27 November 2008

Thanksgiving, 2008

Thanksgiving, 2008. On the national level, there is a great deal for which to be thankful. We have, after all, a new President—Barack Obama. A sense of hope in the midst of real crisis. A silver lining in a very dark cloud.

Professionally (which I am arbitrarily distinguishing from the personal), I continue to grow in the classroom, and to even receive satisfaction from my engagement there. My writing proceeds, albeit slowly and fitfully (it is my thinking that is fitful—if I could only repair it then the writing would occur more facilely, but then, I suppose, it wouldn’t be my thinking at all), and I publish regularly and cheerfully, remaining still, relatively unknown.

On a more personal level, though yes, the annual paranoid Death Watch continues, I have a relatively clean bill of health. I am experiencing episodes of idiopathic hemolytic anemia. This is an autoimmune condition in which antibodies attach to the red blood cells and kill them. This leaves a depleted level of red blood cells with all the attendant consequences of this lack. Apparently, this version of the anemia is very idiosyncratic—hence the descriptor, idiopathic, and therefore, there is no known cause and therefore, no known cure. Though medicines were prescribed, and my health improved, the doctors don’t know if the medicines actually treated the condition, or if the anemia just cleared on its own. Relatedly, since there is no known cause, a reoccurrence might happen at any time for reasons unknown. This prognosis reminds me of weather forecasting: there is a great deal of science behind the crap shoot. One theory the doctor proposes is that the condition is triggered by the change of seasons and the onset of cold: cold agglutin, he calls it. I remind him that I live in Wisconsin, and am not inclined to move to Hawaii. He smiles patronizingly. He prescribed folic acid, which I can get in the Health Food Store. However, I am comforted that the condition is not at all life threatening, and so, I intend to write in this space regularly and irregularly for the next year at least. I may run less miles, but I hope to continue to spend two or three mornings a week with Gary out on the trail. But at least now this idiopathic hemolytic anemia gives some substance to the neuroses, which is always a relief.

And from where does the paranoia derive? Ah, many places, but I can honestly point to Yossarian, in Heller’s Catch-22. You might recall how the book begins, “They’re trying to kill me!” Yossarian complains. “Who?” “Everyone!! Every cell in my body is just waiting to turn traitor!”

That said, there is a beautifully set table, my beautiful daughters in attendance, a full house of friends, and a filled cornucopia of food and drink. It’s a good life, finally.

Happy Thanksgiving.


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