Observations of a holiday

Dry nightfall has arrived, finally, after a sizzling hot, seemingly endless day. The fireworks at sundown were an afterthought, Independence Day was already so overcooked. The smell of cordite hangs over the crackly, dark chapparal that surrounds me, waiting for a breath of breeze to waft it away.  With the state of our aching economy and the terrible dis-ease in our politics and government, this fine old day we Americans spend celebrating liberty and democracy seems almost quaint to me. Those words meant something, once, didn’t they.

I don’t like to feel this way: Cynical, growly, a whine trapped behind my teeth.  I ache like my teen-aged country. My personal rheuma-dragon is once again alive and well and gnawing hungry with knifeteeth at my knees and knuckles. He doesn’t stop me from moving, oh no. He just stops my enjoying it. He makes climbing the stairs a grim challenge. He makes standing after I’ve sat for a while winceworthy. He forces gritted teeth and stifled groans.

Damned old dragon.

I put on my cool white headphones and try to lose myself in the intricate music of the Celts. There must be a patch of my mind that’s Irish or Scottish or Welsh. This crisscrossy, nimble, heart-tuggy and sometimes wailing music speaks to my restless soul. I’d dance to it, but I can’t.

Don’t mind me. For the first time in years I’m being my way through a Vicodin-fog. I’m grateful for my prescription for the stuff, don’t get me wrong. Lately pain has come to assault me with a capital P. This strange opiate detachment from the hurt (it’s over there) is weirdly pleasant but artificial; it cannot last. It won’t last. Instead, it’s past time for me to explore some other alchemal concoctions to calm and tame my reawakened rheuma-dragon, some that are less fickle and habitforming, preferably narcotic-free. I shall soon consult my doctor. He’s the wizard. He holds my spirit between his gloved palms. I wonder if he knows.

In the meantime, I’ll see your pain and raise you two aches. I have big stretches and know how to use them in cadence with whispery moans. Frosty icepacks wait for my ginger fingers to pluck them from the freezer, ready to numb my hip-bursae to the bone. Ah, sleek rheuma. Ah, knobbly bursitis.

Ah, sizzling, painful July.

8 thoughts on “Observations of a holiday

  1. Ahhhh, alas we are all the knights of the great round table conjuring up our next attack on these beastly dragons. You rest great knight….you rest. There will be another day to fight this battle…yes another day.


  2. You write so beautifully, even when it’s filled with so much sadness. Sending you gentle hugs and wishes for a quick improvement.


  3. This is so beautifully written but what an awfully sad story to tell. I hope you will find relief soon and a an open minded doctor. How often do we have to read and be told that nobody needs to suffer pain in this day and age of modern medicine?
    My wish for you is that this comes true.


  4. Sorry to hear your dragon has left his cave and is on the attack. Even when you know it is lurking it is always a shock when he comes out full force and hungry. I hope your doctor can come up with the right combination to send ease the pain.


  5. Oh dear Wren – I do hope you’re feeling much better soon. I’ve been wondering how you were for a while, as you haven’t been posting, and really hoping it was because you had nothing much to post about and all was well! Let’s hope that’ll be the case soon.

    Polly x


  6. Passing this one on, to you, to all RA’ers, to all chronic illness patients, to all their docs, and to our nation:

    “Healing is…”
    Written and Posted by Susan Laurier @ Cheshire Chronic Lung Disease Forum, 6/21/01

    Love is like water: it seeks its own level, like water flowing down a mountain. Bounded here by ancient cliffs of innumerable and unnamable sufferings and towering strengths that have fortified the soul in its travail–bounded there by unstable, undependable banks of clay that offer no support, only a treacherous and precarious sense of powerlessness–

    Love is like water raging torrentially downstream, threatening to overwhelm our souls with its untamed passion while seeking out our dry, desolate hearts where, like boulders of terror, the flotsam and jetsam of emotional and physical, psychological and spritual debris obstruct the free flow of CHI, the life energy.

    Water, life-giving and life-destroying, a mystery of the natural world that mirrors the internal universe of the Human Being, unfettered and yet bounded by obstacles both real and imaginary–

    The sould cries out, “Nourish me, I am dying!” and suffers the agonies of feeling unloving and unloveable. “Oh, nourish me!” cries the soul as it wilts in the drought of self-denial and self-pity–or drowns in a flood of an obsessive narcissistic myth of itself.

    How then to find a path to the healing waters, a path that is challenging yet safe? And who shall walk with this soul–to counsel wisely when the way feels too dark, the pain too unyielding, and defeat seems inevitable?

    One looks around at humanity and feels a chaos of energies. Some kindness there, some cruelty here, apathy, rage, despair–and yet withal one intuits a mystical beauty, a mystical compassion, a mystical intelligence–

    And sometimes these intuitions lead a soul to another Being, one who has known the pangs of being human and has acknowleged his humanity with humility and integrity–and the Being, who demands nothing of you but your truth, as you have accepted it so far, and your willingness to know yourself more deeply–

    Beckons to you, invites you into the sanctuary of compassion’s embrace–

    And you surrender your pain and fear into his care, into his hands– the Hands of a Healer.


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