28 February 2016

My week’s ordeal

Dear diary,

I was telling my boss how much I love the films of David Lynch, and my boss reacted by saying “Oh, that guy’s weird.” But I said: It’s the world that’s weird—Lynch is simply realistic. Knowing that my boss prefers “reality TV,” I explained that that genre is misnamed: it is as fake, as planned, as edited, as unreal as any other artwork; rarely does one’s own experience of the world bring those shows to mind. By using a prosaic and pseudo-documentary style, reality television ends up representing only the cheap conflicts of falsehood; whereas Lynch’s ecstatic, poetic style of filmmaking reveals the deeper truths of our existence: it exposes the reality underneath reality: the sur-reality. (This of course did not convince my boss.)

In daily life, a perceptive soul will often find cause to remark: “I feel like I’m in a scene from a David Lynch film.” If Lynch’s work is filed under the category of “horror,” it is only because life itself is a horror movie. The Twin Peaks picture subtitled Fire Walk With Me (1992) displeased a number of U.S. critics because of its unevenness—yet again, this makes me want to quote a proverb from William Blake: “Improvement makes strait roads, but the crooked roads without Improvement, are roads of Genius.” I care about the aspects of the film that work; not that low points exist, but that its high points are so extremely sublime.

I didn’t mean to write an appreciation of David Lynch here—I only wanted to relay one big event that happened to me last week; but it seems that I’ve now managed to heap, at the beginning of this entry, two thick paragraphs that block the way to the more personal stuff. So I thank you for your patience, gentle reader.

The only reason I mentioned Fire Walk With Me is to cite a scene that occurs about an hour into that movie: Laura Palmer is alone in bed; she looks to her side and notices Annie Blackburn, whose face is streaked with blood; Annie speaks to her calmly. This exact scene happened to me last Monday evening:

After about two hours of blissful slumber, I was shaken awake by the hand of my sweetheart: I opened my eyes and saw that her face was blood-spattered, just like Laura’s bedmate; and my sweetheart said to me, in a measured voice: “I think we need to go to the hospital, because I fainted in the bathroom and hit my head on the sink. I also bit my lip.”

So I drove her to the building labeled “Urgent Care,” and the doctor sutured my sweetheart’s brow with eight stitches. She also put six in her lip: three inside, three outside.

We were in the emergency room from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m.—by the time we left, the sun had already risen. (“Dazzling and tremendous how quick the sun-rise would kill me, if I could not now and always send sun-rise out of me,” says Walt Whitman in ‘Song of Myself’.) During our stay, my sweetheart underwent many tests: they took blood from her veins, and they shot X-rays at her head and into her ribcage. One of the machines alerted us that her blood pressure was low; and she was apparently dehydrated.

I admire all of the hospital’s employees: the doctors and the nurses. They are at once very friendly and efficient. They made me feel guilty about being such a lazy individual—all I do is shuffle words around instead of mending injured humans. …But I don’t want this entry to descend into self-loathing and pity, so I’ll move on to other news…

In other news, my mom called me last night and asked me if I could help my brother move the old freezer out of her basement. The item is leaking: thus it is to be cast out. We’ll do that on Tuesday. The cost of recycling is ten U.S. dollars, but my mom claims that if the device is proven to be in working order, her local utility company promises to give her a credit of seventy-five dollars. So this should solve some of the world’s economic inequality.

Let me say one more thing about my wounded sweetheart. Every day now, she must carefully cleanse her brow in soapy water, then cover the stitches with Neosporin (an antibacterial ointment), and tape a fresh square of gauze upon her forehead. Also, after each meal, she must rinse her lip with a mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide. One is advised against swallowing hydrogen peroxide.


Anonymous said...

Ouch! Gute Besserung to your sweetheart!
And you, keep on shuffling those words around - it's when they fall into place that the nurses and doctors pass on all that useful stuff to their successors, probably.

Bryan Ray said...

Ah thanks for your concern and encouragement!!—sweetheart is already much better: she got her stitches removed one day ago, and she's back to teaching music lessons… so we're relieved… & I really appreciate your perspective on the medical staff—it bolsters me! My tendency is to idolize docs and nurses, but then I remember those words of Whitman (from §5 of Song of Myself), about the body and the soul, which remind me of the arts of medicine versus poetry:

I believe in you my soul, the other I am must not abase itself to you,
And you must not be abased to the other.

…Also, what the poet says in §41 about the various gods, I try to apply (not out of disdain, but to remind myself that we writers have our place in the world as well) to the good people at the E.R.

Taking them all for what they are worth and not a cent more,
Admitting they were alive and did the work of their days…

…One last thing I recall (sorry to go on and on about Whitman's poem, but I happened to be reading it again this morning!) is that Walt himself worked as a nurse throughout the the horrid conditions of the U.S. civil war; and the last section quoted above begins with with a passage that brings both that fact AND my own recent personal misgivings to mind:

I am he bringing help for the sick as they pant on their backs,
And for strong upright men I bring yet more needed help.


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