Tuesday, March 30, 2010

BOTANIST- is there a botanist in the house? I need to know what kind of chestnut tree this is

I took hundreds of photos of the buds of these chestnuts which grow wild as underbrush in the glen by the creeks (see most recent Ambrose romp video.)

I know its chestnut

I know it doesn't produce edible nuts

I know it grows wild as a weedy underbrush in Indiana.

But I don't know what kind it is, and as I'd like to do a slideshow from first bud to this point, it'd be really nice to know and be able to label/tag it appropriately.


Monday, March 29, 2010

The obligatory spring posting of "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park" / Mayan Apocalypse Cord

Here's another BRILLIANT song from "Unicorn Frolic" artist Greg Landgraf

Mayan Apocalypse Cord

This is a great video of the old demento classic

Cadejo : Noun - Legendary Central American cow sized Goat - Dogs

I'd never heard of this beast until today, but I needed some figurative way to describe what a bizarre version of surreality I'm living, so searched for mythical bests, found this one.

From the wiki:

The cadejo (IPA pronunication /ka.�e.xo/) is a character from Belizean, Salvadoran, Nicaraguan,Costa Rican, Honduran, Guatemalan andsouthern Mexican folklore. There is a good, white cadejo and an evil, black cadejo. Both are spirits that appear at night to travellers: the white to protect them from harm during their journey, the black (sometimes an incarnation of the devil), to kill them. They usually appear in the form of a large (up to the size of a cow), shaggy dog with burning red eyes and a goat's hooves, although in some areas they have morebull-like characteristics. According to the stories, many have tried to kill the black cadejo but have failed and perished. Also it is said that if a cadejo is killed, it will smell terrible for several days, and then its body will disappear. Some Guatemalan folklore also tells of a cadejo that guards drunks against anyone who tries to rob or hurt them. When the cadejo is near, it is said to bring about a strong goat-like smell. Most people say never to turn your back to the creature because otherwise you will go crazy.

In popular etymology, the name cadejo is thought to have derived from the Spanish word "cadena", meaning "chain"; the cadejo is at times represented as dragging a chain behind him. There is a fairly large member of the weasel family, the tayra, which in common speech is called a cadejo and is cited as a possible source of the legend.

See wiki article for the rest
Image from: http://trianacartoon.blogspot.com/2009/07/el-cadejo-version-triana.html

I thought the idea of my "pain" and "condition" being a white and a black dog-goat was very apropos!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

On suffering and art: A dispatch from the other side of the looking glass

Its a widely held belief that great suffering creates great art. I had a friend in high school who was brilliant and creative, had every advantage. But this friend wanted to be an artist, and thought that suffering was necessary for it. So this friend's life became the sort of soap opera that you'd see portrayed on a Lifetime movie, or featured in an episode of The Shift

I thought that was bunk then, and I even more so now that not only have I dedicated most of my adult life to helping those who are suffering, but have spent several months feeling like I had plasma burning paths through large parts of my body.

Here is what I have observed however: While I've lost a great deal of my cognitive abilities and faculties, my creativity has stayed with me, and often provides the only real relief from the onslaught.

I can't speak for any other creative person who is similarly suffering, but for my part, pain has not made me more creative, it has merely taken away my ability to do much else.

Every day I go for a nature walk with Tess (which is a wonderful thing, no small miracle, and the answer to years of prayers) and take pictures or video. The only extent to which pain impairs this is that since I'm often dizzy from it, I can't bend or lie down easily or safely, nor go scrambling around creek banks or rocky outcroppings to get just the right point of view for my photo.

I have taken GIGABYTES of photos and hours of video while this has been going on. The photo in this blog is just one of over a dozen I took this morning of chestnut buds along one of our creeks, and I've been documenting the bud's progress since they first appeared. The place is a very special one for me and Tess... its where a little creek joins a larger one. We spend a lot of time together there.

I rarely have the presence of mind to organize these pix & vid , much less post them... that's more analytical than creative... that has been significantly compromised.

For me, pain has been like an acid bath... its burned away anything not vital or essential. A group I don't necessarily endorse has collected a wide array of
sacred texts which speak to this.

For myself, this text from the first chapter of my namesake's first epistle often comes to mind:

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

4to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,

5who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

6In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,

7so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

8and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,

9obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. (NASB)

I think of this passage so much because most of the ways I experience the pain is that of some sort of fire... be it plasma, lava, matter and antimatter combining, etc.

Among my close circle of dear hearts who have been such tireless supporters, constantly being the mirrors by which I am bathed in the light of God's love, we more often remark on these texts:

1Co 10: 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, andhe will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.(ESV)

2Co 12:7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations,a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. Forwhen I am weak, then I am strong.(ESV)

The wry remark made being
"Would that God did not esteem me so highly as to count me worthy and able to bear the blessings of such hardship"

One other remark which bears repeating is one I made the other day in a text message.

"When medicines fail, God does not... the house finch still come to feed outside our window."

You'd be astounded how long it took me to compose this post dear friends... but I've had so much on my heart I wanted to speak about, and since at the moment my dizziness is preventing me from doing much else...

I hope I can issue forth a few more dispatches from the other side of the looking glass, and even more, come around online and see and hear how you all are doing. I so wish my ability to type and read were not so severely attenuated!

Having given voice to what my pain is like yesterday, I tho't it important to give you another glimpse of life on the other side of the looking glass.

Time for tea, the cat's ready...

Monday, March 22, 2010

The few details we know, and why I'm still not much online - A diagnosis without etiology, etc.

Nothing is clear in my life these days... not my thoughts, not the cause of my conditions, nor the future course of it.
  • Four months
  • Hours spent in every known scanning device
  • Litres of blood and urine drawn and tested
Here is what we know: Diddly/squat.

OK, we know a little more than that. As my first x-rays at the walk-in clinic back in early November suggested, I do indeed have osteoporosis. VERY severe osteoporosis. So severe that the doctor wrote for the best and most expensive osteoP drug on the market- Forteo- and insurance approved it right away.

We know one other thing: My testosterone levels are significantly higher than normal... so much so that the doctor asked if I'd been shooting up 'roids and testosterone like an MLB home-run king.

Yeh... right... were I taking additional testosterone, I'd look like sasquatch, and sound like a foghorn.

We don't know what caused the osteoporosis.
Nor do we know why I am still in such inexplicable unbelievable pain on a daily basis.
My surgeon has determined that my gamma nail has set properly tho, so he's signed off on my care... we're looking under all stones to find a doctor who will either treat my pain or help find its cause.
So far that's been difficult, which is why you don't see much of me online, and won't until this is addressed.
The pain- more than the pain meds- leaves me in a fog/haze most of the time. I'm often disoriented in regards to space and time... I trip over things not there, run into things... and remember, before all this, my reflexes were so acute that I did all sorts of crazy things balancing on the bongo board.
Along with the pain is usually very severe muscle spasms. They are primarily in the areas of the body most affected by the osteoporosis but not exclusively.
The pain and spasms started before my femur fractured... so either they and the osteoporosis share a common cause, or they're just comorbid.
I just can't words for the pain... but perhaps this will suffice to convey how severe it is... I often find myself wondering if phantom pain could possibly be worse than what I'm experiencing on a daily basis... I wonder if I'd not have done better to have the leg amputated? Consider that... consider what a lover of the outdoors I am, how vigorous and vital I am, that the pain is such that amputation seems like the greener grass.
There are lots of good things happening in life... most especially that Tess and I have spent more time outside together in the last 5 weeks than in the previous 5 years... its an answer to many prayers.
Thanks for the comments and caring and praying... I so wish I were able to be online interacting with you, but interacting with this maelstrom which is working its way through my body takes all I've got... and then some...
The photo is one I took of my reflection in the creek which runs along one side of our property... seemed like a more apropos image than the wheel chair one. I did some FX to it... maybe I'll do a post about them someday...

Questions, comments?

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