For a what seemed like a month I was ill, I was lucky to have the ability to see a doctor, get a blood test, urine test, kidney ultrasound, but none of it revealed the cause and I’ll probably never know. Getting the tests gave me some hope of finding what it was and curing it, unfounded hopes, but strong ones. I was so far past my comfort zone that my husband looked for a cure and found one, without a diagnosis I was still able to find what really seemed like a cure. We found corn silk water. Which is the strings of the corn that are trash, boiled for about 10 minutes and drunken. I joked with my husband that perhaps all I needed was water, but I really think the corn silk water, known to be a anti-inflammatory was honestly effective. I had never heard of it before and had absolutely no hope in it when he brought it to me, so I don’t credit the placebo effect.
What I had was a persistent pain on my left abdomen, above belly button level and left of it, between the flank and middle. I was also unwell, dizzy, nauseated, couldn’t digest food, when I threw up food it looked the same as when I ate it and I burped a foul odor sewage often. The pain was so intense at times, it felt undulating like an octopus of pain. Since my lab results were all “normal” it didn’t seem to be an infection, nor parasite, nor kidney stones, but the fact that it seemed like nothing to Western Medicine, didn’t mean it was nothing. I’m not given to any mysterious pains, I was healthy, able to exercise and pick up my kids one month, then the next I wasn’t.
It was difficult to be nice, I tried to be, but I was pretty cranky. I told myself I was going to remember how hard it was to be nice when I was in pain (I know some people do it).
Now I’m better and I’m a bit afraid of forgetting the mental shift of understanding towards people in pain that I had during that time.
“Think little of thy flesh: blood, bones, and a skin; a pretty piece of knit and twisted work, consisting of nerves, veins and arteries; think no more of it, than so.”Marcus Aurelius
I’ve been sickly often, but also healthy often. Probably more sickly than most people, but also more healthy than most chronically ill people. Spent some time in crutches and leg casts as a youth for dysplasia of the hip, did physical therapy, observed how being the only one on crutches makes the other school kids separate you from them mentally. I was lucky in that they separated me in a nice way, they actually treated me better, held the door, gave me space and encouragement. But still a mental separation grows between the people who are normal and the outlier.
When I’m healthy I have a tendency to think I’m healthy because I made good choices about eating, I exercised a lot, I go to the doctor once a year.
But it’s all wrong.
My choices are pretty average, I’m not a vegan, I don’t eat that healthy, perhaps a shade better than average if at all not much. Both my parents were thin, my dad had decent eating habits, my mom was anorexic, luckily I picked up more of dad’s eating habits. It was probably luck to be exposed to healthy eating habits at home, in the larger extended family and than in my friend circles and athletic circles. Some athletic circles are mentally damaging in an effort to make weight, mine wasn’t, for that I am grateful.
I do exercise, sure, but I’ve seen people who exercise a lot more and are unhealthy. In a way Lance Armstrong was much less healthy than me. Because I feel like enough inside, without a gold metal, or however many he has. I guess he got into a cycle of taking drugs to win, lying about taking the drugs, and still not being happy with the amount he won. The Cool Running Coach syndrome. Exercise has played a huge role in my battle to master my mind and emotions, but it can’t keep you healthy, many people who exercise get physically or mentally sick inside.
I go to the doctor and they check to see if I’m already healthy, going doesn’t make me that way. Getting the cholesterol blood check helps me know if I need to adjust my diet to fight my naturally high cholesterol producing body I have due to genes from my Japanese side, but just seeing the doctor and saying hello doesn’t bestow health upon me.
Japanese people (I’m Japanese from my dad’s side) produced all the cholesterol their body needed with no meat for so long when isolated and encouraged by religious practices of Buddhism, that Japanese people who do eat meat, especially non-seafood, tend to have high cholesterol, adding extra where there is already enough. Cholesterol is needed in the boundary membrane of all cells, part of the bag that separates one cell from another, it’s not bad in the right amount, but vital – when in balance. At 16 years old my cholesterol was about 260, which is “too high,” I got it down with garlic, running, and some diet changes, but every few years it shoots back up and I start something to bring it down, oatmeal, plyometrics, something.
Anyways, I wasn’t sure a few months ago if good health was a gift or something you earned, but now I really think it is a gift. The ability to be well enough to exercise, or affluent enough to eat well, both are gifts.
It may be a gift that you have to earn, but even still it’s a gift.
I’m sure Stephen Hawking would have stayed well if he could.
It seems like splitting hairs, but it isn’t.
If I have something good in my life, like life itself, awareness, health, love, I want to know if it’s something that is a gift or something that is a wage.
It’s not that I don’t like gifts, but knowing the difference is mentally vital.
It allows me to give credit where credit is due and not where it isn’t.
My husband told me, when he was frustrated, that he hates “all of my ideas.”
I was sad, I told him “people are made completely of ideas and values wrapped in a meat shell.”
He asked if he could keep my meat shell.
Which was funny, we laughed, he apologized later.
We are not the body we leave behind, but it does affect us.
“Your body is the harp of your soul and it is yours to bring forth sweet music from it or confused sounds.”– Khalil Gibran
Being in pain affects the mind so much, it makes it hard to think, and for me, hard to take steps towards feeling better.
When I don’t have back pain I sit with good posture, when I do have pain, I sit hunched over and make it worse and worse… when I don’t have pain I will set up a heating pad, but if I already have pain I won’t…
I don’t know if it’s a personal failing or a feature of humanity that the more we need treatment the less we rise towards it.
Perhaps we were meant to take care of one another like my husband did for me this time. Setting the cure down in a glass in front of someone’s nose who doesn’t believe in it and wouldn’t have taken the time to get it?
I don’t know.
But in retrospect it seems silly I didn’t recognize health as a gift a long time ago. It’s a gift often given to the youth, but very often I didn’t have it.
Perhaps believing I control it, when it was so obviously not the case in my life full of allergies ext, that I didn’t have to fear it would ever be gone.
That’s perhaps why I hated myself when I was sick…
I blamed myself for being ill when I was ill, I applauded myself for being well when I was well (instead of being grateful). Both ways deepened a delusion and thus reduced my sanity (the ability to recognize reality).
In a way sanity is the same as mindfulness, what an insane world we live in where sanity and mindfulness are considered an unnecessary luxury in a world trying to get us to work as much as possible…
I was just discussing with my husband (from Mexico) what I (from Hawaii, US, but previously an independent kingdom) are. As a parent the US education system’s massive mediocrity comes to mind first, it wasn’t always – used to be top 10 in the world (6th in 1990), but it’s about 27th now and hasn’t been good in a long time (my aunt is a high school teacher, my sister and friends work in that field as well), the health care system that I worked in for many years is a pretty massive failure as well, the care isn’t horrible, but it’s not better than the same care in other countries at a much higher price due to either corruption or inefficiency (I have no idea which), the third failing is security. We think of ourselves are the strongest military in the world, but we came out of Viet Nam (my uncle fought in that one) with a loss, didn’t win the Korean War (my grandpa fought in that one), got stuck in the middle east without much to show for it, certainly didn’t win the war on drugs or terrorism, perhaps we bite off too much, or worse there is corrupt business interests on the part of politicians who won’t be the one on the ground suffering or causing suffering for others. Violence is also a problem at home, police killed my friend’s Caucasian, unarmed mentally challenged son, when he didn’t raise his hands when told to do so, they shot an unarmed Hispanic boy in our area 14 times when he was crossing the street. Dead people for police, are like dropped dishes at a restaurant, or rockets that don’t launch without blowing up… (it’s a part of the job) but the extent of our internal violence and external violence, it’s very stressful for the people who are aware of it, or affected by it due to where we live. Many people are not aware of the extent of or violence, but it’s not all hype, there are a lot of shootings, and the police shootings are more terrorizing because there is nothing to very little done about it ever.
The top three things about this country in my opinion are 1. Musical diversity and creativity, 2. Movie or entertainment production and 3. Factory production output. The way we won WW2 was largely by producing more airplanes and ships that the ones our inexperienced troops were loosing. I think we are the world’s other “made in China,” our phone ports seem to break every few years, but we churn out a lot of different kinds of things in a good/innovative and bad/pollution kind of impressive way.
I don’t hate this country, but I’ve been bothered all my life by the disconnect between what the media and public says we are and our lack of data baking that up. My grandparents raised the flag every day, what prevents me the most from loving this country, is not knowing it, you can’t love a lie. There needs to be some honesty rediscovery of reality for my generation to come together as a nation.
Perhaps it’s a fake news problems, or government suppression, but I don’t think so, I think the public just didn’t adjust to the fast changes of the past 70 years. I think we got stuck mentally at a time when we were militarily victorious, when we were leading education and our health care was not failing. I think we forgot to really look at ourselves without fake news, ever since our grandparents era passed and take stock of the reality of the significant changes that have happened.
My husband and I don’t enjoy living in the US to the same extent. Instead of arguing with him, that he thought it was the best place for us to live and discounting my view that it isn’t the best place to live, I considered the possibility that both are true.
There are many differences between my husband and I, but the first obvious one is gender.
The US is the same as Arab and Asian countries in political representation of women by women… I would hope male politicians always thought about women’s rights and men’s rights as equal, but I notice my husband forgets what I ask for from the store much more than he forgets what he needs…
So perhaps this is the best place for him, he loves the stock market lately, he likes having a pretty well paying job, he likes his life quality, and at the same time it is also true I don’t feel this place is the best for me.
I look at Sweden’s 16 month paternity leave for both parents and drool, imagining having help for 16 months is just amazing. Not only the help I would get, but the joy the kids would have playing with their dad, the joy he would get seeing them grow and master new things, seeing himself reflected in their eye and knowing how we are parts of one another’s souls.
I am not denying I benefit from this country, but although I am a great worker and have a bachelor’s degree I have never made over $13.75, my husband can’t do long division and makes double what I made working on an ambulance, as a mechanic.
It’s two different jobs, a mechanic vs an EMT.
But the reality is the same, my worth in dollars, in resources, which translates to freedom and power, is less than half of my husband.
I’m not sure who has more rights between a child or a wife? But between a husband and a wife in the US it’s clear.
As an EMT we had to report child abuse and elder abuse legally, every time, so did everyone else in health care, or police, or teachers, but domestic abuse does not get touched and is not mandatory…
The message I see on TV is american women are so free and privileged, the message I see in the bank is american women are behind men in rights, the message I see in politics is america is that the US is the same as the Arabic world it demonizes (but our hijab is a lack of clothing not extra), the message I see in the legal system is women don’t matter. And that’s how it felt growing up, as a child I had rights and every year approaching womanhood was a silent loss of rights, a child getting cat-called (verbal abuse and sexual harassment) by a grown man was shamed by society, a woman is expected to take the abuse and literally smile, while movies portray some illusion of equal rights for women in the US, data has never lied to us that way.
What is it like to live in america? It depends highly on who you are, where you are, what you like.
It’s not a horrible place, by all means, the problems here are probably caused by lack of awareness more than evil or conscious victimization of women or students ext, but it’s just amazing the difference between the public opinion, pubic appearance and the at home experience. When my mother grew up 1/3 children were being sexually abused at home, now it’s 1/6, about 1/4 american women will be raped or molested. That’s improvement, but it can sure take the joy out of baseball and apple pie when you live with that dysfunctional broken family tension that is a big part of america that doesn’t get put in the brochure.
Drug problems, mental health problems, abuse, gender inequality…
Scenic coasts, inventive minds, fresh fruit pies, technological innovation…
I think the worst thing about the US is an air that emotional repression is healthy, I think it causes most of the other problems.
Repress your emotions, you get drug problems, mental health problems, abuse problems, perhaps even gender inequality, women express more emotions and are perhaps shamed for being who they are meant to be.
What’s the solution? Probably social change.
Education just makes you aware it’s messed up that woman get raped and then you drop it and go about your day.
When women play an equal role in law making I think they will safe guard there own rights to a better extent than men (who probably mostly mean well) will do.
I don’t always know what flavor of beer my husband is into, he likes six (Blue Moon, Modelo, Negro Modelo, Heineken, Stella, Dos Equis), but they fall in and out of favor, when he goes to the store he gets what he craves almost always, but he can’t remember, after six years of marriage, which ice cream I like. I like mint, he brings pistachio, I like black cherry, he brings cheese cake… I love him, but when he shops for me, the amount of me getting what I want drops…
I didn’t always think it mattered how many women were in politics, and I certainly don’t think woman are immune to corruption or always do a better job, but I don’t think due to human nature, not evil intentions, that women will achieve equal rights before equal representation or earning.
I don’t think it’s important for me personally or women as much as it is important for everyone, every human had a mother and a father, we are all tied to the well being of both genders. To start charity that helps only women, doesn’t offer men jobs to support the family, lets girls but not boys go to school, it pains me equally as the opposite does.
I have a boy and a girl, I wouldn’t want to subjugate one in place of the other, what I want from the future is a future where women are free to be themselves, not smothered by expectations and injustices and if we must be smothered, at least we are honestly smothered and not silenced by a public facade.
While women are oppressed, every family is oppressed and in a way every person. While anyone is trapped, everyone is trapped to some very small degree.
Who knows the potential of the world when the genders are both allowed to work in harmony, when the nations get over their pride of pretending to be better than the data shows they are and have open dialogues about what the current priorities are without needing to pretend everything is perfect?
I think world peace, harmony with the environment, space travel, a end to slave trafficking, I think those things are all possible and staying satisfied with having half the world’s population subjugated partially is holding progress back and I think it’s a damn shame.
Some people are going to mars in the next decades, others are satisfied with the current status quo and many are living trapped as house slaves or sex slaves in every country of the world in “massage” parlors no one really cares to do much about, some people are starving, all in the same world.
I get my child legos, I teach them science, I try to be a better person just a bit everyday, but trying to understand this modern life is nearly mind boggling.
Because on this world of billions of people are billions of world, my husband’s world separated from mine, by no physical distance, but both by gender and individuality. My sister’s world separated from mine, by an ocean of distance, but a wider ocean of temperament and psychological differences. My father’s world separated from mine, by the same physical distance that lies between my sister and I, but also by an ocean of time.
Sometimes we feel alone in the world, because we sometimes are.