Saturday, December 31, 2011

"No Unnecessary Walking"

The doctor said "no unnecessary walking".

I am not a good patient.  When a doctor tells me to rest and drink lots of fluids, I go to work instead (but I do increase my coffee intake -- hey, coffee is a fluid!).  Actually, I don't even go to the doctor for most illnesses.  I follow the example set by my mother and wait until it's bronchitis or plague.  I'm a Thompson -- we're tough!  (And stubborn, and accident-prone . . . ).  When I sprain my ankle, I often don't bother to ice it (but I do wrap and elevate . . . and then walk on it).  I never finish antibiotics -- I stop when the symptoms stop or when I just plain forget to take them.  Yes, thanks to that habit, I will probably be one of those people who die of antibiotic-resistant ear infection someday.  When I had my wisdom teeth removed, I pulled out my own stitches -- and the pain was a lot more bearable after I did so.  I don't read all the warnings on medication.  I don't measure out my cough syrup -- I just take a big gulp from the bottle when I feel like I need it.  I never stay on crutches as long as I'm supposed to.

Yes, I am a very, very bad patient.  A patient with no patience for being a patient, in fact.  Which, coupled with chronic badluckitus, is not a good combination.  Not at all.  I am very often a patient, and I seldom listen to all the directions.

I really am trying to be a good patient right now.  I'm trying not to walk . . . but not walking is BORING!  I watched a Chinese soap opera with Korean subtitles today (I understood about 10% of what was said and absolutely none of the subtitles).  I studied my Chinese characters.  I played Sparkle on my iPad.  I threw a rope for my friend's dog.  I did laundry.  I planned writing assignments for my sophomores and my freshmen (mwa ha ha).  I practiced my epitome-of-evil-supervillain-history-teacher laugh.  I tried not to think about how much I really wanted a long walk . . . even in freezing-beyond-belief, so-cold-that-your-eyeballs-turn-to-iceballs Seoul.  Occasionally, I cast hate-filled glances at my ankle and talked aloud of amputation (the ankle heard me.  I don't care if it doesn't have ears).

Four more days until I return to the hospital for more tests.  Four more days of being a good patient. . . . You know, I wouldn't mind taking a cross-country trip to Jinju again . . . maybe walk around that castle for a few hours?

Okay, fine.  I'll go find another Chinese soap opera with Korean subtitles.

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"