Letter from My 48th Year (Jan 24)
I am currently sitting in the dark. It wasn’t dark when I sat down on the couch so that gives you an idea of how long I’ve been sitting here watching Poirot sort out one thing after the other. Something’s been trying to steal my breath for the last few days, and I’m sitting here trying to not let it. I’m fairly certain it’s just my oversensitive nasal passages freaking out about the weather. They’re not the type to just roll with rollercoaster-like weather forecasts. They’re highly sensitive. Body as metaphor, or body as reflection of the self?
I did go to the doctor today, an appointment with an allergist that’s been on the books for weeks. Yet another new allergist (at the same practice)—my third one in two years. But I’m happy with this new woman: she listened to me. It’s sad how rare it is for doctors to listen. They just want to get through their checklist of things and they don’t have patience as my poet’s brain scrambles to describe my symptoms accurately while at the same time realizing there are things I don’t pay attention to at all.
Thanks to almost dying of pneumonia (it’s 12 years ago now), I spend a lot of time paying attention to my lungs and my nasal passages. I also spend a great deal of energy trying not to panic when I find myself paying too much attention to my lungs and my nasal passages because something feels off. But still, I have no idea really if my eyes get itchy and dry during allergy season because I really don’t think about them that way. I notice if my astigmatism is worse because I’m mindful of if my keratoconus has moved from stable to active, but nope, couldn’t tell you what happens when certain weeds and my eyes go mano to mano. (I learned today I’m not allergic to ragweed by the way, which is odd considering the 54 other types of plants and animals I’m allergic to.)
There’s a metaphor here too, I’m sure. What we pay attention to and what we don’t. Or maybe it’s just a lesson in how we get so used to having certain problems in certain areas that we don’t notice when other things crop up in those areas, or perhaps those areas clear up completely but we’ve become so used to them being problematic, we never realized we’re cured tolerably if not fully.
Or maybe there’s no metaphor at all. There’s just a woman in a body that works well most times and doesn’t work well some times sitting in the dark and telling stories on herself as if she’s got it all figured out. As if there’s a reason for everything. As if she understands that something or the other is always trying to steal our breath, and all we can do is wait it out, persevere, persist.