Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"Shimmering Truths"

Yesterday, I mentioned a friend who came down with some serious health symptoms. The event, sudden and disturbing, reminded me of some shimmering truths, “shimmering truths” being truths that generally fly under the radar, but, once noticed, they reverberate and glow.

I offer, today, two such truths. Hopefully, they have not already come to your attention, though if they have, I believe you will agree that they are indeed shimmering.

Shimmering Truth Number One:

The day before you’re sick, you’re not sick.

(Though it is not equally the case that the day after you’re not sick, you’re sick. The majority of the time, the day after you’re not sick, you’re also not sick. It’s interesting how that only works consistently in one direction.)

Okay, back to “Shimmering Truth Number One.”

Here’s the weird part. You wake up in the morning, and you’re sick. And the first thing you say, often in a whiney voice, is,

“But I wasn’t sick yesterday.”

Why is that reaction weird? It’s weird, because being sick the day after you were not sick is hardly an unusual occurrence; it is simply the way it works. (I know. There’s, “I think I’m coming down with something.” But I’m counting that as already being sick. The day before that, you did not think you were coming down with anything.)

You have a sore throat, a cough, a fever, a swelling, a numb finger, a mole that doesn’t look right, a shooting pain, a twitch, a splitting headache, uncontrollable hiccups – any symptom – large or small – that was not present yesterday?

You have got it today.

And you’re surprised. Or shocked. Or perplexed. Or worried. Or (if you’re me) terrified. Why? Because you have it now and did not have it the day before.

Real World To Earl: You never have it the day before.

I suspect that the reaction to being sick today when you were not sick yesterday – which is always, without exception, the case – relates to a “shimmering truth” which is substantially different from your actual reaction – which is “Duh!” Name one time when you’re feeling sick when you didn’t feel fine the day before. Okay? So what are you talking about?

What you’re talking about is this:

The unsettling unpredictability of personal health.

Message: Feeling fine today says nothing about how you’re going to feel tomorrow. So what then? “Live for today?” Fine, if that’s your style. It does not happen to be mine.

Judging from my blog, I primarily live for yesterday.

The real message is, if you find yourself sick when you were not sick the day before?

Stop being so astonished.

It happens every time.

Shimmering Truth Number Two:

Comes in the form of a story.

After Anna was born, Dr. M experienced some post birth-giving complications, which were ultimately nothing, but were worrisome at the time. After waiting things out in the hospital, sometimes alone, sometimes cradling newborn

Anna – after she’d been deposited in the “newborn” room but had been voted out by the other newborns due to excessive wailing – I was informed that there would be an interval before it would be determined whether more medical interventions would be necessary, and that I should go outside, and get a bite to eat.

So I did.

I went to nearby Izzys Deli. I was too keyed up to eat, but a doctor had told me to, and when doctors tell me to do things, my habit is to roll my eyes, and then do them.

So I’m sitting in Izzys, immersed, I quickly discover, in this cacophonous din, the unmusical version of the “Wall Of Sound.” It’s like I have seashells fused to both ears, and I am incessantly bombarded by overlapping echoes.

For the most part, the ambient clatter is an indecipherable babble. But amidst the pandemonium, recognizable phrases distinguish themselves from the jangle:

“Waiter! We need more ketchup!”

“This pot roast is cold!”

“Our table is wobbling.”

“Mommy! I have to go pee pee!

“I distinctly told you, ‘No onions!’”

“More ketchup! Pu-leeeze!”

At this moment, I am thinking…two things. One: Should I have the soup, and if so, should it be the matzo ball or the barley? And two: “Are you kidding me! My wife is in the hospital. And you’re obsessing about ketchup!

“Shimmering Truth Number Two?” No matter what crisis you may personally be experiencing, the world goes on as usual. They do not care about you. And, when the tables are turned, as compassionate as you may be, or at least think you are, you will not care about them.

The immutable “Rule of Threes” requires a third example. To maintain the standard, however, I will reserve my reporting to two.

Shimmering truths are hard to come by.

If I think of third one, I will let you know.

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