Loose Ends

Review is good.  It was not a strong point for me in my younger years.  Every chore or event was completed, put behind me, and filed in “history”.  I found it extremely difficult to review even simple things, like a “to do” list, once they were done.  I know this sounds crazy given the purpose of the “to do” list, but I was a resident before I mastered the discipline of going back over the list and actually checking off items and seeing what was left to perform.  I can’t remember rechecking questions on a test.  So much of this writing, this blog, is investigating my own history, presenting episodes from my past and mulling them over-as I’ve said before, I think I’m overdue.
So I went back to do my monthly review of the comments for this blog, feeling proud that I can attend to such details so efficiently now, and I found that the comments have outgrown this monthly review.  I’m going to have to deal with them concurrently, maybe at the foot of each post, in order to truly keep the conversation moving.  And I’ve placed the most recent comments in the right-hand column of the blog, right up front where we can all see them and address them.  If you’re interested in getting your teeny, tiny, itsy-bitsy millisecond of fame, here’s your chance. 
That said, I did reread every single comment submitted since mid-February, and I am so happy for everyone’s feedback.  I’m so grateful for all the birthday wishes and feel better messages.  There is a palpable difference in how my day goes when someone offers encouragement.  Seriously, even Lucy giving me that teeny little leg lick helps.  Not that I want any leg licks from the rest of the readership.  That would be, um, strange. 
While I hate to sink into that “this awful disease has brought such wonderful things into my life” rhetoric, Carla was absolutely right in noting that slowing down can add to your understanding of personal value and to your sanity.  I became much saner as soon as I wasn’t the last parent to pick up my child from the after-school program every day.  That was my first clue.  Lupus made it possible for me to spend more time with my child.  Another benefit:  despite the clutter, people tell me often that my house feels peaceful and they come over for a little relaxing break.  I haven’t started offering the use of my spa tub (for a modest fee) but maybe I should. 
I’m still surprised at how many people have auto-immune disease connections.  I know I shouldn’t be.  Mary Z reminded me that the group includes LOTS of distinct conditions, including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis (a part of my symptomatology, too), psoriasis, scleroderma (PSS), polymyositis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, vasculitis…and on and on.  I am fortunate to have trained at Hopkins.  When I was there, a powerhouse named Mary Betty Stevens was the head of the rheumatology department.  She was a legend for her research on lupus and vasculitis, and for her amazing teaching ability.  I can still hear her resonant voice.  She was the first female department head at Johns Hopkins Hospital.  I went to the Hopkins faculty roster and saw that two people who were teaching in the rheumatology department during my training are still there:  Michelle Petri and Carol Ziminski, both of whom have impressive clinical and research credentials.  I noticed in passing that Susan MacDonald, a super resident during my training time, is now the associate chairman of the department of internal medicine.  Go Susan!  You probably don’t mind my remembering that you were gorgeous even when you were on call, and came to codes with curlers in your hair.
So cool that Tracy Chapman evokes good vibes for you!  I’m still trying to pinpoint the year she came to the Riverbend Festival in Chattanooga.  The Riverbend website is working on a page that will show the artists for the entire 28 years.  It had been going for four years when I came home, and I’m still in awe that such a massive display of so many genres of music occurs here, every June. 
When I said “the stuff is starting now” was I a prophet?  Of course not!  It was inevitable, with this country’s history, that race would come to the forefront of this campaign and have to be addressed.  It’s just as inevitable that any discussion of it would make 98.9% of Americans uncomfortable in some way.  We have got to get better at having this discussion.  I think some of the younger folk are learning a more humorous, tolerant way to go there.  The popular blog Stuff White People Like (http://www.stuffwhitepeoplelike.wordpress.com/) and the website Black People Love Us (http://www.blackpeopleloveus.com/) (written by white people and black people, respectively) are examples of the way some of the dialogue is getting presented.  Self-deprecating humor, making fun instead of attacking, learning to know each other in more subtle ways…these are way more tolerable than the wildly inflammatory rhetoric that hasn’t advanced race relations (what an old-fashioned term!) in this country one bit.  Word to Barack Obama’s pastor:  we don’t need more fire.  Word to white people (remember I’m part white):  you can hardly set foot in a Black church without at some point getting a discussion of slavery and ongoing oppression in America-unfortunately, that’s the history.  Don’t blame Barack–he had to belong to some church, and you get the spiritual with the political (which isn’t all evil).  Something you may not know:  I was raised on a bunch of Army bases by a father who was a career officer.  I have a fierce love for my country but I don’t express it with symbolism or by ignoring its darker truths.  My father fought in World War II and the Korean War, gave up 28 years of his life and retired a Lt.Col.  I really don’t think I need a flag flying on my front porch to prove that we’ve done our part. 
I’m really wound up today.  But I’ve gotta knit.  Last night the sound of little frogs in your backyard wasn’t because of the heavy rain.  I was pulling out the neckbands of the sweater I’m finishing.  I was not pleased with the way I knitted them, and I couldn’t let it go.  I can finish reknitting this today, put the tiny crochet border on, and be finished.  Hallelujah! 

2 Responses

  1. Stuff white people like is absurdly funny. Of course it stereotypes and a lot of it is income/class related, but still it causes you to think about the whys and why nots of behavior (or perceived behavior).

  2. My mother developed (right word?) rheumatoid arthritis when she was in her mid-30s; she was convinced that she had one of the first cases of Lyme disease. However, she went for a long time misdiagnosed (sound familiar?) and ended up with horribly deformed fingers and feet, and spent most of her life working around living in pain. How awful, too, that up until her painful condition, she loved to do all kinds of hand- and artwork. She still attempted it, but could work on a project for only brief periods at a time.

    Barack Obama: I think everyone should watch him giving that amazing speech. I feel even more confident that he is the right candidate to unite and inspire us all.

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