Workout log 14 June 2012: back to ER

Just a quick 20 minute free dance with cardio and weights.

A rash or jungle rot has developed at the site of the swollen lymph nodes because two weeks ago at one of our jungle dances, I wore a large Tibetan Safflower patch over the site for pain relief, since occasionally, mechanical pressure of the swollen nodes caused pain. Under it redness developed, was exacerbated by the way you must rip these plasters off (in one quick motion, taking the pain).

The poison is the cure in folk medicine as in Derrida’s analysis of how Plato uses the Greek word pharmakon and Native American use of tobacco (sometimes, I am certain, the Native Americans used it just for fun and not always as a solemn ceremony). You have to be careful in the jungle. Well, monsoon forest.

The paradox of the weeping sore is that neither desiccating the thing with alcohol nor adding water seems to help. It cannot be comforted. Literally, it’s creating a condition on the skin which causes further manifestations of the condition. It has its own telos like cancer which is at variance with my wanting to look studly, and my father is spinning in his grave at the attempt at literary medicine…my use of writing to not only record but also emotionally connect to health events.

Yet there is a program in narrative medicine, writing about medicine, at Columbia, and I’ll never forget Dad exhausting a med student at his home while I cared for him, demanding good grammar in medical reports.

But after laying out my own plan and asking my own doctor if this warranted an office visit (which would be expensive) I realized the simple solution. Since the rash is at the site of Monday’s scheduled incision biopsy, I need to go this morning to Queen Mary ER, and present my rash, and not do anything rash. It might complicate Monday’s surgery although I was imagining that the surgery would kill the rash. White blood vessels would storm the skin killing the bad guys.

At last night’s poetry night at my friend’s joint in Soho, Joyce Is Not Here, we discussed the Chinese belief in mourning as the peregrination of the dead which also appears in Hamlet.

Hamlet: My father…I think I see my father
Horatio: Where, my lord?
Hamlet: In my mind’s eye, Horatio

I would imagine that if beyond the Kantian block (the limit, in Kant, of our ability to know beyond the senses) my father has entered me then it would do no harm to say prayers for his soul.

I mean, my therapist years ago remarked on how I looked like Mom but reproduced my father’s mannerisms, and today I fuss like he used to fuss. John Cleese set me straight on my dislike of my father’s “feminine” fussing by saying that his ineffectual hotel manager, Basil Fawlty of Fawlty Towers, “was in my imagination quite good in the War, and ineffectual thereafter”.

My father, in my mind’s eye, was good in the war and thereafter in the operating theater but at home was Basil Fawlty who saw in me his handlessness in domestic things and disliked what he saw.

From his ghost in me emerge useful commands, such as, “Edward, dammit, stop all this nonsense and go to the god damned emergency room!” My war, and may God be thanked who has matched me with this hour, is to release his ghost. His legacy and his pains are now mine and like many men in the war, I am thrown into an unfamiliar environment.

I used to hate how any initiative on my part was so quickly smashed by that family environment.

Mom chirps, “in my mind’s eye, Horatio” that I shouldn’t dance in the jungle. But that wasn’t the problem. Mom and Dad rarely knew their neighbors and were this always perfectly dressed couple after we left the nest until the day of her heart attack. I marched to the Lamma ferry in tropical heat with a tie and a heavy laptop for five years, hardly knowing a soul here.

The thought, oh I get financial stability but then cancer, me unlucky, so silly, because this thing would be a nightmare without my savings. In this world there is good and bad for roughly the same reason that no scientific statement can be known to be certainly true. You can always look on the dark side and grim possibilities or work on expanding the good side. Applied optimism is always more rational.

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