Bad protoplasm?

Dateline: Mon 19 Oct 2009

One of the prime components of aging is (based on limited experience) a sort of breaking down of one's health. Thus, during our 60s, 70s, 80s and possibly even into our 90s, if we are lucky (or unfortunate) enough to live that long, we finally come to terms with death. Which is, of course, the whole megillah -- born, live, die.

Illness gets us acquainted with what is to come, that final curtain call.

Illness is the sometimes flashy, in-your-face, warm-up act that dizzies us and then narrows and focuses our world. The ideal goal of serious illness is ultimately to see life more quietly, fully and (paradoxically) discriminately, as if we are jewelers peering through an eyepiece and seeing a diamond-flecked rainbow. The new prism? An exquisite little sick bed on which to lie, nothing less, nothing more. What can be tinier and more precise than being confied to a bed?

But it ain't all poetry. Sick people gripe a lot and watch a lot of lousy TV. IF they are lucky enough to have the resources.

And what a boring whine this is. To quote our own beloved Cole Porter -- after the horse crushed his legs -- "never complain, never explain." Geez, you'd think I had stage 4 lung cancer (which I do not, to my knowledge...but one never knows...)

Still, a tad bit of explanation is in order. There has been much to admire in the world of news of late -- stories in the Star re: the Hamilton Street murders, the duplicity of Lily with its Caremark mailings, an accounting of Rep. Steve Buyer's unaccountable Freedom Foundation, plus much much more (Gary Welsh's Advance Indiana, on a roll) -- and the New York Times expose of the effects of ecoli poisoning on a young woman's life (one bad, undercooked hamburger), Modern Love, Maureen Dowd -- and it goes on. Book reviews, opinion pieces, etc. etc. etc.

BUT I have not had the energy to deal with it. A prolonged bout of asthma -- as in starting in August -- has softened my edge, bringing me to a sort of basic existence, which is pretty damn good, all things considered: hang out with Ezra, 3, the grandson; sleep on days off; dream, cough, cough, cough, wheeze wheeze wheeze.

At the same time, I am keenly aware of the illnesses or misfortunes of many friends -- falls down stairs, cancers, stomach upheavals, flawed hearts. When we were 15, everyone was into music and boys; now everyone is into -- health and/or sickness. But that's why God made doctors, and I've seen my share of late.

Many years ago, when my own kids were often sick, it sometimes seemed as if a black cloud of ear infections, colds, vomitiing, etc., hung over our house, especially in cold Indiana winters. Once I asked our late pediatrician, Mike Hogan, why they got ill so often. "Bad protoplasm," he said, dryly.

Then he explained that his sarcastic answer was courtesy of another physician, who pronounced that diagnosis when Dr. Hogan's own kids were little, and sick, a lot. It pissed him off -- bad protoplasm. Grrr.

But sometimes, that explanation is the only thing that makes sense. We all have bad protoplasm -- eventually,

P.S, thanks to my Facebook friends who sent well wishes  my way....I wrote this for you, among others. Now I hope to have the energy tomorrow to mention it....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

God bless you, Ruth.

A doctor told me I should have been long dead at age 45, but here I am moving towards my sixth decade of life and I am still able to irritate people - including my wife of over 30 years and the teenage son we still have at home (smile)

Asthma is ONE of the multiple things I have wrong with me and, Ruth, I'm sure you'll agree with me that it ain't no fun when you're gasping for breath and the inhaler hasn't kicked in yet. Then, you have to deal with "Albuterol anxiety" from bronchodilators.

If only I had taken Mickey Mantle's observation seriously when I was young:

"If I had known I was going to live this long, I'd of taken better care of myself."

2009-10-19 19:42:54

ellen in indy [unverified] said:

sorry to hear that illness was the reason we've been so ruth-less lately. glad you're feeling better.

now that the bad protoplasm has been beaten into submission, let's go for coffee soon. (i assume you still have my number.)

2009-10-19 20:08:36

hendy [Member] said:

Hope there aren't any smokers nearby. If so, blame them directly.

That said, cats are the next suspect; same bad enzyme as roaches: they exacerbate asthma brutally. Then it's dust and pollen. Tough to get rid of all these things, save the cat-- if there's one around.

If all that doesn't work, I'll burn incense in hopes you won't inhale the smoke from it, but rather benefit from the well-wish.

2009-10-19 21:23:38

ruthholl [Member] said:

Thank you, all.
Funny, true, good advice, every word a balm and it's always good to laugh (even when it means more coughing).
And let's face it, we are all really lucky: we know the score, we have warm beds, we can get better. My doc (Doug Horton) gave a lot of free samples in drugs, otherwise I'd be broke as well as sick. In other words, I've got it good. It's those poor devils on the streets...in the cold...brutal. Must fix, must fix...

2009-10-20 06:11:22

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Good karma wishes your way. Sux to hurt.

Kitties can worsen some lung disorders, but the love they offer, in their strange cat-like ways, is a gentle balm to the soul.

And then there's the Balm oif Gillead, which I hope is rushing your way.

Mike Hogan. Pediatrician to all three of my kids. I still talk to his former nurse often, and the memories...rushed back. Here's a particularly good one, which could provide a chuckle...and there's another balm: laughter.

Mike was HUGE in the gun protection (vis-a-vis kids) game. Nationally. And as you know, he asked every single patient, as often as he could remember: are there any guns in your house? He did a lot of good with that single question, in strange ways...and yes, in his northside practice, contrary to the demographics, he got "yes" answers too often.

Kim Hood was doing a story on this once, and my kids were in the office. With permission obtained all around, she filmed the exchange between Mike and my (now 22-year-old IU senior) daughter:

Mike":Are there any guns in your house?"

Daughter: "No, but gramma has a BB gun."

Mike: "And what does she do witih it?"

Daughter: "Shoots cats in the butt when they get in her flowers."

Mike paused for a minute, then burst into laughter. That segment didn't make it to Ch. 13. But it is embedded in our family lore. That, and dozens f good Mike memories. Gone too soon.

There. Feel better?


2009-10-20 06:28:37

whosear [Member] said:

Ruth, I can commiserate with your experience, and the most effective meds are expensive in the states. I hope it passes soon for you.

2009-10-20 07:47:41

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

Ruthie,
Sorry to hear tha bad protos have got you down.
I assume you have a breathing treatment machine? Med pays for em. Brings great relief when in extremis. (After 45 years of smoking I deserve much worse, but only need the gizmo once or twice a year, if that, during the winter.)

2009-10-20 07:56:25

Ms. Cynical [unverified] said:

Wow. Dr. Hogan was my kids' pediatrician, too. What a great guy!
His first question was always, "So, how's mom doing?"

2009-10-20 09:12:42

guy77money [unverified] said:

That what happens when ya work in news rooms (well back in the day) all the cigar and cigarette smoke. It always suck to feel bad. Hang in there winters around the corner. Maybe we will have a cold one to kill all those nasty germs!

2009-10-20 14:20:45

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

Speaking of doctors, I am going to have to change my "primary care physician" (HMO-speak) soon and I am looking for a doctor who works through either St. Francis (Beech Grove or Greenwood) or Community South hospital networks.

It would be nice to find one who is at least somewhat open to "alternative" healing practices (including nutrition and herbs), but that is probably too much to ask.

Can anyone here give me any suggestions? I prefer women doctors because they generally actually listen to you and respect a patient's opinions, but I'd consider a male doctor if necessary.

Thanks, Whitebeard

2009-10-20 15:35:41

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Dr. Blackwell, near 75th/Shadeland. Refreshingly honest, open...not afraid to try different things.

2009-10-22 05:23:09

George Stuteville [unverified] said:

Hope you get to feeling better, Ruthie! I apologize for all those years I smoked while on the Metro Desk. I am sure it drifted over there to the Living Section.

...and oh, gawd, I remember those awful ear infections my kids, particularly my oldest son, had.

2009-10-22 09:17:00

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