Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Alive in part, undead in others

I’m still alive, in parts. I had not eaten but crackers for some days. I went to Seattle, snuck into a Furry/Anthro Con, wheeled through steel mazes of ADA access, and the backroom of a restaurant. We ate at a genuine Korean Barbecue, the only Caucasians in the full house. Lay on the floor eight hours with a heart too weak and erratic to move, then when in bed, unable to sleep due to pain for hours more.

While it is Oct, it is still sunny and in the 80’s and high 70’s. Summer never ends. Linda’s job, and all of government is currently in partial strike, as there is no agreement, leaving us up horrid street. We had a coupon for the ferry to Seattle, paid months ago, along with a hostel, which turned out to be a Best Western (why it lists some rooms as hostel is beyond me, but made the $140 room into a $70 odd one – fridge, microwave and all). We live on soup and home made cookies. It could be worse. The Pain patches, and covers run out in a few days, along with the florastor. Since I hardly can eat due to the nausea, there seems to be a natural balance which works out well.

It is a hard and rather unpleasant life, but it is the only one on offer right now, so I enjoy all the good bits as I can. I met the organizer of Steam Con Seattle, as well as the creator/artist of Nordgard published by Sofawolf. Tess Garman went up and worked on the Ididerod (1,000 mile sled race in Alaska) to get sled experience for the book. The co-(something, maybe owner?) of Sofa wolf and I had an academic discussion on the various groupings, or three groups that read Anthro/Furry Con and he was proud of the representation of female authors for Sofa wolf. I noted that Anthro/Furry tends toward either gay experiences (from gays/lesbians) or slash/yaoi type stories. Yet, it seemed mostly males attending. Sadly, there were no t-shirt or clothing sold (unlike my ‘ghoul kittens’ sleep shirt) except leash and collars.

When life gets all in all, it becomes very challenging to blog. I hope now that the heat is abating, I will be able to blog with consistency. After all, with planning, practice and the ability to compartmentalize pain due to a decade of torture, I was able to go over six miles – even if I was blind and had heat stroke at the end. Been lots of minutes of hours or days hitting ‘The Jackpot’ (what we call when the heart rate/diastolic and systolic blood pressure all in the 100+ while at rest – like lying on the floor but heart rate 130 with 189/156 is a ‘Jackpot’ – mostly because some vein is about to blow, so either my nose will start bleeding, my ear, or I will have a stroke, or maybe all three (‘Trifecta Jackpot’)), which you would need to experience to understand.

I can however describe for you what suffocating feels like: As the seconds pass, the feeling of needing oxygen grows exponentially until your whole body is screaming it into your mind, and if you could thrash, you would be. Your lungs feel like balloons that have been blown past the bursting point and are, at any moment about to pop, and there is this whole ‘red’ feeling to it. Each second seems unbearable, and each second, that feeling increases and the desire to do anything, to puncture your own throat, to beat on your diaphragm, to claw your fingers with the intensity to rip off the fingernails, if you could but move, would be a relief, hardly pain at all compared to the pain and intensity of that need for air. Then, it slows, like snow sliding off the roof when it melts, and compresses into a ball of darkness, hard and cold which sinks into your chest. The need to breathe is gone, and there is just darkness, and a feeling of being pulled down. Then images start bursting in your mind, flares that your brain sends up as the oxygen left in the blood gets used up, until the images fade into a deep dark blue, into which is a free fall without pain or concern. You can hear, through the surges in your ear, your heart slowing down, and thought is not coherent, just twitches. It is, at the end, like floating on air.

I can also tell you what a heart attack feels like, but another day.

I have long tired of being told what I cannot do, and all that I can do is die. Dying is something we do every breath, it takes no great practice. I have been doing stupid things, and hanging in the balance for some hours, all to see a woodpecker, or raise some funds for cancer, or slide the wheelchair sideways, slipping down the steep slopes of Seattle with a protracted squeak of tire protest. It is interesting, at least to me.

As T. Roosevelt said, “to the man (or woman) who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again. Because there is no effort without error and shortcomings, he who knows the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the high achievement of triumph and who at worst, if he fails while daring greatly, knows his place shall never be with those timid and cold souls who know neither victory nor defeat"


Sarah said...

I don't know what to say. So I'll sit quietly and listen. I wish that there was more that I could do for you. :(

Anonymous said...

I really really wish that i could help... Please God help dearest Elizabeth.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Thanks, but I think it is interesting to know what suffocating is like (painful but interesting). And there are good things in life and I smile (less when I am face down on the floor as it gets carpet in the teeth).

Neil said...

No, definitely no carpet in the teeth, please; it's SO unbecoming.

Suffocating sounds like no fun at all. I hope you can stop doing that too.

Middle Son knows what the heart attack feels like already, since he has a "benign"atrial arrhythmia. The arrhythmia may be benign, but the pain is NOT.

The furry con DOES sound like fun. I hope you were able to take photos!

The heat of summer has passed here; they were predicting snow for tomorrow night, but now it's just supposed to be -2ÂșC and rain. you and my Beloved can sare the cold; I'll take the 80F any time.

You may fail, but I know you will dare greatly, and you will never know defeat.

Love and zen hugs,

Raccoon said...

I like the idea of furries, but not that yaoi stuff. And, luckily for me, there's a lot of furry fiction that is straight or lesbian.

There's been times when I've been in the water, swimming pools & ponds, where I've not felt the need to breathe. Somehow, I get the feeling that it's not quite the same thing.

The last few days it's been in the upper 90s and low triple digits (Fahrenheit) here. That's a little hot for me, even.

I've read a handful of stories and news articles recently – recently meaning within the last four years. It seems that once you're paying attention to a topic, you see it pop up quite frequently.

I'm glad that you are still here, and that you were able to go to a Furry Con. And, like Neil, I hope you got lots of pictures.

And the picture on your shirt is mildly disturbing.

Baba Yaga said...

It's good to see you post.

I can't help thinking, though, that "what suffocating is like" is really *much* better to 'know' second-hand than first. Let alone strokes and heart attacks and bleeding orifices... I'd send you some Scottish weather, if I could (currently sunny and just a bit chilly): just so long as you send your 80° somewhere else! Here it's very definitely autumn; may yours follow soon.

Glad you got to go to your furry con, though: boo to the lack of interesting t-shirts, that's a field which ought to produce some splendid ones. Not sure what I make of the ghoul kittens - clever, certainly.

You as gladiator sounds about right: perhaps a retiarius with net and trident. (Curiously, they seem to have been rather looked down upon, as somehow less manly than the wielders of swords and wearers of heavy armour: I'm not quite sure how that makes sense, except that popular prejudice commonly doesn't.)

Gibbon, incidentally, has a delightful passage on St. Telemachus, whom he describes as "the rash monk, who had descended into the arena to separate the gladiators, [and] was overwhelmed under a shower of stones. But the madness of the people soon subsided; they respected the memory of Telemachus, who had deserved the honors of martyrdom; and they submitted, without a murmur, to the laws of Honorius, which abolished forever the human sacrifices of the amphitheater."

He adds in a footnote, " I wish to believe the story of St. Telemachus. Yet no church has been dedicated, no altar has been erected, to the only monk who died a martyr in the cause of humanity."

Wry comment rather a speciality - his commentary on the Goths, settlig in the Ukraine, is gloriously acerbic. "The plenty of game and fish, the innumerable bee-hives deposited in the hollow of old trees, and in the cavities of rocks, and forming, even in that rude age, a valuable branch of commerce, the size of the cattle, the temperature of the air, the aptness of the soil for every species of gain, and the luxuriancy of the vegetation, all displayed the liberality of Nature, and tempted the industry of man. But the Goths withstood all these temptations, and still adhered to a life of idleness, of poverty, and of rapine."

I'd better desist, hadn't I?! Glad to see you post again, though - was getting rather concerned. Not without justice, it appears.

Alex M. said...

I love that TR quote!

Elizabeth McClung said...

Baba Yaga: Gibbon at times is wry, but like Tolstoy, likes it dry and delayed, which is why I started an 'abbridged' version in 11th grade of his volumes. Thanks for the long comment. I think most people would not want to be suffocated (and it annoys me when people in films take 10 seconds to do it), but many might have an academic interest in it.

Alex: It has always been a favorite quote of mine, along with a part of an anon ballad of two soldiers, one with a broken sword who quits the field, saying 'what can be done with this', and the other, who finds the broken sword, and returns to battle, having a weapon at last. Sort of a 'don't spend time criticising the tools until you can find the limits you can surpass with them' type poem.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Raccoon: I did get one, shanda the panda which has a lesbian theme, though not a real lesbian theme (strangely the lesbian in these series is always well endowed and sleeps nude). The Manga 'Girlfriends' is good, but is a single story cut in half, so we have the preamble - which amounts to two kisses and an erotic dream - I expect volume 2 to make the big payoff.