Sunday, October 23, 2022

Mothering Sunday; Speaking Well!

Oh, the joy of seating myself on the chaise, Diet Coke on the windowsill and Bruno in my hands. That’s how I spent a nice early afternoon. 

I did errands in the morning and then spent my time with Bruno before getting back to duties. I winterized the backyard ahead of the arrival of the rains that is coming on Monday. And then beloved neighbour Merrill arrived with dinner and so I chose a movie to watch on TV and settled in for the night.

I watched Mothering Sunday on Prime, and oh my God, I loved it. It ain’t perfect; in some scenes the writing is annoyingly twee. I thought the writing was the worst part, and then came the last scene in the move. Well, you must watch it to see why that sentence was written.

It’s the cinematography that is the outstanding achievement in this film, as is the music. The music is perfect and beautifully matched to the atmosphere of the film and the imagery. It’s the scenes without dialogue that are particularly strong. The beauty of some scenes is breathtaking. But the writing is too enigmatic. I can take only so much forced/poetic/overly literary dialogue.

But I loved the film because it is one of the most beautiful movies that I’ve seen since Lawrence of Arabia burned my brain. And the music. It’s one long music video for lovers of classical music. Oh, and then there’s Olivia Coleman, Colin Firth, Josh O’Conner and his penis, and Glenda Jackson. This is my kind of movie in every way but one. 

That passing out thing threw me. When I couldn’t move my legs, I thought the worst. It’s a cliché to say, “And images flashed through my mind, but that’s exactly what happened. Like flash cards in swift projection, I saw things like a wheelchair, a bed hoist, someone helping me on the toilet, limp legs moving on a bed, a ramp, being helped into bed. And good things like a paraplegic driving, kayaking, getting into a car, a guy in a wheelchair and wearing a suit in a meeting. The images flew by at a furious rate.

Perhaps it’s those images that ignited my fears. I didn’t know I was afraid until I realized that it was Kevin cradling me. As soon as I realized that it was he who was supporting me, I got a bit weepy. I kept repeating something over and over while I stroked his arm. I was probably repeating thank you. Right now, I feel like he saved my soul.

I thought I’d had a stroke, but both legs didn’t make sense. I could understand that, but I didn’t link the paralysis that night with the one in the hospital last Summer. But now I know that under extreme distress, I can become paralyzed.

I went to a new FND website to see an information sheet on FD that is part of an Inform Your Doctor campaign currently underway. It’s a project of the FND Action organization. I browsed the website and was shocked to see that paralysis was often referred to in the description of symptoms. I was focused on speech and seizures as symptoms when I did all my FND research, and I missed noticing paralysis. I didn’t experience paralysis until last year. Now I know.

But fat lot of good that’s going to do me. I took one look at the information sheet and know that no doctor is going to read that. You can’t tell a doctor he doesn’t know something. You can’t make a doctor think he has anything to learn from you. Instead, he condescends, patronizes. I have to be strong to be weak. 

This clinic work is changing me. I feel like I have a job, and it makes me feel different somehow. How can I possibly describe a feeling? I think and I think. As a retired person, I was a pastured animal. I retired 17 years ago. Now I’m back in the herd.

The clinic is filling up my head. When I’m not writing or doing graphics, I’m going to meetings, Zooming, placing ads, emailing and so on, I’m thinking about our operations. There are many dedicated volunteers who own the clinic—the physical plant. We have two kinds of tenants: the dental office and Life Lab are independent businesses who rent from us, and we have the doctors, whose offices and consultation rooms, and triage room constitute one entire floor of the building. But the doctors are a different kind of tenant.

We support the doctors. It’s part of our mandate to maintain primary care on our island. That’s why Nancy and I are so fully engaged in an advertising campaign to secure more doctors. Our campaign is the highest priority of the Foundation. For Dyan, incoming president, I work as her communications officer. For Chuck, the president, I am negotiating with an island resident who wants to leave us her house in her will. The donor, her lawyer, and the Foundation lawyer must all agree on the language of the donation.

It feels like a job. In the herd. 

I am nearly fluent. Zoom is a little harder. I’m amazed and delighted.

For the past few days, I’ve been working with Sarah. She runs the local newspaper. I put a couple of ads in the local paper, for next week; Sarah and I have been emailing back and forth choosing sized and prices. Today, we finalized our deal. Sarah wrote to me: You’re working on getting us doctors, so we’re giving you 15% off. It makes me cry to write that. I live in Mayberry.

Sarah shifted my thinking. Her gesture made me realize that what we are doing is important to the island. It made me realize that Nancy, Dyan and I are the engine of the Foundation, and our campaign is important to our community. It’s scaring me a little, to realize the position we engineers are in. I responded to the Foundation’s ad for volunteers to challenge myself to get involved in something public, in spite of my poor speech. I was coming out as a stutterer when I signed up to be a volunteer at the Foundation. 

Today is my day. We’ll go on the big community walk and just chill the day away today. 

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