With multiple symptoms worsening, I went to Mayo Clinic for a week of testing: Heart disease stable; cancer in remission; kidney disease no change; emphysema still moderately severe; congestive heart failure steady. Extensive testing provided no answer for the mysterious neurological episode in July.
In the depths of seasonal affect disorder, I was at the end of my tether. The fatigue persisted, requiring 15-16 hours of sleep a day. Fogged in, my mind could not navigate. My legs and feet were shackled by neuropathy. Panicked thoughts of retirement and assisted living fluttered about.
As I was leaving, they gave me an, “Oh, by the way. We want you to return next week for an overnight sleep study.” I packed my jammies and a supply of dark chocolate and headed back to Rochester. The next morning, I met with the Doctor. Disturbed by the pattern of my sleep APNA, he dramatically re-calibrated my CPAP machine.
One should never underestimate the power of mere chance. Day by day, the fatigue is diminishing, the fog is lifting, and mere numbness is replacing the shackles. I am on the road again: Vitality, quick-witted repartee, and the foolish illusion of invincibility are back.
“A man devoid of hope and conscious of being so has ceased to belong to the future.”
“The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must
imagine Sisyphus happy.”
Albert Camus, “The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays”
During my adult life, it has been a rare week when I didn’t visit at least a couple of used book stores. I suffer from Biblioholism: n. [BIBLIO + HOLISM] book, of books: the habitual longing to purchase, read, store, admire and consume books in excess. I have always been steadfast in resisting treatment for my passion.
Since July, I have been so consumed by illness that I have not even thought of a used bookstore. On Saturday the old urge was upon me. While it was exhausting, I ventured out for a couple of hours. Immersion in that sacred space lifted the fog and fatigue a bit. I bought volumes on Hume and Arendt and came home and read some Chekhov.
I concur with Samuel Beckett: “I can’t go on. I’ll go on.”
If the author is correct, constitutional democracy will protect us from the worst possible abuses. If he is wrong, within four years we will be well on our way to American Fascism . . .
About A Backstage Sociologist
Monte Bute is a backstage sociologist. From his roundabout journey from Red Wing Boy's Reformatory to anti-war activist to sociology professor. Monte's full of great stories, creative insights and powerful critiques—and now he has a blog! Read more…