Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sickbed diaries

I've kept a pretty regular diary on the progression of my duel with the common cold. Most of my entries were written in the dead of night, which is when most of my ensuing frustration occured. Anyone who has followed this blog knows that frustation is one of my big flaws. I admit frankly that I succumb easily to it. Meanwhile, my adventures in being sick started on the 22nd when I came home early from work. I've already mentioned that part of the adventure in a previous post, so I'll just pick up from where I left off, as most of the excitement started then. Not that coughing and moaning about being sick can be considered very exciting, but my social life is extremely limited and I take my excitement where I can.
For starters, things started off as an 18-hour flu and then changed into a cold. The battlefield, for the most part, has been in my throat, and the battle between the urge to cough up and the urge to swallow has been severe. This ongoing debate between these automatic reflexes has been the main topic of a couple of my journal entries. These two forces are inevitably going to work at cross-purposes where a cold is concerned. Crap comes up and then gets swallowed back down. Ugh. This has also been the source of much of my frustration, especially when it happened at night when I was trying to sleep.
Suspecting I was running out of sick time, I went to work for three days straight. Maybe not the best route to take, considering every teacher I ran into said I should be at home. It was the relentless coughing that tipped them off, I imagine. I mentioned in my last post about my Dad and how helpless he was feeling, but then Mom and my sister came home from Florida. Well, my throat was still too sore for me to eat much or talk, so she got it firmly in mind that I should be on some sort of prescribed meds. Then came the night of the 28th, when I tried 'Buckley's Mixture' and spent one of the worst nights I've spent in a very long time. It's like drinking 'Vick's Vapo-Rub', and then gagging everything but the kitchen sink out.
By the end of it, my throat and tongue hurt abominably and I was awash in despair. I had only gotten a couple of seconds' worth of sleep as well. Anyway, the next morning I went back to the walk-in and another doctor looked at me. Throat infection and developing chest infection. Time for some good, solid amoxicillin! That and stuff to clear up my infected sinuses (yeah, they're infected too). To make a long story short, it's better to get a second opinion. Sleep is still more elusive than I would like, but I am sleeping better, coughing less, and my throat is much improved. I think I've written enough about my disgusting forays into being sick for now. I may return to this topic a third time next week. Depends on how the amoxicillin is working. BYE.

Monday, May 25, 2009


Let me tell you a little bit about my weekend. It started with me asking my boss if I could go home early on Friday because I was feeling queasy, achy, a little warm, and generally without any appetite or interest for anything. I got home, put on my pj's, and went right to bed. That didn't last long, and I was soon wandering to the couch. I spent most of the weekend in my pj's and either on the couch or in my bed. The only activity I took any pleasure in this weekend was reading... that and staring at the TV or into space. I wandered from room to room when I wasn't sitting on my duff. All told, it was a very boring weekend. I had no interest in gaming, which is something I do occasionally, and I think my Dad was a little bit concerned with my lack of interest. It must be hard on a parent to helplessly watch their child suffer. I mean, there wasn't really anything he could do for me that I couldn't do myself.
I did manage to get quite a bit of reading done though. That and watching flash cartoons. Where was the Internet when I was a kid? I think I watched more flash cartoons than stuff on TV this weekend. Not a good sign, eh? Meanwhile, back to the reading. I started and finished reading Sandow Birk's fantastic interpretation of Dante's legendary 'Inferno'. Definitely a book I'm going to revisit in a year's time. I'm pretty sure I praised Birk's take on 'Purgatorio' in an earlier post, so I've already said everything I could say about the writing. The illustrations were just incredible. I like the map of Hell that comes up close to the beginning. I got to wondering if I'm a heretic, for my thoughts usually don't fall in line with Christian thinking. I suspect that I may end up in Limbo, for though I'm not completely bad, I'm not completely Christian (not anymore), so I'm one of them 'Good Pagans'. Good, but still doomed.
I guess it's all a matter of perspective. Meanwhile, I went to the walk-in this morning and it looks like I'm doing everything correctly. No need for meds. Whoo-hoo! What I have is viral and will go away on its own and has nothing to do with bronchitis or pneumonia. Double whoo-hoo! My throat doesn't hurt as much as it did yesterday, and my appetite has been more or less completely restored! Still, I'm sick so I should continue to avoid gaming. I might as well get some more reading done. BYE.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Introspective and inquiring

I paint a frustrating picture of myself whenever I look within to examine my flaws. I've been reading 'The teachings of Kirpal Singh' and this Sikh mystic has been reinforcing just about everything I've read about where self-introspection is concerned. Doubting, fearing, easily irritated, and just plain unmindful of other people's feelings. This negative picture pleases my oppressive superego to no end, but Singh suggests that transcending this whole mess is possible. He passed away in 1974, so he was no stranger to the 20th Century, and still he had faith in humanity. Kudos to you, sir! Perhaps it's the cynic in me, but there are not many people who would willingly confront their demons and work as hard as he would like them to work. Then again, he reiterates that to make any progress, one cannot go it alone. This is a universal point of view. One needs to find a teacher or guru and seek his/her help to completely transcend all these illusions.
This is the part I'm presently working through, and where my doubts do battle with my hopes and my common sense. It would be nice to just take a little walk and find a guru or a teacher who would be willing to guide me all the way through. I feel I've reached some sort of crossroads and cannot go much farther alone. However, while I would like very much for there to be some sort of teacher nearby, my doubts assure me that such a teacher would not have the wisdom nor skills (read: certification or pedigree) to help me. A teacher/mystic like Singh would be wonderful to have nearby, but not very probable. The ones with the right skills (again, read: certification) doubtless live in China, Japan, India, or California, and all those places are currently beyond my reach.
Feels like a Catch-22, doesn't it? On the surface of it, I don't want to be lead astray, but at the same time, I don't want my trust betrayed. That's at the base of it. Whom to trust? Trust issues. That's something I have to keep working on. If I can transcend my doubts and place my trust in a teacher in the hopes that he/she can and will help me go beyond, I'd be pulling off a minor miracle. The cynic in me warns against such an action. Anyway, that's what's going on inside my head right now. Meanwhile, 'The teachings of Kirpal Singh' is a very insightful book. I'll return to it in a year's time, I figure. BYE.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Irrational force

I've been reading 'Way of the Bodhisattva' and came to a chapter called 'Patience'. I know I need to welcome this concept into my life more, and yet it's so easy to get frustrated and irritated by people each and every day. From the driver who cuts me off in traffic to an innocent request by someone to get off my duff and help with chores, people irritate me so easily. Shantideva, the author of this incredible book, warns against succumbing to the emotion of anger. My shortcomings and this book got me thinking about anger in general. It's the baddest bad boy around, branded as bad by both Buddhism and Christianity. There's a place in Purgatory for people who succumbed to this Deadly Sin, while anger is one of the passions warned against in most Buddhist schools of thought. And those are the ones I know about!
So, here's a brief look at anger and its neighbours irritation and frustration (my folly). Turned inward, anger becomes depression, which is good for nothing, or frustration (my personal imp). Meanwhile, depression can get very grim if not dealt with. Most folks take meds to keep their depression under control, but wouldn't turning their anger outward help just a little? Get it out of the soul where it's doing so much damage and into a place where it can be addressed? I cannot say that I am an expert on depression, but I am trying to understand anger and frustration. These barriers help nobody. Small wonder belief systems lay so much blame on anger.
Not that anger is always a bad thing. Anger can give rise to change. Ra McGuire of Trooper said it best in 'Raise a little Hell'. Anger over injustice, voiced at the right time, can change laws, open minds and hearts, and make the world better for those to come. As long as anger is focused properly and burns to calmer embers, it can be used wisely. Unfortunately, it's the wars, the road rage, the countless acts of violence we hear about. Anger turned barrier, turned inward, turned into something unbearably ugly. Anger spawned by pain can lead to revenge, and that rarely keeps anyone happy for long. For people easily frustrated, driving behind someone going a little slow is intolerably. Like a bug bite from Hell, the irritation flames into anger and the ugly phenomena of road rage litters the road with fender-benders, lawsuits, and twisted metal.
Small wonder anger has gotten such a bad reputation! It would be indeed better to transcend this monster, right? I'll think about it and get back to you. BYE.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The neighbours

40 days to go until the school year ends. One group of kids will move on to middle school and another group will start Kindergarten. Everyone else will move up a grade and the teachers will have new variations on the theme. I've been looking back into my own childhood and making comparisons between my experiences there and what I'm experiencing as an adult. Some of the experiences have been cyclical - a little charismatic pain-in-the-neck reminding me of another charismatic pain-in-the-neck I used to go to school with - and some have given me cause for deep reflection. One of the schools I work at has a group of children with special needs, and the library is right next door to 'life skills', so I can hear just about everything that goes on with the neighbours. I've mentioned in a previous post the struggles the EA's go through to teach these children. EA's aren't paid enough, by the way.
Where were these children when I went to school? Also, where were the emotionally troubled children when I went to school? These are the ones with ADD/ADHD, FASD, anger and other emotional issues, and so on. The ones who are certainly not as visible but are in as much need of support as those who are visible. Where were these children when I was growing up? I would be an idiot to suggest that these problems just didn't exist when I was growing up. They just weren't as visible in my day. There was a Resource room at the school I went to, but I was never in there much. There was a need for this place, but those with visible and invisible disabilities never come up from my memory. They certainly weren't part of the general populace in my day. They were completely hidden/segregated from the rest of the world.
Sad, but unfortunately, there just was not enough focus on these children for government to want to provide supports for these children and their families. Now there's an EA for every class so the EA can provide the one-on-one support that is needed. The child with previously 'unseen' disabilities and issues receives funding, which results in support and the child surviving K-5 with happier memories than the children from a generation ago. I'm not going to go any deeper with this topic until I've given it more thought. Believe me, I could go on, but I've already waded far enough and could be in over my head. Until later, BYE.