Friday, March 30, 2012

A Letter to My Doctor

Names have been changed, not to protect the innocent or to shield the guilty, but to hide the identity and location of some of the most talented medical professionals to grace the planet. I don't want to lose access to them due to a sudden spike in earthly demand.

I just emailed my MDVIP Go-To-Guy. This was the subject line: "I made a decision..."

What an ominous subject line!


In the last few weeks, despite a STELLAR lab report [!], it's become clear that whatever infectious/inflammatory process is going on in my left shoulder/arm has not been stopped even with the very best efforts of a lot of good people, not to mention considerable pain, suffering, and pity parties here at home. Looking back at all the surgeries involved, it's equally clear that I've begun pushing my luck, since the post-op periods have become harder and harder; It also seems that CRPS has decided to take a dim view of these efforts as well, as it has spread up this left arm like wildfire in the past 8 weeks.


So when I saw Dr. ShoulderMan yesterday, I beat him to the punch and told him that the best option looks to be a flail arm. He tried to hide it, but he looked so relieved. As he said, "There are worse things."


I don't know where you stand on all this, but I hope you can follow my reasoning, such as it is. I don't think the odds of this problem killing me change one bit whether we proceed with another prosthesis (and then, in all likelihood, resume the chase for wily pathogens) or remove all hardware (and still, perhaps, cannot stop those wily pathogens). All things being equal, I'd rather not die in Lone Alp Hospital, with good-intentioned people poking my legs and telling me my whole problem is undiagnosed cellulitis.


So... I am not thrilled at the idea of a useless left arm and have many fears for the well-being of the right one. Fred is upset with me, but will get over it, I hope. Dr. ShoulderMan says that after about 3 months, the scar tissue that forms helps to provide some stability, and may enable more movement.


In other news -- I'm plagued, again, with spasms, almost always for an hour or two in the late afternoon, then beginning again between 8 and 10 pm. I DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO. This one thing, more than any other, I cannot deal with...


Fever -- usual pattern, and staying mostly in the 100s -- for the last 8 days. Increasing pain in the shoulder, and returning pain in other bones as well, all of which is typical when fevers hit. And though it never seems to mean anything specific, I am exhausted! I am going to try and push myself some this weekend, as I need to get some stuff done around here. [ManorFest will not plan itself, y'know!]

That's about it. I think it's high time I stopped wasting medical resources -- looking over the bills from January and February, I am mostly shocked at the expense. There are more precious resources -- time, patience, and good will come to mind -- that have been wasted, too.


I am likely to get depressed thinking about the flail arm thing... My inspiration to counter that is going to be a young lady I've met online, named Hannah. Without complaint, she underwent a rotationplasty about two weeks ago. If she can do that and keep on trucking, I can do this little thing!


Take care -- and, as always, any ideas to defeat spasms are most welcome!


Retired Educator,
Prof-de-Rien

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Charter for Compassion's First Assignment





Uploaded by  on Mar 27, 2012
Adrian Grenier wants you to get reacquainted with compassion - and to practice it every day in every way you can. He's affirmed the Charter for Compassion and committed to making a better world.

Now it's your turn. We want to know how an act of compassion has changed your life. It's that simple. Learn to recognize compassion and resolve to practice it. First, record your video response to Adrian via YouTube. Post your response video on our Facebook wall, and share your assignment with friends & family. We'll continue to curate and share our favorite stories from you. Post your response video on our wall, and share your assignment with friends & family. We'll continue to curate and share our favorite stories from you.





THE CHARTER FOR COMPASSION

The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.

It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.

We therefore call upon all men and women ~ to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.

We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensable to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community


Cat Videos and Pity Parties

The plan, which I never hide from my Dear Readers, is to salvage this post with a few lame videos of the cats of Marlinspike Hall.  I've been trying to put together some footage of Dobby the Runt and his affinity for all things "butt," however, the little guy has an uncanny awareness of the camera and refuses to be cute or even very butt oriented in its presence.

He senses that I'm drifting into Trouble Territory, however, and may just think that wasting my troubled time recording his predilection for tail pulls and rear whacks is a little too ridiculous, even for me.  Dobby has never before been a lap cat but now gently climbs all over me -- still causing a few episodes of spontaneous screaming when he missteps -- and stares.  I've noted before that he never got the "staring is aggression" memo.  

Dobby will stare at you, pupils huge, all placid-faced and irresistibly pink-nosed -- absolutely luminous -- for as long as 15 or 20 minutes.  He doesn't mind in the least should you stare back, though he does pick up on *your* aggression, should you harbor any.  Should you be thinking, for example, "Why the hell is this cat staring at me?  What, do I have mustard greens stuck to my teeth?  Does he know about that vet appointment?"

The iconic photograph of Dobby, iconic for those of us who know his unique character and weirdnesses, is called "Dobbox."  The love of boxes is not unique, of course, but he seemed to consider this small one a sort of home base, from whence he could survey the world, and particularly, Fred, with immunity from accusations  of Stare Aggression.  He'd trot over to it, hop  in, do the "perfect cat" pose, and immerse himself in the pleasure of staring at Fred, who kept the box next to his office chair.

We used to enjoy yelling out "olly olly oxen free," and then watching Dobby careen around the corner, head high, ears flattened, tail whipping in his own wake, flying to his box.

One night, Fred was working (assiduously, always assiduously -- there's no time wasting going on, no, not ever) and felt The Runt's eyes boring through the back of his lovely curly head.  Dobby sat in his box, adoring Fred, with hardly a blink of a break, for over 20 minutes.  At the 20 minute mark, in fact, Fred snapped this picture.  You know, the iconic one.

Dobbox

I created one of those "Magic Movies"  that Flip video offers for videographers afflicted with shaking hands and not much imagination, using what little The Dobster allowed to be recorded -- a couple of lame butt whacks, tail pulls, and the obligatory scene with a brush.  Excuse me, *The* Brush.  We've purchased five different brushes in an attempt to get him to give up chirping and grabbing for the worn out one seen here, to no avail.  He sniffs them, then bats them on the floor, and begins the most god-awful wailing you've ever heard.

It's lame but hey, it's a cat video, and that buys me a few paragraphs for a Pity Party and enough space for a CRPS / RSD update of my feet and hands -- the going rate for the blogger who navel-gazes.




video


I see the orthopedic surgeon, Dr. ShoulderMan, this afternoon, for the second post-op visit.  It's not going to be pleasant, I fear.  Although the decision about whether my immune system can support another prosthesis has already been made, by my body, I still don't look forward to hearing it from him.  

The fistula has reappeared right next to the newly closed wound from the February 13 surgery, which is just below the healed incision from the January 23 operation.  It ain't pretty.  I've been febrile for the last 8 days, with sweats and increased pain, and an almost constant headache.  The Infectious Disease folks didn't bat a proverbial eye before changing the antibiotic, accepting without question my suggestion that the bleeping infection is back, or more likely, has never left, lurking as it does behind the teflon shield of its biofilm.

I have completely dropped the ball regarding the port that is implanted in my chest.  I called the cancer clinic that usually takes care of flushing it every 6 weeks, to keep it patent, and they required a new physician order.  Well, I made that call, but haven't followed up with the appointment, because in the course of conversing with MDVIP Go-To-Guy, he got a little too animated at the idea that the biofilm infectious phenomena might well be happening to/on that port.  My mind shut down.  According to legend, the first culpable biofilm identified came from someone's pacemaker:

[Two years after Costerton coined the word/concept biofilm] Tom Marrie, a young doctor working in Halifax, Nova Scotia, examined a feverish homeless man who had wandered off the street and into his emergency room. The man had a raging staph infection and, on his chest, a lump the size and shape of a cigarette pack. It was an infected pacemaker, Marrie reasoned. For three weeks the man was given huge doses of antibiotics but did not get better, so Marrie and his team decided to operate. They invited Costerton to sit in. “If there were ever going to be a biofilm infection in a human being, it was going to be on the end of that pacemaker,” Costerton says. “We took out the pacemaker and there was our first medical biofilm. It was a great big thick layer of bacteria and slime, just caked on.”


Biofilms on implants are now recognized as a serious and growing health problem. Bacterial infections hit 2 percent to 4 percent of all implants. Of the 2 million hip and knee replacements performed worldwide each year, 40,000 become infected. More than a third of these infections lead to amputation, and not with very successful results: Most of those people die. “Implant operations have a 98 percent success rate, so people don’t want to talk about the infections,” Costerton says. “They’re a bit of a disgrace, really.”


Biofilm infections are not limited to implants. They can be found in the bodies of the young and the healthy. Many children suffer from undiagnosed biofilm infections in their ears, which require months of oral antibiotic therapy while the underlying infection smolders untouched. Millions of others live with chronic biofilms: urinary tract infections in women that last for years; prostatitis that no antibiotics permanently cure; bone infections (osteomyelitis) that cripple and immobilize people for the rest of their lives. Each year roughly 500,000 people in the United States die of biofilm-associated infections, nearly as many as those who die of cancer.


As Marrie’s experience shows, biofilms repel antibiotics, although scientists do not fully understand how. Some drugs cannot fully penetrate the biofilm’s protective matrix. In other cases, even though most of the germs die, enough remain alive to regroup and develop another biofilm. The matrix also keeps its resident germs under cover, hiding the chemical receptors on the bacteria so that drugs cannot latch onto them and kill the germs.


The study of this newly discovered behavior is rooted in the basic and ancient biology of bacteria. Geneticist Bonnie Bassler of Princeton University thinks group-living bacteria may give us a window onto the origins of multicellular life. “Bacteria grow best when each one does its own thing…together,” she says. “Bacteriologists had it wrong for the past 300 years—bacteria don’t live alone.”

Today, then, I must do two things, beyond hearing that my best bet is to be left shoulderless, with a flail arm -- I must arrange for this thing to be flushed, if, indeed, it still can be, and I must call the surgeon who put it in, and arrange for it to be removed.  I got it at the insistance of the doctor who oversaw my subanesthetic ketamine infusions, my last ditch effort to quell the advances of CRPS.  Every doctor and nurse that I have asked, except for MDVIP Go-To-Guy, has insisted that I should keep it -- saying vague things like "you never know,"  voices trailing off with much drama.  Do they USE it?  No!  "It's too close to the infection site, to the incision site..."  "I am not trained to use it..."  "We could use it, but we'd have to get the IV Team..."

Go-To-Guy, I trust him.  He thinks things through, has no interests in play other than my welfare and avoiding as many bumps in the road of this journey as possible.

I was hoping to have the blood work results from Monday before visiting ShoulderMan, as they might give a hint of a clue as to what is going on, but the results aren't in.  Of particular interest, beyond white counts, are the C-Reactive Protein and the sedimentation rate.  Both are indicators of inflammation/infection, but one is elevated in a more acute situation and the other indicates a more chronic course.  Historically, when I've been under the gun from these bacterial miscreants, BOTH tests have been greatly elevated.

I know you are tired of hearing about it.  Well, I am tired of living it.  How I wish that this osteomyelitis and this insane CRPS were deadly instead of causing unlimited pain and disability!

I did a video update of what my feet and hands look like, since the last one was from May 2011, if you don't count the ones I did in January 2012 -- and I don't, because the circumstances then were... what?  Extraordinary?!

My right foot/leg looks about the same, to me.  The left foot is awful, is worse, though it doesn't seem to show the change, visually, not the way I feel it.  Both legs are peeling and have larger areas of "ash."  This despite being cleaned daily, and -- for the past three nights, at least -- coated in lotion.  The skin seems to no longer absorb lotion or oils.

The left leg and foot are the banes of my existence, right now.  Spasming, severely spasming, burning, aching.

My hands are much worse in terms of pain but -- apart from both sets of middle finger and thumb nails (ah, the perverse symmetry of this disorder!) -- look about the same.  Both hands were peeling, much like my feet, so I suppose I have the benefit of "new" skin!  I have significant tremor now, and not the greatest grip in the world, on either side.  It used to be that the pain sort of followed the areas of discoloration, but now the burning and aching extend beyond those former borders.  In the left arm -- all the way to the shoulder.  I very much hope that is going to change.

Dobby is now asleep.  I think I will sit here and stare at him for a while, and try to see the way that he sees.

Or I could get on the phone and start the process of getting this port flushed and yanked.  Wish us luck chez ShoulderMan -- and wish him patience, and insight, as he must surely be as sick of all this as I am.


video

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Without socialism in place, I cannot support "the mandate"

from Socialist Resistance
The joys of dealing with bill collectors!    

Once upon a time in the US of America, medical bills were exempt from strong-arm tactics.  At least, that's the legend of the falls.  No, there is no semantic reason for a perverted reference to Legends of the Fall;  Yes, the only reference I know for the phrase is, indeed, the movie;  No, the movie's theme, if it has one, has no bearing on this post;  Yes, I just wanted to rest my mind and think of Brad Pitt for a moment or two.

My least favorite creditors?  Those who, for whatever reason, keep insisting that I am uninsured, when actually, they have simply failed to file their claims with PCIP, the Crown Jewel of President Obama's Affordable Care Act.  In close contention for favorite are those hospitalist groups that are assigned to patients without consultation or agreement, and who do not accept ANY insurance at all.  That... reeks.  Whereas I will work with the recalcitrant creditor, filing the claims myself, for instance, I am inclined to ignore the two hospitalist groups that almost managed to kill me, and now seek to drive me off of this cliff.

What?  Am I going to weigh in on the Supreme Court arguments currently ongoing?  Am I going to argue that US American citizens be mandated to insure themselves or pay a penalty for failing to do so?

I would, and feel as if I ought, but won't.  I am a Socialist.  President Obama is not even close to being a socialist, else the ACA would have been an audacious, sweeping reform, and it is not.  Had there been a true Public Option, I'd argue until you were blue in the face.

I benefit, obviously, from the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan [PCIP], as I was blatantly pushed out of my individual coverage with BCBS because my care can be absurdly expensive.  After many years of scraping the bottom of my financial barrel, I was finally priced out of coverage.   At last hike, BCBS demanded over $1500 a month in premiums, alone, never mind the steep incline of their deductible, and certainly without consideration that I subsist on a private disability income of 60% of my salary -- with no adjustments for inflation.

Would I be pushing too far, too much, if I mentioned that I am not on the public disability dole precisely because I insured myself -- in this instance, I bought disability insurance coverage, which is ridiculously affordable [while one is working!] and which I oh-so-heartily recommend?

Fred and I are often asked why we are not impervious to accident and illness, given that we live in Tête de Hergé.  And, folks wonder, are not all of our needs taken care of by Archibald Haddock, incorporated?  I hate to redeliver an already recycled response, but you also don't want me to pull a Santorum in the face of a repetitious inquiry, do you?  You may recall this last attempt at disambiguation, from October 2011:
The various formulas and barters that complicate life as a Working Squatter sometimes feel like more of a cognitive confusion than a rich system of interconnectivity.  I get turned around, disoriented.  And scared.  I mean, there's a good number of good people who depend on me and my attempts to preserve and extend the aforementioned 60% of a frozen salary. 


Even though Captain Haddock has provided netting in the event of my total fiscal collapse, we have needs that escape the understanding of Tintinistes -- like insurance coverage, for instance. 


I will explain -- AGAIN -- how it is that Fred and I are not immune to disease like the vast majority of Tête-de-Hergéens.  Simply put, because we entered the country in an unusual way -- via The Captain's miniature submarine, The Schvitz, with its patented Corkscrew Technology -- we were not subjected to the curative BioHasard Filter normally employed on immigrants.  Hence, we've needed to maintain our health insurance, even when doing so ate up 97+% of that famous aforementioned 60% of a frozen 2001 salary!


Since 2001, this private disability insurance has kept us afloat, although the occasional wave of tepid moat water does wash up my quivering nose.  And, with this private disability insurance, I purchase private health insurance, as I, the Resident Socialist, am not eligible for state-sponsored disability coverage.  That's right... I am totally and permanently disabled, but because the majority of my working life was spent in universities, few of which pay into the Social Security systems, I lack sufficient "work credits" to receive anything resembling state-administered disability income.


I know what you are thinking, Friend.  Something like:  "Well, then, they had to have paied into a pension plan on your behalf, so stop whining, Profderien!  Stop this mad shell game, Retired Educator!  'Fess up and show us the money!  I mean, didn't I read that she drives a 2008 Honda CR-V?  Equipped with a motorized wheelchair lift, too!"


Oh, chill.  Of course I tried to recoup the millions stashed in various pension plans under my illustrious name, thinking to create a dandy little Health Savings Account ("tax-advantaged"!)  because that would solve everything! 


{attempts::to::chuckle, failed}


Here's the punchline to that joke:  In order to get one's pension money, one must be vested, and usually one must be vested to the tune of five - seven years.


Guess who was enjoying a life of living-here::living-there, studying with this Famous Person on the West Coast, struggling under these Over-Inflated Egos of the Eastern Seaboard?  The idea that I needed to stick with any one university long enough to be able to access my pension just did not register in my conscious mind.  


"Employers use this strategy to promote loyalty.  Employees do not want to leave free money on the table, so they may not want to leave the employer." {guffaw}


So, yes, there are two large, well-known universities that owe a small measure of their financial health to having bilked me of my benefits. 


You can see that the aforementioned 60% of a frozen 2001 salary assumes more and more importance in our world.

Now that we're all up to date on the intricacies of my financial life, and reminded of my political leanings, I probably should answer the question.  I hedged, hemmed, hawed, and ultimately dodged the question up above.

No, I do not support mandating that USAmericans buy health insurance, nor do I support, in the event that a citizen refuses, the institution of a penalty or tax, call it what you will.

Oh, pick yourself up off the floor, already!

In light of my belief that the conservative SCOTUS will rule mandated coverage unconstitutional, my greatest fear is that the effort to provide affordable and decent coverage opportunities to people with pre-existing conditions will be thwarted, because, in large measure, this provision is only sustainable by the monies generated through universal coverage.

As long as there is no real socialist fabric to support these reforms, we are only playing at reform.

And I will have to deal with these creditors, unsavory as some of them can be, offering them x dollars per month, in perpetuity.

And this socialist will continue to invest in Google, the unofficial insurance policy for Manor expats.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

FAIL: i am going to write without editing, and about sisyphus, too!

this is dangerous stuff.  i am going to write without editing myself, with the exceptions of fixing typos and correcting spelling.  it's a high wire act!

you, being all gracious and all, are probably smiling, indulgent -- "she'll just spend a little extra time thinking things out;  she won't just blurt a bunch of bleeecccckkkkk all over this nice, clean space."  you, being all gracious and all, would be wrong.

i cannot sleep longer than ten minutes at a time.  funny, though, were i unaware of the length of time i'd slept, i would not feel so bad.  sometimes i wake from that short snooze feeling remarkably refreshed, only to toss out a string of curses upon realizing that nine or eleven minutes, only, have gone by.  but i get REALLY weirded out by how often the interval is exactly ten minutes.  creepily consistent.

it's those darned spasms.  i almost wrote "doggone." glad i caught that!

i can see why fred hates me at times like this.  not that he says that he hates me, or even acts that way.  he just hates to be around me.  he rushes off.  he fidgets, weight on the left foot -- shift -- weight on the right.  plus, i thought i told him to throw those damned holy, gray, shapeless, permanently stained, ugly sweat pants away.  but there they are again, swaying in countermeasure to his fidgets, mocking me.

it is 10:49 and he is supposed to be at church with the militant lesbian existential feminists by 11 am.  plus, he needs to make an emergency purchase at the lone alp's lone ace hardware store.  did i say "needs"?  so i threatened to permanently leave the drawbridge up should he fail to bring home some double-sided, industrial strength tape to secure these blasted new area rugs in the bedroom... so i threatened to give buddy the freakishly large kitten a mohawk shave if that tape did not make its way into the manor by this afternoon...

like i said, fred hates me at times like this.  losing his pants and the liberty of his free time.  gaining a bald cat.

the other day, i was following a french journalist on twitter -- he's "embedded" in françois hollande's campaign -- and he was tweeting hollande's remarks at... was it a book fair, book store, a publication launch?  i don't remember.  anyway, hollande, in an efffort, i guess, to sound "literary," compared himself to sisyphe...

oh, wait!  just because i am not editing myself doesn't mean i cannot "source" what i write.  duh.

okay, so here is the foundation for what just popped into my seizing, altered, tired head:



où est donc le fil de ma pensée?  oh, yeah.  i suppose a good number of us secretly compare ourselves to sisyphe, but i am pretty sure most of us hone the reference, and really are claiming some sort of kinship with the absurdity of his destiny -- you know, that rock, that hill, over and over, and over, again.

because how many of us really remember the life that king sisyphe chose to lead prior to zeus' coming up with his exquisitely painful punishment?  he was a murderer, a rapist.  plus, he tended to murder those to whom he owed a measure of hospitality, "travelers and guests." of course, he tended to rape those to whom he was related, like his niece.  of course, none of that, not even his fratricidal intentions, were what put him on that interminable relay for which most of us know him.  no, he was given the stone to push up the hill by persephone, as his due for tricking her into believing a bit of nonsense about his wife and blahblahblah.

sisyphe thought he had cojones, that he was downright gutsy, outsmarting even zeus.  most everyone else considered him a hubristic hack.

life in myth land ain't all it is cracked up to be.

so, yeah, we all know about the futility of certain tasks, like making beds, washing clothes, working for a paycheck.  it's when the annoying minutiae expand to include major categories, like, oh... life itself, that we invoke sisyphe's destiny.  yeah, we're like that guy!  condemned, consigned, fated to repeat a task that was stupid before it began.  meaninglessness, squared.  meaninglessness, to the infinite power!

anyway, i haven't been able to stop wondering what Hollande meant, exactly.  he purposefully dissected sisyphean destiny from the cautionary tale, saying that what he recognized in himself was the king's behavior, his tenacity and perseverance.  how strange.  given the relative sophistication of french politics (relative, i mean, to the u.s. republican presidential candidates, in this pre-convention period of 2012), this personal appeal to greek mythology is comparable, i'd argue, to romney's "trees in michigan" speech that ended with a reference to his wife's predilection for cadillacs.

i'm just like all of you, they are saying.

it's a shout out to an audience that has the weight of the world on its back.  that doesn't know where the money for the next bill is coming from, that almost doesn't care anymore, but still, would not dare fail to pay.  it's an appeal to the hubris of our nature, to its very wrongness, and it's a lamentation that a zealot's love for life, and life's simple, fine things, is not protection enough from the perverse punishments of the universe.

or maybe these career politicians are just probing, poking, trying to quote some cultural common ground -- sisyphe, citation of a shared culture -- michigan's trees and cars, the same.

no one else seems to be very taken with holland's remarks, maybe because they don't have the time, or maybe because they don't wake every nine to eleven minutes.  the journalists present that day, however, jumped all over Hollande's allusion, because it does *jar*, doesn't it?

forced to redress, required by the press to explain, hollande amplifies and complicates, saying that he sees, in sisyphe, "la persévérance, de l’engagement, de la volonté humaine, de la ténacité."

experienced politician, he turns absurdity on its head, and adds:
Même quand on arrive au plus haut, il faut toujours penser que rien n’est acquis, rien n’est fait. Même dans l’après-victoire, tout doit être un recommencement. Toute victoire appelle après un nouveau combat. Le combat politique est un combat sans fin. Et moi, je suis un combattant.
he paints the nicest picture of eternal torment, don't you think?  nice save, françois.

so we can just rewrite the pains of destiny, recast it as something else. sisyphe's destiny, like hollande's future, does not depend upon the details of their pasts.  sisyphe has to hope and believe, every time, every trip up the hill, that this is it, this is the last one.

because this is my life, this is worthwhile.

because hollande came to the myth of sisyphe like most do, through camus, "il faut imaginer sisyphe heureux."  


and because we all know that this is really a post about camus... why haven't i put it out there.  why do not i open as camus did, famously: “There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide"?

mostly because i cannot fathom "revolt" as camus presents it, nor feel, any longer, enough satisfaction in "engagement." how amusing and ironic, but how infinitely lacking in sufficiency, is it, that my rock and hill should be the very act, itself, of facing my fate?

i am no philosopher, it is clear.  between sartre bellowing about the cartesian cogito and camus' smarmy "I revolt, therefore we are" ["je me révolte, donc nous sommes"], between the positing of revolution versus rebellion, is this stupid idea of not messing with absurdity itself, the only solid construct they both share...

oh god.  editor!  editor!  come quick, editor!

let me try and save myself, here, something probably best accomplished by permanently lifting my fingers from these keys.  camus would have me relishing my task, redefining the punishment of hubris as facing and living with the absurd, which he posits as suicide's solution.  sartre, poor man, flounders about, totally engaged, and therefore inconstant.  people love to point out that, at his sad end, he converted to messianic judaism [perhaps courtesy of secretary benny levy], a stance i don't find wholly inconsonant with his prior "engaged" atheism. as WCW would say, "so much depends..."

on the other hand, camus' stringent admonition against attempts to remake the world make me want to jump off the nearest cliff.



okay, clearly, had i not set myself this task, made this bet, this "post" would join the other 100+ drafts that will likely never see the light of day.  but then, too, i would not have made it through these last few hours, nor thumbed through old, yellowed paperbacks, laughing at my childish marginalia.  i would not have had two round red-and-gold fuji apples and i would not have gone off on a william carlos williams tangent.

writing this has proved enough of a distraction that i've made it safely to 1 pm, when it is now safe to take another 10 milligrams of baclofen.  yes, "so much depends..." on imagining sisyphe happy.