Unofficially Speaking

I have to say after a typically too-long Spokane winter, with Sun on my skin for the first time since November, the question of whether I am correct about the identity of the little yellow flowers that alone have the nerve to grace these beleaguered slopes with the bright glorious vibrant color of the Sun itself, seems beneath worthiness. Which is a mouthful.

In short, who cares?

Sure, I know they’re not “really” Buttercups. Their proper unofficial name is “cinque-fois” if we must divert our attention from glory to precision, or imprecision if the matter is to be set right. But must it? Must it really?

Again I cry my plea for grace and mercy: Who cares? I say. What does it matter in the center of Spring’s first full day if I get the name right or no. It matters not at all I say and I daresay you, my reader know it too. And so do I.

It’s the first respectable day of Spring and I declare here and now while I’m still full of unmanageable joie de vivre that I am done with “right” in all its manifestations.

Now I must go and take pictures.

Bad Dream: Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

I had a dream. I think it was a nightmare. But by the end I thought it was a lucid dream, perhaps even a revelatory dream. But we can sort all that out later. For now suffice to say I had a dream. Let me tell you about it.

The story line was a modern day Cain and Abel. You know how it goes: Abel is God’s favorite and Cain is so jealous he kills Abel. Then when God comes to visit there’s no sign of Abel anywhere. God asks “So Cain, where’s your brother?”

Cain gets defensive. “What? Why ask me? I mean, am I my brother’s keeper?” This line is what is known as “famous last words.”

But God doesn’t answer Cain’s question. Normally i would advise against trying to read God’s mind, but in this case we have to start somewhere. So, why didn’t God answer Cain’s question? Perhaps God thought it was a rhetorical question. Let’s try that and see where it goes.

If Cain’s question is rhetorical, maybe it simply reveals how defensive he feels. Cain may be thinking thoughts like “I wonder if God knows what I did? Or, if I say I’m sorry will God forgive me? Or, I wonder what God is going to do to me?

But personally, I just have one question: What is the point or lesson of this story? The Bible is a compendium of moral stories. There is always a moral. So if you don’t get it, it just means it’s subtle. Not that it isn’t there.

So you can rest assured there is a moral to the story. So let’s just begin by stating right up front there is a moral to this story.

Now Cain’s no dummy and he correctly surmises he is in trouble. Is he in trouble for killing his brother, or is there more to it than fratricide? Hard to imagine right?

I’m gonna say there is indeed a larger issue than the immediate problem of the fratricide, and I like it out here on this limb, really. Because if the fratricide was as big a deal as we would make it in the 21st century, Cain would not have been in the garden that morning at all. He would have been running for his life to escape God’s wrath at him, for having killed his (God’s) favorite.

But Cain doesn’t run away. The so-called Old Testament is full of jealousy, deceit and murder. Maybe fratricide wasn’t as big a deal as it would be today. Maybe Cain isn’t worried at all. Maybe Cain feels good about how he solved the Abel problem. That would explain why Cain isn’t trying to hide from God. We know from his flippant response when God asks him where Abel is, that he is frankly enjoying being rid of him.

Generally when you have a rhetorical question, everyone already knows the answer. It doesn’t appear Cain knew that he was his brother’s keeper. But if that was so, why didn’t God answer his question?

It’s a dilemma.

In my dream, the question is asked and answered. There is jubilation and reconciliation. In fact, in my dream henceforward there will be no blood spilled between brothers and sisters, and everyone realizes that we are all brothers and sisters.

Peace on Earth at long last. Love wins out. The illusion of separation evaporates in an instant. In my dream, I am held legally, morally, ethically responsible for the horrific crimes committed by Mark Lanza.

I don’t know him, I protest. Irrelevant. I wasn’t there to prevent it from happening. Irrelevant. I heard about it after the fact. Irrelevant. In the dream I struggle mightily to understand. Nothing I say mitigates my guilt. Because I am my brother’s keeper, as are we all. For ever and ever. Amen

In my dream, the whole of humanity is on trial for Adam Lanza’s crimes. Every mother is Adam Lanza’s mother. Every father is Adam Lanza’s father. Every teacher is Adam Lanza’s teacher. Every young person old enough to hold a gun is Adam Lanza, and so on.

We are as one. What one has done, all have done. And in the instant of shared responsibility, we stand together and discover that in our unity we are finally free.

24 Hour Check-In

Got up refreshed at 7:30 this morning. No pain. Walking is already easier, full weight-bearing is no problem. No need for assistive devices or medication. The only pain is around the incision site on the outer thigh, which is tender to touch, and sharply painful when getting up from a sitting position so i’m being careful getting up or down. Incision wounds are closed and dry and itchy, but i’m resisting the temptation to scratch. I’m certain this easy recovery is due to the Reiki healing I received. There are no words grateful enough. so I will just say thanks. Namaste.

Lateral Release or “Take Your Analgesics, Dummy!”

Had surgery on my right knee this morning. There was no possibility of confusion. Certainty was assured by my surgeon’s preliminary act of omnipotence when he signed my right knee in purple magic marker. I was later given the marker in a plastic ziploc bag, a single-use item in what is becoming a mostly single-use medical system, in an attempt to stem the spread of MRSA, the drug-resistant form of Staph that is terrorizing American hospitals all over the country.

Everybody has a MRSA story and so do I. It’s really my sister’s story, but me and my Reiki mob got into the act so I get to claim it as my own. My sister had breast cancer three times. The third time, the docs woke up, at long last, and decided to remove the offending tissue, her breasts.

The mastectomy was unremarkable and apparently successful, but for reasons beyond my feeble mental powers my sister elected to have a full reconstruction. That’s when things got off on a weird medical side trip. At that time, in the early 2000’s, “full reconstruction” entailed relocating a quantity of muscle tissue from the abdominal area, and using it to build credible breasts on the chest.

This is fine as far as the breasts go, but the impact on the abdomen is another story altogether. Very slimming but leaves the abdomen without sufficient tone to hold the internal organs properly. To replace the pirated muscle tissue, doctors came up with a mesh product that was supposed to provide stability and essentially function like lath in an old-fashioned plaster wall. But it hasn’t panned out as expected.

The mesh has been such a monumental failure in fact, there are law firms dedicated solely to prosecuting damages against the mesh manufacturers and any doctors or hospitals foolish enough to have installed it. In many instances its results have been fatal. Fortunately my sister knows a Reiki Master.

For a few years after her reconstruction, it seemed Barbara was in the hospital no less than quarterly to have fluids drained from her abdomen. This went on and on until finally the doctor said enough was enough. So after draining the accumulated fluids, he admitted her instead of sending her home and did exploratory surgery the following morning to see what in hell was going on. What he found was truly disgusting. The mesh was loaded with infection. So he excised it and to hell with abdominal muscle tone.

So far so good, but the next day a post-procedure X-ray revealed they had overlooked a hunk of the rotten stuff, so they went in again, Now this was the third surgical procedure in as many days and apparently you can’t tempt Fate three times and get away with it. They finally had all the offending mesh out, but now Barbara had a full-blown case of MRSA and off to the Intensive Care Unit she went.

Needless to say, by then she was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted, not how you want to be feeling when you find yourself at Death’s door. Which is where me and my Reiki mob got into the act.

When the odds are stacked against you, and you’re headed down for the last time, Reiki comes into play. Call it Divine Intervention, Inspired Prayer, Laying On Of Hands, hell call it A Miracle (many do) or call it Magic. We don’t care what you call it. If you really push us into a corner, we’ll probably just call it Love.

I called her. Her voice was thin and gave the impression of someone in the process of disappearing. Tired, worn out, fading…I was scared. So was she. I told her we would send her energy, but she would have to let it in. How she wanted to know?

“Just decide to let it in.” She was uncertain whether I had lost my marbles or was speaking in tongues, both of which seemed more likely to her than a literal translation of this simple statement. She wanted to know how exactly one “lets it in.” I explained all she had to do was decide or intend to let it in. Too easy for most Western minds. But under the circumstances, she said she’d give it a try.

The next morning she was scheduled to have a blood test. “We need to see a drop from 12 to 8,” the doctor explained. “We’ll know in a few hours.” I called when I guessed the results would be in.

“Well, do you feel any different today?” I asked. At first she didn’t know what I was talking about. Was I becoming more inscrutable, or was the infection eating her brain? Then it hit her, “Oh!” she yelled the way people shout “Eureka!” when they suddenly comprehend a problem in mathematical logic. “Oh!, that’s what happened!”

That morning she’d woke up early and full of pep, leaped out of bed and started cleaning her bathroom…yes the one in ICU. Perfectly normal behavior for Barbara, so she thought nothing of it. But the ICU nurse didn’t see it that way.

When she came in and discovered Barbara standing on the commode washing the shower stall walls, she became instantly apoplectic. “What are you doing out of bed?!” she demanded to know. It wasn’t a question. “Cleaning the bathroom” Barbara replied in perfect Capricorn deadpan. “Well get back in bed this minute!” the nurse ordered. “You’re a very sick woman and you’re not supposed to be out of bed!” I love it when people state the obvious with such emphasis. It’s like announcing “The sky is blue!” as if you’re noticing it for the first time. “Back in bed. Now!” the nurse demanded.

In addition her count was down from 12 to 7. Not bad for just deciding to let it in. She was discharged the next day due to unexplained rapid remission.

That’s my MRSA story. For the record, Barbara was in a hospital on Long Island. New York. I live in Washington State, and the Reiki Masters were from such far-flung places as Ankara, Turkey; London, England; Sydney, Australia; Bangkok, Thailand; India; Germany, and the list goes on. I believe about a baker’s dozen of us participated. Don’t be alarmed, though, we only work for the highest good of all concerned. A great thing about Reiki is that it can’t hurt you. If it hurts you, it wasn’t Reiki.

So this morning, Richard and I got up at 5:30 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time so the Doc and I could meet at Valley Hospital. It’s always a pleasure to see him, but today was very special. Today, he cleaned up my knee cap joint and did a lateral release of the Patella, which shifted the movement over to the remaining bit of cartilage and away from the area without. I hope I hope this relieves my knee pain and alleviates the need for a knee replacement, which should be avoided at all costs. We shall see.

Before the surgery, while I was conscious and after the surgery, while I was conscious I was very clearly aware of my fellow Reiki Masters around the country and around the world generously flooding my physical, emotional and spiritual space with beautiful clear Chi, Qi, Universal Life Force, Christ Light or whatever you like to call Love, which is Light, which is Source and which is capable of healing anything you or I can come up with to be afflicted by.

Earlier this week, I made an appointment for accupuncture on Sunday, two days from now. When he heard I was having surgery today, the reception person asked if I really thought I would be able to get there so soon after surgery. “Oh no problem” I said. “I have no doubt.” My Reiki friends will see to that.

In 2005, I had my left Achilles tendon lengthened, a post-polio fix. Tendons are slow healers, so they put my lower leg in a plaster cast designed to last six weeks. My friends sent Reiki. I was painfree, so of course I was up and about in the house, unaware that my level of activity was shall we say excessive under the circumstances? The next day I was back in the doctor’s office getting a new cast because I had broken the thing in three places and it was falling off.

Last Spring, I had a tendon reconnection in my right shoulder. When I went in for my 8 week checkup, the doc looked me over and began his standard discussion for 12 week rechecks. “So,” he began, “you’re at 12 weeks now and you’ll be wanting to begin to increase your level of activity…” I interrupted. “Eight weeks. I’m at 8 weeks” I said. “No” he corrected, “you’re at 12 weeks.” “No Doc” I countered. “Look at my file. I’m at 8 weeks.” “What??” He looked at my file. “Wow, you are doing really well.”

I could go on. Another time.

So, back to today. The anesthetic lasted exactly six hours, wore off practically all at once at precisely 3:00, and I am painfully aware of the physical insult as I write this. It didn’t take me long to decide to take my analgesics! Whew! This is some pretty sharp pain, even though I am certain it is much less than it would be without Reiki.

I prepared for a long tenure on the living room couch, creating for myself a comfy nest with many books and possibles, computer, iPad, chargers, Bose remote for iPod, etc. intending to enjoy my time with the ice pack on my elevated knee joint as much as womanly possible.

The whole day has been fun. The nurses and doctors were all in good moods … I know because I checked with each and every one of them. My surgeon stopped by to sign my knee and asked how I was doing today. “Fine” I replied, “but more to the point how are you doing today?” Well it was one jovial exchange after another, and then I went to sleep and missed all the nasty, bloody business of a lateral Patella release.

It’s all so neat and tidy for the patient. I awoke to find my leg wrapped in a clean ace bandage, had some coffee and toast, got dressed and rode the wheelchair express to the front door where Richard picked me up and took me home. Then he went and picked up my three prescriptions, two for pain, the “pain twins” and one for inflammation, the “poison pill.”

By the time he got home with the medications, the anesthetic had worn off and I was disabused of any notion that I could get through this without narcotics. As soon as he got here, I took the meds as directed on the labels. Then I settled down to read the patient information. This is where they scare you out of taking the stuff. Fact is, I’ve had the “pain twins” before so no surprises there, but the third medication was a new one. The doc had called it “super Motrin.”

The label information reads like a list of all the worst ways to die from modern medication. Bleeding ulcers, heart attack, aneurysm, bloody stools, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, blood in your urine, confusion, dizziness, disorientation, hallucinations (well that doesn’t sound too bad), red/swollen/blistered/peeling skin, seizures, severe headache, vision or speech changes, difficulty breathing, swelling of the face … essentially it’s fatal in three major body systems and annoying in all the others. But if it doesn’t kill you outright or damage you permanently, and if you take it no longer than five days and don’t mix it with anything else, maybe it will reduce your inflammatory reaction to having the membrane that controls accumulation of fluids in your joints frankly severed … aka lateral Patella release.

Oy vey. Pass the pain pills would ya?

Your Secret’s Safe With Me

THIS IS A CHARACTER STUDY OF A FICTIONAL CHARACTER. In the story a Priest is having a hard time with celibacy. This piece illustrates his difficulty. His natural, healthy sexuality is being twisted into something unhealthy. But don’t give up on him. I’m not through with him yet.

Father Sully’s Dirty Secret

“Welcome to Your Secret’s Safe With Me, where anything goes ’cause nobody knows. Can you hold?”

He waited, not patiently but with a practiced and wholly undetectable impatience learned during long hours “under the yoke.” Silence is golden, he thought, glancing at his watch, at $ 9.99 a minute.

A recorded voice interrupted his calculations just as he was deciding to hang up. “Welcome to Your Secret’s Safe With Me, where anything goes ’cause nobody knows. Please listen to the following options and make your selection at any time.”

He folded his hands in his lap.

“Please note our charges do not commence until you make a selection; however regular phone charges accrue during all parts of your call. Please listen to all of the following options before making your selection”

“Option 1 is a recording of an award-winning five-minute session with your secret lover, Monique. All you have to do is sit back, listen and enjoy. To select this option, press “1” on your keypad at any time.”

He undid his belt and opened his waistband, but he didn’t unzip his fly. He continued to hold.

“Option 2 is our popular “on the go” session. Cut to the chase, as fan-favorite Hungry Hannah takes what she wants in record time. Two minutes. To select this option press 2 at any time.”

He unzipped his fly and reached inside.

“Option 3, our most-popular option is a full five-minute live session with our very own Oversexed Ophelia. She’s been looking forward to this all day, so don’t keep her waiting.” To select this option press 3 at any time.”

Anticipation was making him throb, but it wasn’t time yet. Not yet.

“Still holding? Well don’t give up, we have what you’re looking for. Option 4 is the first of our two dialogue options. Don’t just listen when you can interact with a real live woman, or man if that is your preference. Ever dream of having talk-sex with your partner but were afraid to try? Tell your fantasies to one of our real live women. To select this option press 4 at any time.

By now his erect penis was protruding from his pants. He was past the point of no return. His option was next.

“Option 5 is our final and favorite option of our fans. Just you and one of our real live women on a completely confidential open-ended call. Background music included. To select this option press 5 at any time.”

He pressed 5. A sensual instrumental was playing in the background, while an unmistakably young female voice purred, “Hello there big guy.”

“Just breathe,” he said.

“Just breathe,” the young female voice echoed back. It was a question.

“Yes, please, just breathe, while you pleasure yourself. Can you do that? Just breathe?”

“Sugar anyone can do that. But why not let me talk you through it? I know just what to say and I’ll say it in just the right way.”

“No thank you. Please. Just breathe.”

“Okay you’re the boss. I’m starting the timer now.”

(to be continued)