she said. "I mean, No. Yesterday, Meester not here." 

"So, essentially, it is my fault?" 

"Yayss." 

On we go, page to page. Viana is drooping. Her head hits the table.

"Hey, don't give up. We've only got six pages to go."

She gazes at me thoughtfully and says, "Meester, where is the laptop?" 

"No laptop. Homework first."

"Ughh." 

"You want to be smart, don't you?" 

"No. I want to be Balinese singer and dancer." 

"Ah. Well, that probably is the best choice, after all." 

"Yayss." 

So, we power through the remainder of the pages, trying to learn English from lessons that are written in poor English to begin with and seem focused, in any case, on teaching nothing in particular, until finally the trial is over, the laptop is produced, and Viana happily pursues her study of Balinese dance through instructive YouTube videos. She dances, she sings; I listen, I watch--and Yayss, the world makes perfect sense again. 

Pet Sematary

Wild night last night. Stayed up till 8:50! Burning the candle at both ends, right? Like a youngster of 64. 

To be honest, I had grown quite tired by the time 8 rolled around, but I had become involved in Pet Sematary, the recent film based on the old Stephen King novel. I read the novel many years ago, and have always thought it one of his creepiest offerings, as well as one of his best executed. As with all things, however, my memory had retained few specifics about the story, and so the movie seemed mostly new to me. For that matter, the movie may well have been quite different from the novel, as is the case with many King novel-to-movie productions. I'd have to read the book again (which I wouldn't mind doing, actually. I note that it has been newly published in the Indonesian language). 

Different or not, I found the movie to be strong on its own merits, with a generous dose of effective chills and terrors. It is a particularly lurid subject--the permanence of death, the incurable heartache, and what happens when that natural pattern is transgressed. In short, as bad as death is for the living to bear, it could be even worse! 

I find that films based on King novels are often disappointing, or just downright bad. (Take the recent production of IT, for instance). Pet Sematary, in my mind, is an exception. Two thumbs up! 

Thursday, April 11, 2019

The Strong Man

I go to bed at about 7 pm. I wake at about 6 am. I sleep soundly throughout, except for getting up to pee 2 or 3 times. All this is after having slept a goodly part of the day as well. 

This is not normal, right? 

I said to the Lord not long ago, "Lord, please either heal me or take me." 

The Lord said, "No." 

Lol. 

So I guess I live with the plague the rest of my days. My goodness, could be 20 years or more! 

Last night I had a very vivid dream. There was a violent, super-strong man trying to break down my front door. I knew that he would soon shatter the door, so I steeled myself to face him. Eventually, he burst through the door and it was immediately clear that there was nothing I could do to resist him. The man brutally propelled me across the room, squeezing the life out of me as we crashed from wall to wall, and it became apparent to me that all I could do was press my thumbs into his eye sockets. The harder I pressed, the deeper I penetrated, so that finally I was pressing against the brain itself. I squeezed for all I was worth, and to my own surprise, at last the man collapsed, dead. 

I awoke, terrified but relieved. My right hand was curled into a fist that needed to be opened by using the fingers of my left. 

A long time ago when my father died, he said at some point during his final delirium, "My, that's a tall man behind your left shoulder!"

And he counted twelve men coming down a hill, pointing to each with his index finger. 

"One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve. There! Do you see?

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Encouraged

Made my weary way to my follow-up visit with the ENT at Kasih Ibu yesterday, ready to explain to her that I was on death's doorstep, only to be told that she is "encouraged" by my progress on the most recent medication. 

Sigh. 

Well, I guess I'll have to be encouraged too. Being on the doorstep, after all, is better than being within, with the door closed behind me. I guess. 

So I'm back at my apartment now, after several nights at Louis' villa. Curiously, I find the little apartment far preferable to the villa. I suppose that's just the feeling of 'being at home'. 

Monday, April 8, 2019

Villa Stay

At Louis' request, I am staying in her villa for a few days while she is in Australia. I'm not sure why she asked me to do this, as she has been outside the island on many occasions and never seemed to worry about leaving the villa unattended (and it's not unattended anyway, since the maid comes three times a week). Perhaps she thinks that I will miraculously feel better here. I don't. It should be an enjoyable experience, with its various luxuries and all. But it isn't. I guess when you're not feeling well, there's nothing enjoyable about any place in the world. Tomorrow I return to the doctor at Kasih  Ibu Hospital, and I'm hoping that maybe she will have some new ideas.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

A Brief and Blurry Excursion

I picked myself up by the scruff of the neck this morning and dragged myself out the door in order to go up to Plaza Renon, for it is two-fer day at Starbucks, and it seems a pity to miss that whether one is deathly ill or not. I have been so long stuck in my little room, just lying in bed day and night, and I become impatient and unwise. All drivers of motorbikes are well advised to be more than half alive before trying to operate the vehicle. . But ah well-living slowly in the fast lane this morning. 

If memory serves, I entered my new place on March 9th, already ill, but not ill at all compared to what was to come. Really, I have not yet had the opportunity to either like or dislike the place. I have thrown myself into the swimming pool a couple times, but not so much to enjoy the thing as to merely try to cool down. It is very curious that my head and neck feel so hot, and yet I have not yet been found to have a fever. Go figure. 

And, speaking of the new place, it may well happen that I will have to move, as Louis is insisting that I need to be closer to her place so that she can check on me or provide help if need be. Where I am now is not so very far away, but she refuses to use the skinny little streets that lead to it. And I can't blame her there. In a car, it truly looks like you're not going to be able to squeeze through, without scraping off a mirror or a fender. 

But I sure as hell hate the idea of moving again! 

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Red Tape

I reckon that of all the things in this world that ought to be free, dying is chief among them. Just a basic package, you know. Spic and Span. No charge. People who desire something fancier could always purchase the extras, whether it be a funeral or a professional eulogy or a private pyramid with golden statues of the gods. But to further burden the deprived and suffering with financial stress and oppressive paperwork seems cruel and unusual. For myself, just drop me, unmarked, in a mass grave or stick me in a furnace, to be comingled with the ashes of random humankind. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Peace

For the past week or so, a particular song has been continually going through my head. When it is not going through my head, I am singing it out loud. It's an old American song, re-popularized by Blood, Sweat and Tears

I'm not scared of dying
and I don't really care
If it's peace you find in dying, well then 
let that time be near.

At 8:14 this morning, and again at 9:22, I received phone calls listed as coming from Malaysia. I missed the first call because I was in the shower. The second time around, I picked it up, anticipating an advertisement or a wrong number. I was surprised to hear a familiar voice. It was my son's stepfather. He was calling from Portland, Oregon. 

I wonder now if things could be different if I just hadn't picked up the call.  Or if I had missed the second as I had missed the first. Is it really true that nothing happens unless observed?

My son is dead. 

Would that I myself had died before answering that call.

For the past week, I have spoken of dying. I have written of it in my blog. I have worried unreasonably over what would become of my corpse, who would find me, who would claim me. 

During this same period of time, my son lay dying in his little room in Portland, alone, unattended, undiscovered.  

One night, some days ago, a black cloud, a cape of smoke without substance or scent overshadowed the entryway to my apartment. It glided down from the tops of the palm trees on the veranda and then paused in a predatory attitude before rising away to the roof and beyond. 

I did not understand at the time what it was. 

There are a million things to say. There is a lifetime of things to say. There is the all-consuming, never dying love of my own young days--my son, my boy, my friend, my flesh. The little boy who once wrote, My dad is the bes dad in the hol wid wurl. 

The last time I heard his voice was on Christmas. We always spoke by phone on Christmas, and kept in touch otherwise by email. I remember speaking to him for an unusually long time this year, always thinking of one more thing to say. He seemed happier than usual, engaging in a more natural way. Communicating. And I remember that he spoke of the possibility of death at that time. He said that he was not afraid, he was ready. He said that he looked forward to being with the Lord. 

You are with the Lord now, Holden. Mercy is perfected. 

I love you. I miss you. My God, I miss you.  I always have, I always will, until mercy is perfected in me as well. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Fungus

Doctor number 5. Hospital number 2. 

This doctor, a lovely young woman, though not lovely enough to raise my plague-ridden spirits, took the reasonable step, passed over until now by others, of getting a throat swab and a battery of more extensive blood tests. "I must know what I'm treating in order to effectively treat it," she explained. Makes sense. 

"There are three types of throat infection," she went on, "bacterial, viral, and fungal. "We find the specific process at work, and then we target that specifically." 

Again, makes sense. 

Of course, she didn't mention the expense. But hey, I'm willing to pay anything at this point.

Well, what she determined is that this is a fungal infection needing to be treated with anti-fungal medications. There are various fungi, it seems, that wander about in everyone's boy, pretty much minding their own business; but on the rare occasion, something will go wrong and the fungus will decide to invade the throat in overwhelming strength. This 'mistake' may be caused by a number of things, some avoidable, some not. Among the unavoidable things is an autoimmune disorder. 

Ah ha! Enter multiple sclerosis. 

Included among the avoidable things are smoking, poor diet, and misuse of antibiotics. Guilty on all counts there, too. 

So this is where the plague drama stands at this point. After a painful, tedious day at Kasih Ibu Hospital, I've begun on an eight day course of antifungal therapy. 

Now sit right back and you'll hear a tale …. 


Monday, April 1, 2019

The Rock

I was actually figuring over the last couple days on dying, but then last night, over the phone from Solo, Java, Louis basically disallowed the thing. So this morning, it is back to living

I am her rock, she tells me. 

And a rock feels no pain. 
And an island never cries. 

I was even going to write a blow-by-blow narrative of my personal death process, which readers, I am fairly certain, will be glad to have avoided. 

I will say that my first concern (and please excuse he general haze f fever active here) was for what would be done with my corpse, once discovered, and who would do it. Admittedly, I have long had an unhealthy fixation on the career of my corpse once I have shed the mortal coil, which at the same time I understand to be ridiculous, for, being dead, I would no longer be aware of my former existence in the physical world nor of the corpse itself. I remember one time in the old Renon house when I reckoned I was about to die for one reason for another and that my consuming concern was for whether Sparky the dog, were I left too long rotting, would  eat me. (And, as far as I recall, I didn't even have a fever at that time). 

The thing is, where I live right now, no one knows who I am, or who I may belong to if indeed I belong to anybody. My only reliable contact, really, is Louis, and she refuses to come here because she doesn't like the skinny roads. So what to do? Leave a note somewhere on prominent display in my room? For corpse removal, please contact Louis (phone number and business hours). 

I know who belongs to me. All those I have ever loved. But who do I myself belong to?

Well. 

My second concern was for an identification of just what had killed me. I mean, I would really like to know (knowing, once again, that given the circumstances, I would not know in any case). Fever? Flu? Infection? That's not enough. That would be like being satisfied, after a murder investigation, with the vague conclusion  that Someone did it.

So, I took a little walk this morning--a very short walk--and sat on a rock at the top of the street, and watched motorbikes go by, some of the people waving. I am here, after all. They see me. I took a couple of photos to prove me. (Although, come to think of it, the photos do not picture me).