Thursday, December 3, 2015

Visitation of the Dove, by Clive James

Night is at hand already; it is well
That we yield to the night. So Homer sings,
As if there were no Heaven and no Hell,
But only peace.
The gray dove comes down in a storm of wings
Into my garden where seeds never cease

To be supplied as if life fits a plan
Where needs are catered to. One need is not:
I do not wish to leave yet. If I can
I will stay on
And see another autum, having got
This far with all my strength not yet quite gone.

When Phedre, dying, says that she can see
Already not much more than through a cloud,
She adds that death has taken clarity
Out of her eyes
To give it to the world. Behold my shroud:
This brilliance in the garden. The dove flies,

And as it lifts away I start these last
Few lines, for I know that my song must end.
It will be done, and go back to the past,
But I wish still
To be here watching when the leaves descend.
I might yield then, perhaps. But not until.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Third Wave of Feminism?

I just finished reading Erica Jong's new book, "Fear of Dying." So what is the third wave of feminism? (She might have told us, but I skipped many parts of the book, which is so much a re-play of many of her other books.) What emerges in my own mind, howwever, after reading Erica Jong, who is 73,  is my conviction that the third wave must include messages about the way "senior citizens" are treated in our society: treated by the medical profession, housing management, and just plain people on the street.

I recently had to interrupt one doctor and say, "I am not senile; please do not talk to me as if I am." Dealing with doctors gets to be like an old Seinfeld episode, in which Elaine tries to steal her records that she is sure contain an unflattering comment about her. Well, I have been struggling with cancers for the last nine years; too many doctors tell me all my trouble is due to worry, which I am sure is the summation of my existence scribbled across every medical document that bears my name.  Due to worry!!! Who would not be worried if you are forced to spend your "life" on the precipice that separates life from death? Certainly not the doctors . The message is clear:"You are old and sick, and I have better things to do with my time than deal with you." Gloria Steinem, you are 80, G-d bless you. Surely you have been insulted at least once by a rude doctor. Why can't we do something about this blatant inequality in the delivery of medical services, starting with mandated (or at least suggested) basic respect for the "elderly" patient?

Now on to housing. My home and all of my worldy possions were taken by Hurricane Sandy back in 2012. So I was forced to move to a (fairly upscale, as it turns out) apartment near my son and his family. I unfortunately made the mistake of calling an ambulance too many times. Once for toxic hepatitis; another for the passage of a kidney stone: other times for trivial ailments that were laughed at and mocked in emergency rooms. Another unfortunate incident occured when a friend called the police because she could not get me on the phone. (Yes, the police came knocking at my door in the wee hourse of the A.M. .) Okay, so I disturbed the peace. Punishment: extremey rude treatment by certain people employed in the building in which I lived, and yes - management's decision not to renew my lease. Third wave of feminism? Everybody advised me to keep my mouth shut and move. So I did.

For awhile I needed to walk with a cane, which tipped everyone off that I was not to be taken too seriously. Nurses seemed annoyed, as they looked back at me hobbling to exam rooms. I was told that some assisted living facilities "do not like apppliances," which included the walker I sometimes had to use. Come on now: Senior residences frown upon walkers. Then it is no surprise that I would be unkindly stared at by strangers in the street on snowy days when I needed to use that particular "appliance."

Okay fellow baby boomers. Have you had enough maltreatment? We all remember the days of the second wave. Now it is clearly time once again to include ourselves actively in the latest feminist movement. It is time the message goes out to judge us by our wisdom and not our "senility" and disabilities.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


G-d: i do not know what you are, where you are, or who you are. but i know that You exist.

please help to restore my faith.


Thursday, September 3, 2015

When It Is Time to Forgive the Unforgivable

1.Let us suppose, for a minute, that it is very easy to misinterpret the Talmud. Let us remind ourselves that the passage favoring pederasty is NOT to be taken literally. Rather it has to do with the Kittubah, which is a set of marriage pledges given by the groom to the bride.

2.Let us assume that your abuser grew up in a shtetl in Austria in the early 1900's. Let us also assume that there was little communication with other students of the Talmud outside of this small shtetl. Let us say that your grandfather took the phrase about sexual abuse with a girl under 3 and a boy under 9 literally. (Now we know it is an unacceptable interpretation.)

3.Let us assume that your abuser was sexually abused because the Talmud said it is okay - which it does NOT say. Let us say that people did not know the truth, but studied and studied and incorrectly carried out certain practices, which, in this time and this place, are illegal.

4.But let us return to that place in that time. What if your own abuser, whom you hated/loved for your whole life, was sexually abused as a child, but was told it was an acceptable practice?

5.This is what we know: Freud, an Austrian Jew, knew that sexual abuse of children was rampant. (See case study of Dora, e.g.) Freud had to cover up his true knowledge with the somewhat far-fetched Oedipal Complex theory, which, he said, explained hysteria and other neurotic states. He really knew that he was right the first time, but he wanted to remain part of the Austrian Psychoanalytic Society, whose members, apparently, knew about rampant sexual abuse of young children.

6.How many people in therapy suffered as a result?

7.Back to reasonable interpretation: the Talmud says what a woman's marriage rights should be if she was sexually abused before the age of 3 years old. (The Talmud thus protects the rights of the abused.) Let us acknowledge that your sexual abuser stopped having any contact with you when you turned 3. (People have remarked that there was a big (and not good) change in you at that age.) Nobody understood why, and blame you to this day.

8.Now onto some more facts: Dr. Leonard Neff, rip, conceptualized the diagnosis of PTSD, or post traumatic stress disorder. It seems that other therapists pretend that they know how to treat PTSD, but really do not. Perhaps the VA has finally gotten it straight. I hope so.

9.What if your psychological existence (with all its physical connections) depended upon forgiving the unforgivable, because the perpetrator was a victim turned victimizer and did not know any better?
What if ... if ... if ... if ..

10.The other day I saw a posted photo taken in the 1990' s of a beautiful couple, now dead. Not too far from the wife's beatific smile were tattooed numbers on her arm. She had come to terms not only with the unforgivable but also with the unthinkable.

11.Do not blame Judaism and those who misinterpret what has been written. You know in your heart that no religion would condone sexually abusing a child. And yet it happens. To me and maybe to you.

12.Save yourself. It is time to forgive (and understand) the unforgivable, inexcusable acts of not only sexual abuse of children but also the act of blaming religion and MOST of all of blaming yourself.

13. Disclaimer: In summary this post is not meant to blame the scriptures of judaism or any other religion. It simply represents my own limited attempt to understand.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

New Cancer Scare

Writing might be cathartic (except that catharsis is really for the audience, according to classical literature.) Oh, I do not know anymore - or care.

A band of angels - day is done - i will go so gently.

It all started almost two weeks ago when I had a terrible episode of vertigo, very reminiscent of what happened two months before the 2007 kidneycancerturnedbrain tumor bleed.

Doctors are concerned about a recurrence of kidneycancerturnedbrain tumor.
And so am I, since I am still dizzy and have headaches.

So - I am too weak to undergo brain surgery. So - what? Nothing. Just sit home and wait to bleed to death? All alone? What choice?

I see a new oncologist/hematologist on Weds. and  ENT on Tuesday. Cannot hear out of left ear. Mri not until a week from tomorrow. How last?

Ha ha. This has not been cathartic for me or anyone else. What to do?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Why Are (Some, Most) Nurses So Mean?

1.They hate the day shift.
2.They hate the night shift.
3.They know more than doctors.
4.They know less than doctors.
5.They have not walked in your hospital "booties."
6.They do not like to watch people die.
7.They hate the yellow plastic "ponchos" they have to don when caring for a person who has been quarantined.
8.They can't wait to get away from you so they can talk about you to other nurses.
9.They had fights with their spouses shorty before coming on duty.
10.They do not like the sound of the patient's buzzer.