Saturday, February 19, 2011

Quote It Saturday 2/19

Brrrr...what happened to the balmy 70 degree temperatures yesterday?  We're visiting my mom and her husband in their new home in the Poconos - it's actually located in a ski resort.  Craig is out snowboarding, Gramie and Pop Pop are watching, and my husband Ken is skiing for the first time in 22 years (!!).  I watched for awhile, but it is unbelievably bitter cold out there!  High winds fling bits of ice across your face and cut right through coats and hats and gloves.  I came back to the condo to keep Jamie company.  The poor kid would love to be out in the cold snowboarding with his brother, but he is still badly crashed (since Tuesday evening), so he and I are snuggled under blankets with good books and the gas-flame fireplace.  Ahhh!  Much better.

So, I just thought I'd share a couple of quotes, since it's been so long since I've had any spare time on a Saturday!  I recently wrote a review of a wonderful little memoir, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, written by fellow ME/CFS sufferer Elisabeth Tova Bailey, and I wanted to share a couple of passages that highlight her beautiful prose and insightful observations:

When the body is rendered useless, the mind still runs like a bloodhound along well-worn trails of neurons, tracking the echoing questions: the confused family of whys, whats, and whens and their impossibly distant kin how.  The search is exhaustive; the answers, elusive.  Sometimes my mind went blank and listless; at other times it was flooded with storms of thought, unspeakable sadness, and intolerable loss.


Give the ease with which health infuses life with meaning and purpose, it is shocking how swiftly illness steals away those certainties.  It was all I could do to get through each moment, and each moment felt like an endless hour, yet days still slipped silently past.  Time unused and only endured still vanishes, as if time itself is starving, and each day is swallowed whole, leaving no crumbs, no memory, no trace at all.

Isn't this passage amazing, both in its depth of insight and in the loveliness of its prose, its metaphors perfectly capturing meaning ("the mind still runs like a bloodhound")?  I love the part about how time seems to stand still while also flying by when you are too ill to do anything.  She writes of both her illness and her observations of a small snail left at her bedside by a friend.  Here is another passage that spoke to me:

There is a certain depth of illness that is piercing in its isolation; the only rule of existence is uncertainty, and the only movement is that passage of time.  One cannot bear to live through another loss of function, and sometimes friends and family cannot bear to watch.  An unspoken, unbridgeable divide may widen.  Even if you are still who you were, you cannot actually fully be who you are.  Sometimes, the people you know well withdraw, and then even the person you know as yourself begins to change.


There were times when I wished that my viral invader had claimed me completely.  How much better to live an exuberant life and then leave as one exits a party, simply opening a door and stepping out.  Instead, the virus took me to the edge of life and then left me trapped in its pernicious shadow, with symptoms that, barely tolerable one day, became too severe the next, and with the unjustness of unexpected relapses that, overnight, erased years of gradual improvement.
          - Excerpted from The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

I found this slim little volume both entertaining and meaningful and highly recommend it.

Hope you're enjoying the weekend and staying warm!  Time for a game of backgammon with Jamie.

7 comments:

  1. I read this book too, but have already forgotten these passages...so good at describing how it really is. THanks Sue for bringing this to our attention today. Have a good time with your family...sorry to hear Jamie is struggling so..is it die off from the new meds?
    When I went on a different herb I had major Bart die off and was so surprised after so long on the others. Seems to adjust to some and need to be shaken up to be eliminated maybe...

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  2. Thanks, Renee - you know, it's always so hard to tell what is causing what - I feel like I spend half my life trying to sort out causes and effects! But I do think at least some of this crash is herx. The Lyme doctor wanted Jamie to start new meds (Flagyl), but I waited a bit because he had some other health problems requiring new meds at the same time. So, he stopped Zithromax...and some of his primary bart symptoms came back, like pain in the soles of his feet. Since these were the only symptoms where we'd seen any improvement yet, I called the doctor and asked if he should go back on the Zithro and wait to try Flagyl. He agreed, so Jamie went back on Zithro after 10 days off...and I do think this is a herx. He says the aches are extra bad this week. I've been giving him parsley and burber but not much help yet. I hope this doesn't last much longer.

    Sue

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  3. Wow, those are so powerful and descriptive. It really captures the experience. Thanks for sharing with us.

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  4. Sue,
    This was wonderful. What a beautiful way to describe what life has given to her and to so many of us. I will try and find this book.

    Hope you continue to have a wonderful time and stay warm:)

    Hope too, that you all are feeling better.

    Blessings,

    Elaine

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  5. Thanks for taking the time to reproduce those passages, Sue. She is such a beautiful writer. Her words just come alive off the page. It's a wonderful book.

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  6. I just finished reading this today. However I was badly crashed while reading it so I already don't remember those passages that you quoted. I think I'm going to have to buy my own copy so that I can reread it since this copy has to go back to the library. I absolutely loved the book and couldn't put it down. I found the parts about her snail facinating and I adore her writing style. It is just lovely to read.

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  7. I loved that book, too. Thanks for reminding me of those wonderful passages.

    Glad you're warm inside. Ice flying through the air....brrrrrr.

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