Even I forget the yearning to walk. The ability to walk that we have. Oh my God, let me not forget how precious, like the breath, it is to be free to walk. Right? To walk, Choice of movement is freedom. At this time of year, when there is so very much to be grateful for, I am pondering not only the gift of movement but what it means deeply about freedom. It’s deeply in our DNA as humans. Right? Our freedom as humanbeings is part of moral consciousness I think. The ability to walk, and to walk where we want, is such a simple but profound manifestation of that freedom. In very simple ways, think of your ability to do what you are especially doing this time of year, going many places. The errands, the walkin in and out of stores, the driving, the meeting friends and walking into restaurants, dropping off goodies to friends, carrying goodies, walking into friends’ houses, getting dressed in the morning, walking to your closet to choose what you will wear, walking to the bathroom, brushing teeth, walking into your kitchen and the making of breakfast, the mere movement out of bed, we have so many choices of how we walk and how we exercise our freedom with our arms and hands and legs. Arch can’t do any of those things himself. Oh the glory of what it would be like for him to walk. Or use his hands! And I know he will someday. I just know it. Yes, breathe in the gratitude for your hands. For your fingers. For your arms. For your feet. For your legs. For your spinal cord that supports your frame. For sitting upright, on your own, unassisted, not falling over, not strapped in. And please take a step or two for Archer today. And for yourself, and for others you love, and for those you do not know who also may not be able to move today as we can. Breathe in that freedom as you step. We can create more energy for the healing field this way I think. And Archer will need it as we continue in this second year, and with our complicated but exciting news to share with you.
So, can you all take a deep breath for Archer—doesn’t the breath fill you with ease and feel so good– and take in another for me, feeling the inhale, and breathing out the nevers, can’ts, won’ts—and taking in another for yourself feeling your belly fill in a way that is expansive and allowing it to relax in a way that restores well-being… that we all might breathe freely and easily and without stress. And that we might see clearly. Let us renew that for each other. And let us consider the importance of our eyes. That we might see. That you and I can see what we need to see, allowing in all that is really there, the good, the bad and even the ugly. Can you think of something in your life right now that you’d rather not see? Gosh, I can think of many things. So, now I am working on seeing them all. And I am willing to receive them. I will still advocate around obstacles and I will always hope. But it’s a fuller way of seeing to receive it all.
These incremental steps of progress really do not happen without your love and support. You know that. We know that. It’s part of the Creative Miracle. Archer will get upright someday, on his own. Hey, Archer is already walking in a sense. These milestones are steps of a kind. And our days are so packed that it’s important for us to see them as steps too. My gosh, our days are so packed. Like I said to a school therapist whom we were trying to schedule, Archer is progressing and on the move because he is using every opportunity he can in these first 24 months from injury to stimulate and help the body recover all that it can. We are told that this first year especially is so critical, followed by the next to try to work with the body. With C2 injuries, we are not messing around on doing all we can since he was not able to fully participate at all in such strengthening the first six months of the year because of the ventilator. The message we have received from other quads it is to not stop and do all we can in this time, and we are trying.
While Archer’s medical team and we together muddle through this more acute chapter, none of us having any answers for the continuing wild fluctuations in BP, we are all learning the patterns as Billy and I have a recording system in place as if we were lab students conducting a most important science experiment. We now think there are patterns and they are related to movement of Archer’s body. Or movement of those parts of the body that have something else going on on the inside if you ask me. But he’s very emotionally sensitive to any movement now, protecting against the unknown causes of the surges. Of course, the movement we do to Archer’s body since he cannot move it himself is the movement required for life, for health. This adds a whole ‘nother tricky aspect to this situation as he has not wanted anyone to touch him at all. At all, except for the counter-pressure on his head.
We also have a protocol for his blood pressure when it gets to systolic at 140: we apply the nitroglycerin paste on his chest on a piece of tape that we can later peel off as that stuff is powerful. We wait to see what his system does, taking BP readings every few minutes and then every 10-15 minutes. Once it starts to come down and gets to 110, we wipe off the paste. Archer’s regular pressure is 90’s to 100 on the systolic. If on the other hand, the BP does not decrease and rises to 160, then we give Archer a clomidine, put him in the Hoyer lift and begin a bowel program as something is not open in his system. Since clomidine lasts 6 hours or so, it’s a measure we hope to avoid. If it stays in the 160’s or goes higher, we give him another and continue to work on helping him get comfortable as the headaches are fierce. The blurry vision though comes when he goes real low and that scares me as that was a pre curser to his seizure. For a solid two weeks after the ER visit, we battled BP readings rising into the 200’s and then plummeting. It was honestly very frightening but being scared does none of us any good. We have gotten pretty good at remaining steady and making sure Archer is upright, has nothing on and we start more aggressive bowel clean out measures. It might be unsavory to speak of but it is actually something very important and something you might take from granted, like your breath.
And, with all the reading that we do, we have lost the practice of focusing on details, like looking closely at each letter of a word; instead we scan quickly over pages and pages of text or quickly over images on instagram and website use, all of which overuses the macula not allowing for the eye to have enough variety of exercise and not allowing the eye, ironically, to focus on details, like looking at every petal of a flower, or every hair on your lovers scalp. In fact, the faster we read, the more we need to take frequent eye breaks and gaze out at the horizon, wave your hands in your periphery to wake up the underused parts of the eye to balance the entire eye system. And, love the sun. Your eyes and mine need the sun. Not looking directly into it but being out in it, with a hat, not sunglasses. With few exceptions such as the glare of waves if you were on a boat regularly or the glare of the sun on the snow if you were a skier regularly, but that’s about it. Now, I am fully aware that this may be jarring to you, as it was to me 6 or 7 months ago, and I am fully aware that many—but not all– in the medical profession would say these data points are wrong because they are not researched or they are researched that the sun causes damage. But really, wearing sunglasses is like a dog chasing its tail if you ask me. If the retina needs sun to send the messages to the brain to release melanin, then of course we are getting more skin damage as a result of wearing our sunglasses! I know, shoot me. But think about it. I hope I haven’t lost your faith and my credibility (smile) but it really is interesting and I am really wanting to do my part on good eye health. You never know, my intermediate stage MD may just reverse itself over time.
It’s a lot to learn and think about. I have wondered if there were any other way I could have gotten my updates to you other than dictating them, as that would have awakened Archer. The only time I had was the night when Archer had a chance to sleep if I remained awake to silence his monitors and then go get the nurses, a negotiated deal I made with most floors of nurses once we were there for awhile. It’s ironic because I was so intent on making sure he and his body got some rest as I knew how important rest was to healing. It never occurred to me that I needed rest too. I was linking rest to injury and healing. But we all need rest for basic well-being. I am working on that as part of my new healthy eyes lifestyle. In looking back, I actually wouldn’t have done it any differently because I don’t think there were options. Archer was close to death a few times, we were battling a harsh environment and naysayers. The time I rested I was in deep prayer and my communication with you was in real time. And it made me feel your closeness and feel God’s closeness. And I knew you were there with us. That is what mattered the most. It really is. My eyes were a casualty, I will attend to them now that I can.
Dialectic is the conscience of discourse and has the same function as morality elsewhere, namely, to endow the soul with integrity and to perfect it into a monument to its own radical impulse. But as virtue is a wider thing than morality, because it includes natural gifts and genial sympathies, or even heroic sacrifices, so wisdom is a wider thing than logic. To coherence in thought it adds docility to facts, and humility even of intellect, so that the integrity of its system becomes a human virtue, like the perfect use of a single language, without being an insult to the nature of things or a learned madness.
I am also in doubt about "social humanism" being implicit in my physics. Materialism may, psychologically, be allied in the materialist's mind with one or another view in ethics and politics. That will depend, if materialism is true, on the man's heritage and circumstances. In that sense I entirely accept historical materialism, which is only an application of materialism to history. But the phrase carries now an association with Hegelian or Marxian dialectic, which if meant to be more than the doctrine of universal flux, is a denial of materialism. My personal sympathies are personal, and of no ultimate importance: what is implied in my natural philosophy is that all moralities and inspirations are natural, biological, animal preferences or obsessions, changing and passing with the organisms and habits that gave them birth. That is not the Catholic doctrine, which you say I represent; but it is quite compatible with liking Catholic ways, considered as a form of human society and human imagination. Yet even there, I prefer the Greeks.
Nonetheless, I like to think of these spasms as a positive sign. I mean, the idea that his body can spasm in a new way signifies to me that his organs are trying to work. They want to work the way they were intended to work, rather than the way they are being forced to work related to his paralysis. But the reality is, in Archer’s new world where some aspects of daily functioning have been reworked, and some that will need to be to stay on the path of being able to go back to school and the path of ongoing OT and PT, it means Archer will have another surgery, in patient, August 18 for a Botox injection to his bladder. Yep. That’s right. Botox. And if it works this time in calming the bladder, he will undergo this surgery every six (6) months. It will be in-patient because the injection itself is likely to throw his body into severe AD, and the general anesthesia will allow the docs tighter management of the condition. Bummer on the inpatient surgery part, but it’s part of the new normal life. We are learning that there are and will continue to be new things that come up for years in the life of a quad which are new and need medical attention and intervention, because the body is still trying to function, or if it stops trying because there is no more stimulus, then there are a host of other costly and jeopardizing issues we do not want to have happen. Quads, like snowflakes, they say are unique and fragile. And, as we know with Archer, also strong, resilient and lionhearted.