Monday, June 28, 2010

Fire in the Soul

In the week since postponement of the surgery, I think a lot about the complications of being so stuck in body and its affect on the mind. Having worked so hard to prepare, the let down has left me devastated and in a completely different kind of recovery.

Eight months since the scaffold collapsed, this surgery has been looming. All winter, I was physically exhausted with so little effort I had to learn to take naps and live in the moment. Once more growing healthy in the Spring, the bag and tube became the impediments, and with more energy, the surgery finally scheduled looked like the turning point to move me forward again. On the early hot days, I imagined I might even be swimming by summer’s end and could begin the process of finding a serious job.

Now that has all been dashed and I feel as stuck as ever. My case is on appeal and could be decided within days, a month, or I have to wait until next April when Blue Cross will have to pay for it any way. Currently, I am chasing down doctors for testimonials and scrounging for opportunities to play music since our schedule had been cleared, but I have no idea if I should be looking for work at the same time, or actively preparing myself all over again for that wall of unconsciousness.

Summer finally here, my energy feels as good as pre-accidental, except that I am out of shape. I cannot risk the infection of a swim; a bike seat terrifies me. Tennis is out of the question. My love of the game and lack of schedule allows me to watch every World Cup minute, even as my muscle memory tortures me with the temptation to kick around a soccer ball; more orgasm without ejaculation.

I try to turn this enforced period of inactivity into a time of meditation and soulful retreat. Words flow onto paper and into my journal. I meditate as soon as my mind grows frustrated. I slip into the unconsciousness of sleep whenever my eyes grow heavy, and leap into action or a movie awaking suddenly in the middle of the night.

The world goes on around me and I feel uncomfortable when a friend calls to see how I am doing, but really asks what I am doing. Vague and thin are the answers, large are the questions that plague my mind, constantly comparing shoulds with actualities.

In regular receipt of encouragement to relax and profit emotionally from this time, I constantly pray the answers are coming no matter how invisible. A steady stream of emails and weblinks support the belief that universally this is a powerful time in which momentous changes percolate. Planets are aligned, the Solstice is particularly strong, and the full moon includes a lunar eclipse of special purport. Opportunity for transformation abounds.

So I meditate, contemplate and percolate. Another week goes by. The amount of time I have spent on this couch looms darkly like the months and years after a fire or death where all events are categorized as “pre” or “post” and qualified by the distortion of the one true Event. Time stands still and races by simultaneously. I wake up occasionally to realize how much seems wasted.

Out of the fog, however, comes clarity that I must “suck it up” and move on. A line from one of my own songs rings particularly true: “…take your time, make up your mind…take charge of your life and walk through the door”, but I have been sitting on this couch so long, the one or two doors have blurred into a thousand and I feel overwhelmed.

Finally it occurs to me that if I truly believe in the mind/body connection, no matter which door I choose, it might be better than forever sitting still, waiting for others to make bureaucratic decisions that might decide my fate. The time has come to stand up and charge.

Instead of seeing the blockage in my body as preventing me from a life of health, action and abundance, I consider that attitude (“I can’t work until I get fixed”) must change to action (“I will work and deal with the surgery whenever it comes”). The dam(n) that holds me back is in my own head, not my groin. What if by making decisions and moving forward, the flow of the heart begins to open all doors?

In this second week since suspension of the surgery, I have decided to step into the world and explore life’s passions as if I had no limp, no tube, no spasms, no inability to ejaculate. Perhaps the gratitude that I am alive at all and the willingness to still risk orgasm will be powerful enough to burst all blockages and boundaries, even the physical, bureaucratic and emotional ones, with or without the surgery I so desperately think I need.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Taking up the Sword

The state of limbo that suspends me between hospital and health challenges my soul. On spiritual, emotional and physical levels, it seems an effort to find any sign of forward movement.

Since the indefinite postponement of surgery, it made sense to replace the tube in my belly—as must happen monthly—and this has brought several days of increased spasms and forced hours of rest on the couch, disorienting even though I had planned and wanted to be lying there anyway. The new tube also keeps disconnecting and mysteriously leaks, causing loads of laundry. The constant irritants which I have tolerated for eight months have increased to an unacceptable level, grinding my mood like a tooth ache.

That I came to within a day of the surgery and fulfillment of finally putting the worst of this behind me is an outrageous insult to my belief that positive thinking can create results. So shocked by an expectation, so cruelly disappointed, these following days have been passed in a daze of inertia and depression, tears, disbelief and despair.

Spiritually, I am being told my higher self is returning to my body and the perfect process of over-coming resistance is taking place. The final skins of my old habits must be peeled away before I can embrace my true self. This is hard to believe when I feel so miserably defeated.

In no way am I alone in this and, in fact, many people suffer so much more than I. My willingness to lay this out so publicly in a blog is not a function of selfish egotism, but more an example of Chiron, the wounded healer, speaking truth without embarrassment so that others may take heart and join the choir. Constantly we have the message before us that we are not alone, but wrapped in our stubborn fears, it is difficult to feel the powerful support of love that surrounds and embraces us.

Patience wearing so thin, I admit that depression has taken a strong hold on me, creating darkness where I so recently felt immersed in golden light. Love that had been dancing over me feels withdrawn, miss-perceived and I am disheartened and desperate. Nothing has actually changed, everything is simply postponed, but my sense that events have conspired to thwart my recovery buries me like an avalanche in frustration.

I sit outside of life, full of self-pity and disillusion, watching others fall in love, take vacations, graduate and celebrate. Others thrive while I wallow, dependent on the outcome of an appeal determined by a bureaucratic process seemingly incapable of compassion, responsibility and the willingness to take a risk.

This week, I read again “the Way of the Superior Man” by David Deida, re-enforcing my belief that a man must stand his ground against all challenges and adversity. The truth of his purpose must take priority over family, work and societal expectations. Integrity of action determines the outcome…which might explain my life of mediocrity, disappointment and outright failure to thrive in the way that so many had predicted I should.

Only in these last years, having given up the struggle to live the normal family configuration, abandoning the well-defined and respectable, but failed business, and embracing the passion of music and writing these words, does my life begin to make sense. It still does even as I succumb to depression and fear that I am unable to heal, perhaps am even sub-consciously unwilling.

Deida says sexuality is the masculine life force, the passion that invigorates the blood. The connection of two souls in a blissful union arouses a spiritual ecstasy, elevating us far beyond the mundane order of ordinary life.

Intimidated by the possibility of that intimacy, I have effectively neutered myself, side-stepped the fulfillment of a life of passion. Possibly I am a warrior choosing to sit out the battle, fearful of victory.

I approached this surgery knowing it was a choice to be healed, that while unconscious, I would be guiding the surgeon’s hand. It is in my own power to regain my function or live without passion, even to live at all. In this context, delay of the surgery appears to be propitious. Apparently I was not fully recovered enough emotionally to risk a scalpel to my groin.

Only when confronted with the loss of sexuality am I able to penetrate the fear and realize how deeply I want a true and full connection, unable and unwilling to settle for a shadow of love—no matter how wonderful—without the physical consummation. To fully let go and merge into the Oneness of life, I must embrace the desire--not shy away from it--and be able to leap into action.

Unbridled passion—no matter how frightening—is everything.

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Friday, June 11, 2010

Dots & Blue Crosses

I have a problem with follow-through on details. It has plagued me constantly and just now has literally delivered a seriously painful blow to my groin.

By the terms of my divorce, my health insurance ended on September 30th last year and for the first time in my life, I was not covered. The application to continue was sitting on my desk partially filled out. Further incentive to cross the “T” had just been delivered a week earlier when (for just the second time in my life) I visited the ER for stitches from a soccer collision.

Still, there was music to play, essays to write, friends to see, stuff to do. Mostly, there was a roofing job that was getting me back in the construction business for much needed cash. I was working alone when a momentary lapse of concentration hurtled me 12 feet to the pavement below, straddling a ladder jack when I hit.

Without insurance, I took myself home and stoically tried to get through it on my own, thinking I had gotten off easy with the worst injury being a strained wrist. By dawn, my black swollen testicles were impossible to ignore and I gave myself up to the system. I remember the doctor sadly shaking his head to hear that I had waited on account of the little detail of insurance coverage.

He inserted two catheters and did the best he could to help my ruptured urethra, but removing one catheter two months later, the scar tissue completely closed off the channel, rendering the plumbing non-functional. A delicate operation is now required to open me again, a procedure that very few doctors have experience with, so I was referred to the Lahey Clinic outside of Boston and surgery was supposed to finally take place today.

While in the hospital in October, my application for new insurance was submitted and I returned home to recuperate. Confined to the couch, living alone and exerting enormous energy just to cross the room, I let the mail pile up, unaware that more information was needed for my application and too absent-minded from medication, pain and exhaustion to deal with it in any case.

By the time I was able to focus, I had to reapply, negotiate several bureaucracies, and constantly replenish a very limited supply of energy. Approval finally came in mid-February and coverage was re-instated on April 1st, well beyond the 63 days allowed by COBRA. The delay now qualifies my injury as “pre-existing” and requires a twelve month waiting period before any repair will be covered.

In the meantime, I have learned to live with a tube in my belly connected to a bag attached at my ankle. I have a constant infection, but to minimize resistance, can only have antibiotics when the fever spikes to a dangerous level. Even as I return to more normal activities after eight months, my energy is quickly depleted, and regularly showing more blood in my bag, I have to frequently return to my couch to rest.

Spasms constantly rip my groin, blinding me to the particular moment with a grimace that leaves me aching and breathless after it subsides. Medication reduces the frequency but not the intensity of these spasms, while also impacting my synapses, making me stretch for words in conversation and struggle to write these essays. Unable to really perform, I was relieved of my part-time job.

The location and sensitivity of the injury creates a challenge to adequately describe the emotional stress, but plays a huge factor in my state of mind. Each doctor has emphasized the importance of “exercising” the member to prevent atrophy to the cells, nerves and muscles in the penis. Without a girlfriend or “angel of mercy”, this requires an absurd reliance on Cialis and porn which is not at all a way I would like to be spending my time. With a tube and constant discomfort, the energy needed to muster the self-confidence to meet new people is just too much to bear, so I operate within the status quo and spend a lot of time alone, contemplating the significance of this injury to my second Chakra.

Currently, my case is under appeal to Blue Cross to be compassionate and allow the surgery to go forth. Unable to bear the burden of a $50,000 debt, I will otherwise have to wait the ten months when they will have to fund it anyway. Ironically, given the increase of scar tissue over that period, it will likely cost us all considerably more money, perhaps multiple surgeries and emotional damage, if it can still be repaired at all. Legislation is now passed, but not yet in effect, making this delay illegal, but for now it is their choice and no one seems willing to take the moral stand to relieve my suffering.

So many have it worse than me. My health can and eventually should be restored. It is a lesson to me to focus on the details, no matter the circumstances. I recognize and am ashamed of my share in the responsibility for the lapse in coverage, but at this point am willing to speak out for a better system.

In these last months, on faith, I collapsed into the physical and emotional part of the healing of this and left the financial details in the hands of the clinic who promised to sort them out. Having come so close to my vision of becoming unstuck, envisioning myself tubeless and recovering in the near future, having actually begun the fast required for the ten hours of anesthesia I should be tolerating right now instead of writing this, the letdown is devastating.

Once more the symbolism is as real and clear as the physical truth that I can make the effort to orgasm, but it is impossible right now to have the relief of ejaculation.

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