I received an email from Brother Dave saying he had to take Sister-in-Law Teresa to the emergency room at Grossmont Hospital because every time she took a single step she felt intense pain in the lower quadrant of her abdomen. She became voluntarily immobilized from the involuntary pain she felt when she tried to mobilize herself, i.e. walk.
I called and was very happy to get Sister-in-Law Teresa because this meant she was at home and not in the Grossmont Hospital. She seemed in very good spirits and indicated—as Dave had suggested in his email—that she probably suffers from a bout of diverticulitis. The doctors did not want absolutely to assert this diagnosis and so left matters up in the air. Still the symptoms seem clear and Sister- in-Law Teresa, who has worked in various medical institutions, seems to believe this is what she has, especially since her mother suffered from it on a previous occasion.
Apparently over time, depending on one’s diet, one’s age, and one’s genetic background, diverticula, or small pouches may develop on the walls of one’s colon. If these pouches become somehow infected usually by bacteria, one develops diverticulitis. Why the pouches develop does not seem clear, but infections arise if something organic gets stuck in a pouch. Brother Steve reports Joan had diverticulitis and believed it occurred whenever she ate anything with many seeds in it. She believed the seeds got stuck in the pouches. And as I recollect, Teresa also said something about eating something with seeds in it, though she wondered too about popcorn which she eats frequently.
I believe, if Sister-in-Law Teresa’s good spirits are any indication, she will pull through this crisis posthaste. Still I find her sudden hospital visit, along with medical reports I have recently heard from colleagues my age and older about all the things that seem to go along with the aging process, scary. I feel as if I am entering a whole new territory, and when younger colleagues ask how I am doing and I actually telling them about what I am thinking and feeling, I can see they wish they had not asked me the question. “Look,” I say to calm them down or to make them pity me less, “It’s not good, and it’s not bad. What did Bob Dylan say, its life and life only.”
Bob Dylan says this in his song “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding).” Perhaps, not entirely coincidentally (for as Freud said, there are no accidents in the unconscious), this contains the line that I stole for the name of this blog. I find in my Dylan song book, copyright 1974:
Darkness at the break of noon
Shadows even the Silver spoon
The hand made-blade, the child’s balloon
Eclipses both the sun and moon
To understand you know too soon
There is no use in Trying
Pointed threats they bluff with scorn
Suicide remarks are torn
From the fool’s gold mouthpiece the hollow horn
Plays wasted words Proved to warn
That he not busy being born is busy dying