We had a wonderful weekend celebrating an early Christmas with Kearney and Brad, and are now settled in for a very quiet Christmas at home. While the news seems focused on pointing out how perilous are our times, we see a world inhabited by endlessly kind and nice people. We are happy and hopeful.
Of course, as I was telling a friend on the telephone the other day that I was working on an ethics presentation, his instant response was “You’re from Illinois: you’re not allowed to talk about ethics!” Little did he know that I am inured to this, as one of the observations I make repeatedly in my standard ethics talk is that I’m from Illinois, a state in which the standard form for some grants from the state requires affirmative certification that no state officials have been bribed in the application process. Even so, even with this governor and the complete standstill in state government, even with all the cynicism and rank stupidity the news brings every day, we observe the basic goodness of those around us, and we give thanks.
The local paper ran a story on my medical adventure yesterday, which brought an interesting deluge of email. One of the cohort of kids who were “tracked” in school with me from kindergarten on wrote because his mother had sent him a link to the story, for example. Virtually all of the mail had some positive and interesting message.
This morning, the incision has taken another leap in its improvement, with two of what had been four remaining inflamed spots seeming to have moved along in the healing process. It’s always a great start to a day when we have one of these leaps forward with the incision site. Some of the email in response to the article brought stories of others who have had similar experiences—or much worse. That all brought to mind the thought that’s been clattering around for some time about the relative differences of the acute and chronic stages of adventures like this. The acute phase is in many ways easier to handle, because there’s so much going on, and it’s so new and there just aren’t choices about what to do. The immediate requirement, however messy, is always pressing for the next step. The chronic phase, where you settle in for the long haul, and where the everydayness must be accommodated, is harder. Not only because it’s less dramatic and pressing, but because by the time it’s become a chronic condition, it’s boring to live, boring to talk about and boring for all those who care, no matter how deeply. I suppose it’s related to compassion fatigue or information overload: it’s just hard to sustain after something is months along. This all makes me think that it’s time to go out and investigate a bit what kind of organizations are providing support for those coping with chronic conditions and see what kinds of needs they might have to which we could contribute.
Now that the semester break is officially here, and now that we’re home and hunkered down for the duration, it’s time to think about Christmas cards, cookies, baking, and a puzzle to do with Shea. Our game for this season, we think, is Bananagrams, a fun crossword game, with “hands” that go quickly. Check it out if you like word games. Best wishes to all for a peaceful and happy week.