Memorial Day was memorable this year.
I woke up at 5 a.m. with acute abdominal pain and incredible heartburn and thought, wow, this is a job for Tums. Or Mylanta. Or Maalox.
Sweet M woke up and looked at me and asked, bewildered, "Is it time to get up already?"
"No," I said, "I just have a stomach ache that woke me up."
"You know," she said, in that funny prescient way that she sometimes seems to have, "you should really see a doctor — right now."
The on-call 800-number nurse for our HMO shared Sweet M's opinion, so off I went to the ER to be sonogramed, IV'ed, blood-worked, EKG'ed, and CT scanned. They returned with the verdict that I have gallstones! Ouch, ouch, and more ouch!
It doesn't surprise that I would by now have gallstones. You could say that I have been galled all year by the various things that have come our way in terms of Sweet M's educational opportunities. And I'd certainly have described myself as filled with bile on more than one occasion. But little did I know that it was precipitating into little pebbles under my ribs. Along with a bit more grey under a patina of highlights, these little rocks are my body's souvenirs of this challenging school year.
When they released me with my handy Rx for mega-painkillers, I came home and Googled gall bladder and Chinese medicine, and low and behold, the gall bladder meridian is also associated with assorted health problems that had been emerging lately -- severe headaches, nausea, and, of course, that blinding rage, that child-avenging menis, the my friend Kristina writes about lately.
So I've been galled this year, and now it's written in my body.
Then tonight Fathersvox got a call from his family; his dear sister who spent much of her life teaching developmentally different children has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I am grateful for my little gall stones, which are an order of magnitude of concern about 100 million times less than hers.
Now she is the in an ER in Montreal waiting for her surgery. It took two months for her to get the tests to diagnose this . . . two months with a fast-spreading malignancy and a maternal history of this remarkably deadly illness. Our health care systems are broken — the Canadian system possibly as broken as the one here in the states. Our educational systems are broken.
And yet some people take this in stride. They aren't enrgaged. They don't somatize — they aren't sporting a little internal bundle of stones precipitated by the angry heat of liver chi percolating a little pouch of bile. How do that do that? How do they just chill?
If you can do this, how do you do it?