Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Serenity now

Today I went to two meetings with hospice nurses, one for each of my parents. My mom is now on hospice; the meeting about my dad was in preparation for when he needs to go on hospice. Starting hospice does not mean death is imminent. It means that death may be expected within six months, and also that the care will focus on comfort, not on prolonging life. But it's a significant step.

Last night and this morning were particularly cold here in Lynden, and the northeast wind—the coldest we know in this region—blew. I woke up and began sneezing uncontrollably. I told my sister-in-law later that it's as though cold has a smell, and that smell makes me sneeze—I smelled it and I could feel the reaction in one particular spot inside my sinuses.† (Later in the day I did discover that a window in the room where I slept was not closed properly, so I had had a stream of freezing outdoor air coming in to my environment all night.)

Once started, the sneezing—as is the wont of my allergies—would not stop. I sneezed and blew my nose through the two hospice meetings. By the time I was headed home, my nose, on the side where I could feel the reaction in my sinuses, was dripping. I had to hold a tissue (napkin, paper towel, whatever) up to my nose to catch it.

I know from bitter experience that when my allergies are out of control the only thing that will stop them is for me to fall asleep. Only then does my system relax enough to stop the madness. Fortunately, I was feeling tired out by the day's experience, so when I got home I found the cracked window and shut it, took some diphenhydramine, covered myself with a quilt, and took a nap, probably for about two hours.

Allergies are aggravated by stress, and I think that mine were extra bad today because I had these two hospice meetings. Those meetings were signposts for a difficult part of the journey. I think my poor, confused body realized something was wrong and sprang to the defense by pushing my immune system into overdrive. There, there, poor body. I know you mean well, but that really didn't help. What you need to do is calm down.

Francis of Assisi called his body "Brother Ass." I guess I could call mine "Sister Stupid." Just now I looked that up in the Catholic Encyclopedia, and it said that, after he wore out his body with mortification, Saint Francis asked pardon of Brother Ass for treating him so harshly. So I also ask pardon of Sister Stupid for my inattentiveness to her needs and again ask that she remain calm.

This is the kind of explanation of my system that gains me laughing disbelief, strange looks, or shakes of the head.

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