Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Elephant and the Mouse

There's the story of the elephant and the mouse.  The elephant looks down at the mouse from his great height and says in a big voice: "You're very small."  The mouse looks up at the creature towering above him and says in his squeaky little voice: "I've been ill."

I feel a lot like the mouse.  It's been two weeks now since I felt myself, and the experience has involved one trip to Urgent Care in our local Kaiser hospital, and two trips to Emergency.  The upshot appears to be, if I understand it right, that I'm fighting infections on two different fronts.  Or that appeared to be the case.  Until I discovered that the infection on one of the fronts was not, after all, an infection...  But my too frequent encounters with doctors have revealed all kinds of "issues" that need to be addressed with all kinds of tests.

In all of this, I have to say that I've received nothing but the best care from Kaiser.  Everyone, from the doctors to the nurses to the attending staff, has been kind, attentive, efficient.  But the experience has been a humbling one.  It's instructive to be reduced to nothing but the object of incessant tests and probes, the passive recipient of sympathy and care.  (I thought a lot about Ram Dass's marvelous book, "Still Here," and his need to learn acceptance and dependency after the stroke that deprived him of everything that had previously defined him.)  The ego rebels.

It has also been a humbling lesson in aging, and a reminder that the body (even mine!) is a gift that brings with it an expiration date.  For now, like that mouse, it feels absurdly weak and small.  But then... I've been ill.


Jean said...

Oh my goodness. Hope you feel much better soon, Peter, and meantime continue to encounter only the best and kindest of care.

kfsartist said...

Sending Metta and this beautiful rainy day

Anonymous said...

feel better, enjoy the kids, regards to Ellie, hope to see you between now and the holidays. S and A