Thursday, October 30, 2003

That Hyphenated Chick

So I walked an hour in the sun: down to the river, the usual path. Vegetation's getting sparser. The knotweed's bare. The oak leaves, brown and leathery. Maples turning, some still green. The water brown, thick, fast after yesterday's rain. I sat on one of the riverside benches and a whole brace of geese and ducks approached, floating crosscurrent, probably avid for bread. Seeing I had none, they returned to the business of floating, dunking, preening.

I walked an hour, hoping the sun would kick in and good cheer would suffuse me. But it was like pouring ineffectual caffeine into deep fatigue. Plus my neck began to hurt some, and I had to stop to tighten the velcro on Albert's vice grip. There were the usual joggers and cyclists. Some smiled, provoking me to bleary thoughts: they are taking pity on the damaged old crone.

Then I began to sweat.

Maybe this injury has bolluxed me more than I have been willing to admit. It seems vaguely unreal. I think I harbored the thought, fueled by neuro's use of the word "ditzel" and ordering up of a bone scan, that maybe there wasn't even a fracture present.

(Denial ! That Kubler-Ross chick again, as "All That Jazz" calls her.)

Hey, I gave up on that Kubler-Ross chick when she published her book on HIV. I was in the midst of dealing with this awful disease in the mid 80's as the first cases began to appear in the prison system. I felt sad, angry, overwhelmed; it's hard enough to have a COLD as a prison inmate, never mind a fatal, frightening, new, stigmatizing disease. I remember grabbing her new book off the shelf in the bookstore, and turning eagerly to a section specifically about incarcerated HIV patients. I could not make it past her terrible, blanket vilification of all physicians working in prisons.

Bye bye love, hello loneliness.

Sometimes the simplest lines from simple songs say it best. Dead, we join the billions who have died before us. Dying, we all do alone. Even better:

Row row row your boat
gently down the stream
merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
life is but a dream

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