6 Oct 2013

Sunday, 20 minute workout first thing included 150 midrise steps (getting easier) and 300 supine movements with and without weights.

“Some crying for a surgeon”: behind my new iPod shuffle I hear a couple of patients in pain, screaming or just railing against their pain in Chinese dialects. I had quite a siege of pain myself yesterday evening and jolts this morning.

Yesterday I had walked 20 minutes the afternoon prior to the evening siege but I will verify this connection by again walking for 20 minutes today. The pain (de pain!) was classic butt pain with derivative simultaneous nerve pain in the ankle and foot as (in my understanding) the nerves are squished in the butt causing them to misreport pain lower down.

After an interval, drinking the “morphine” (Fentanyl) syrup caused the pain to transform itself into cranial pain at the location where it always has occurred in the last two weeks. Then all pain disappeared.

The butt and cranial pain punched in at 7 over 10 in terms of a subjective level.

This morning I asked for the Fentanyl syrup “boost” after my workout. Now not feeling pain. There’s no “euphoria” associated, for me at any rate, with Fentanyl so I am puzzled to find, on YouTube, drug fiends singing the praises of this drug presumably stolen. It may be that despite my long-term caffeine addiction still extant and my in remission addictions to nicotine and alcohol, I don’t feel pain at the level others feel pain, so I am not euphoric when pain goes away.

But that makes no sense…the cancer pain is intense…for me anyway. Ludwig Wittgenstein, whose late-stage (late-stage philosophical, not medical) writings and speakings on pain may have very indirectly inspired the views of pain held today by the palliative care community, might say that subsequent experience on my part may reveal that my “high end” pain, what is a “ten” for me on a zero..ten scale, my have to be revised, drastically if there comes a time when the pain is more intense at the high end.

However, I have read nothing about “precancer pain”, and I have had what “feels like” intense pain at the site. However, in this intense pain I find my ability to work (read, write, etc.) undiminished and analgesic. Perhaps there are undiscovered rivers of pain (countries? What metaphor would Shakespeare use?).

My falsest love, without intent to, you
Conduct me as yet undiscover’d to
The secret rivers of undeserv’d pain … sod it a couplet should be a quatrain stun me

Intellectualizing? Bullshitting? Moi? No, I want to leave a truthful legacy to Peter and my grandchildren.

A Note on Writing: What the Writer Learns

We learn in writing to be unafraid of contradictions and uncertainty. We can write things down (like Orwell’s Winston Smith writing in his new diary “down with Big Brother”.

We can spot the Hidden: take the seemingly ordinary name “Winston Smith”: why did Orwell select it? Suppose there are no accidents. Winston cigarettes? No, they didn’t exist, in all probability, in 1948, and they were an American cigarette with which Orwell was probably unacquainted at any point in his life.

Switch your attention to “Smith”: what does it make you think of? Right-ho, the every day, the ordinary, Everyman, a default name so ordinary as to be exceptional, but only to the mathematician who thinks that an ordinary (non-prime and odd let us say with further properties, properties I don’t know but a mathematician does) number is “interesting” by virtue of being “ordinary”.

But…that’s precisely the mathematical mind at work, is it not? To Ordinary People, “boring” remains unpacked due to a lowered curiosity. Therefore Orwell, who had no ordinary mind but exhibited quite a feel for the everyday in The Road to Wigan Pier and Keep the Aspidistra  Flying, meant something least-common-denominator with “Smith”.

But what about Winston? Everybody give up?

I suppose that in real classes I shall have to have some sort of prize handy if someone gets it right here.

Of course! Orwell didn’t know the nasty cigarette but he knew, and knew in 1948 that his readers would know,  Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, DL, FRS, Hon. RA, damn your eyes.

So, “Winston Smith” raises expectations with “Winston” and lets them drop with a thud in “Smith”, in a microcosmic clue to the plot in which Winston Smith raises our expectations, our hopes that he will successfully through friendship with O’Brien reform the Party from within, only to disappoint us, and to Winston’s parallel foolish hope. One thinks (I think) that actually this hope denied is a characteristic experience of our world. As in the case of Obama.


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