Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Just to see

The air is so fresh today -- I walk outside, and it clears my head. I don’t necessarily feel better than yesterday, but clearer. Maybe that’s better. I love this air, soft and smooth and cool and moist-- I guess the air in Santa Fe will always be this clear, although not moist -- and sometimes much warmer. When my head clears, like today, then I actually start getting excited about moving.

My mother calls. It’s early, but I answer anyway. Maybe I have enough energy to talk. I guess this person who was my godfather, even though Jews don’t have godparents he and his wife were the ones that would take care of my sister and me if our parents died, even though I can’t remember ever meeting these people. Maybe at my bar mitzvah, that’s where I met a lot of people who I never saw again, relatives. Anyway, this guy’s a doctor and a scientist and my mother was telling him my health problems and he offered to have a phone consultation with me. For some reason I say yes -- is that really a good idea? My mother doesn’t even know what kind of doctor he is, doesn’t think he ever practiced medicine, he was a researcher before he retired, he’s very detail-oriented and has a great sense of humor and is very caring and obviously he takes a special interest in you because you’re related.

Wait, that sounds terrible. Why did it sound like a good idea over the phone? My mother said he wanted to take a look at all my blood work and tests, if I was interested -- she was just asking me to think it over, and then I said yes right away. I guess I’m just looking for ideas, any ideas that might help. I mean I’m desperate. I feel like maybe if I could just end this bloating problem then I might start to feel a little better. I don’t need any more health problems, right? Somehow it seems easier just to be overwhelmed by everything that I’m always overwhelmed by, which never really feels easy but now there’s an extra layer.

Hopefully he wasn’t a researcher for the pharmaceutical industry. Oh -- now I’m just thinking of all the disastrous possibilities, everything that could go wrong in our conversation. When I was talking to my mother, I kept thinking I should mention that if this guy asks me what I think the cause is, the cause of all my health problems, then I’ll have to say that it definitely feels like the root is the fact that I was sexually abused, by my father who he’s related to, that I never experienced safety as a child and I didn’t have a way to express everything that was awful that was happening, and I put it all in my body. It’s still stuck.

Then I thought why, I don’t really need to tell my mother that, I mean she knows that’s what I think but I don’t need to tell her that I’m thinking of mentioning it during the consultation. But then I think why not, otherwise I’ll just keep thinking about it in my head, that I should’ve said something, or I’ll worry when I’m talking about it with him, and I don’t know how I can have a detailed health evaluation without mentioning the sexual abuse. I just wouldn’t be being truthful. I guess some doctors don’t give you the space to say anything like that, but if it’s actually in-depth in a meaningful way then it will come up.

My mother says it’s okay with her, but she doesn’t want anything getting in the way with the consultation, and it might get in the way. I say I’m not asking you for advice about it, I just wanted to mention it now, so that if they came up later then you wouldn’t be surprised.

I guess I feel better mentioning it, although when I get off the phone I’m exhausted again, more exhausted, my arms and chest and jaw hurt and I’m worried I won’t have enough energy to write, but look, here I am writing anyway, maybe I don’t have enough energy to write to Democracy Now and suggest a debate about gays in the military, because lately they’ve had some good debates but only fawning coverage of the gay agenda, but I’ll get to that later. Now I need to do some feldenkrais, moving out of pain so I can get to acupuncture in time. Is acupuncture helping? I don’t think so. That’s another thing I’m trying to figure out -- I think I’ll ask the acupuncturist. I guess I’ve asked her before -- I’m pretty sure we shouldn’t try any more herbal formulas, none of them are gentle enough. Which is funny, because in the past the herbs were the most helpful thing, and I couldn’t even do the acupuncture, but now it’s the reverse. I mean I’m not sure the acupuncture is helping at all -- I can definitely say that I have not seen any results -- the only difference is that it doesn’t wreck me as much as it did in the past, so I keep trying, just to see.


Anonymous said...


I'm thinking concerned thoughts about your breathing! Maybe for similar issues, I have been taking pranayama and the instruction has been intense. I sobbed after the first three times I attended. Actually sobbed is an understatement - I had to pull over in the car for half an hour. It was wrenching but beautiful. I guess the reason this all happened is that the new breaths touched so deep that they released things that I had held since my own abuse. Maybe this is one of the reasons I am loving your books these days - raw empathy.

One of the preparatory exercises in the classes involved lying down over a tightly rolled blanket, in such a way that your shoulders are actually ON the floor, with the blanket supporting the spine all the way up to the base of the shoulder blades. In this way, the top of the lungs are spread wide open...such deep breaths can enter: The more you *relax* onto the support, the more you open. It's a good pattern.

xoxo John

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

John, thanks so much for sharing this story about breathing -- it's true, breathing can be so intense -- yesterday in feldenkrais we were working on connecting breath with speech, and actually today my throat feels raw, but you know how these things can work in reverse too -- I'm doing a radio interview tomorrow, hopefully my throat doesn't get too sore...

And thank you thank you thank you for the comment about "raw empathy" -- I love that!

Love --