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jon hospital bed

April 27 2017

A year ago I lay flat on my back, in a drugged stupor, recovering in a hospital in Matera, down in the south of Italy.  The day before a surgeon had removed a disk from my lower back, the resolution of some decades of chronic pain.  For many years I’d had to stand to work, and sitting was often toxic, especially at a computer or similar setting.  This pain had reached a crescendo in the previous year, prompting a visit to a doctor, MRI, x-rays, and a quick trip to the operating room. That was a year ago.  Now I  sit without problems.

And move.  And move we did: in autumn to Sicily, a small town on the sea, Caucana, where a friend offered an empty summertime place for us to sort of squat.  Utilities. I took long walks on the nearby beach, a ton of photos of it and surrounding areas. Kept up a regimen of exercises, though backing off a bit from my year earlier one of 100 pushups, 60 squats, yoga etc.  And then we moved to Ragusa, about 20 miles inland, where a small (but quite nice) apartment and winter contrived to persuade me I am indeed an older man, and I let go of the exercises altogether, except for long walks in this very up and down town.   Spring is still attempting to arrive, and once it does I suspect I will resume exercises, if not in the gung-ho manner of the past.  My body tells me it is plain and simple old, and things once readily done, are no longer possible, or just plain old hurt.  The usual places: hips, knees, shoulders, neck.  Muscles cramp up in my hands periodically (have done so some years) and of late leg cramps greet me in the morning as I get up. All the processes of the body breaking down, falling apart.

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Skin sags, bellies expand, muscles shrink, eyes fog.  The walking gait leans towards a stoop, and steps are slower, shorter.  Occasionally the hand shakes.  The hormones that once animated spring with illusions of love lie dormant.

Yesterday Jonathan Demme died; pancreatic cancer said one notice, another said throat cancer. 73.  A few weeks ago got notice that a friend in Butte, Dan Cornell, died in his sleep, no illness attached.  70.  Last year a few other friends bit the dust: Peter Hutton, 70.  A long ago lover for a while, Patricia Kelley, died February a year ago. Not sure of age, but under mine.  And of course myriad “famous” people likewise gave up the ghost in the past year, to the customary weeping of the fans. Prince.  Bowie. Haggard. Zsa Zsa. George. Cohen. Muhammad Ali. And a host of others, often said in their obits, to be “larger than life.”  Meaning they were famous and you heard of them.  When one of these dies, Facebook fills with “sorry” and RIP, and depending on the fame of the dead soul, endless weepy sentiments gush forth, which I suspect are forgotten tomorrow as life sweeps on, and the scythe guy does his work.

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On average these days, about 150,000 people die each day (double that are born – see a problem?).

Naturally, as time slips by, and one ages and the mirror or your mind no longer lie, the reality of things becomes ever so clear:  your number is coming up, as is that of your remaining living peers – friends and family, and the famous names of your generation.  Tomorrow’s assumption evaporates, and no, not necessarily will you “see you next year.”

I have, since I was quite young, been very attuned to death – the idea, the presence, the reality.  Not, in my view, in a morbid way, but rather a realistic one. We live.  We die.  We are animals like the road-kill on the highway, like the vast orchestrated slaughter by which we eat.  Live. Die.  It is axiomatic. For me it has always been a puzzle why people say they are sad when someone has died – those Facebook sentiments like Hallmark Cards.  To my mind it is as if one said, “I’m sorry so and so lived.”   To be sad about a death, is to be sad about a life.  That’s the deal.  To not cope, honestly and realistically, with death is the same as not coping honestly and realistically with life.  They are the same thing.

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Occasionally, spurting from me in some involuntary way, words arrive and I put them on paper or these days in digital 1’s and 0’s.  Perhaps these are poems.  Since I was a teenager these came to me – usually in waves which overtook me, and then subsided.  Many of these seem to center on death.    A sampling from a long sequence being prepared as a book.

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It doesn’t glitter anymore and gravity is mean
heartless pulls the pretty girls apart
and heartless lays them down
down there for physic frolics
fondling and fucking as ought to be when young
when the snap of muscles lifts to push and pull
the basic alpha-beta of oscillating sways
that confuses them with simpered love
and later lays them down in sullenness
the creases deeper, untended meats gone sagged
ragged now from head to toe
spirits dispirited to wonder where it went
or even if it ever was
miasmic snipping at most central cortex’s
as we and she forget who she was and is
a beauty dimmed to nearly nothing
not even there a glimmered eye
floating on her now-mustached face
as gravity lays her one last place

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I had a lot of baggage
A life time’s worth
Just like anyone else who’d spiraled the sun 70 times and more
Dragging all the debris of living’s mess
You’d been bad and good, or maybe just waffling along
Hedging all your bets, playing it safe.

And here towards the final verses
You found you’d blown it
All the savings, the careful steps
The well-considered investments all erased
Just like you’d be.

Looking in the mirror the flesh sagged like all your peers
Gravity was working on the same stuff
And likewise your spirit limped
No longer limpid when you thought you knew it all
And now know you know almost nothing.

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 what’s left is ever less

the yawning eons of childhood now shriveled as one’s skin

the seeming infinite closes in

time diminishes to imagined years,

seasons, days, hours, and less

until so little one is no more.

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It is the end of the year according to old Papa Gregory, whose astrologists jiggled the anomalies of the existing calendar and came up with a special one just for him, with which we’ve been shackled the last 400+ years.  So another New Year is here, and in turn the promptings to summarize the one past.  Here’s anecdotal evidence of mine, mixed in with other items of personal note.

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The above were mostly done while recuperating from this, a disk extracted in April, requiring some horizontal time and afterwards some physical therapy, done in Matera, and then Ginosa, in the south of Italy.  Thanks to their medical system this did not bankrupt me, indeed hardly costing a thing.  Grazie, Italia.

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And then endless photography, of which here’s a very tiny sample:

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And being of that age, some friends slipped off the planet, at a distance, and discreetly, so saying, “So long, it’s been good to know you” wasn’t an offer circumstances gave.  Wish I could have.

pat-kelleyPatricia Kelley111photoPeter Hutton

On a happier frequency this year saw some nice things for people I know.  Friend Edoardo Albinati won the Premio Strega here in Italy, the highest literary award Italy has to offer, so in the company of Cesare Pavese, Primo Levi, Umberto Eco, Elsa Morante, Alberto Moravia, et al.  Not bad company.   The book has a mere 1,250 pages, of which with my limited Italian I have so far read 250, which is more pages of a novel than I have read in the last 20 or 30 years.  I will finish it in the coming months, as my Italian is taking great leaps forward for taking the effort.  And as the book is quite interesting, it isn’t hard work, but a pleasure.

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586Edoardo Albinati

The other oblique pleasure is that Nathanial Dorsky in the last year and more has been trotting around the globe for screenings of his work.  In Spain, Portugal, France, the USA and elsewhere.  As Nick’s films are remote from the commercial world, and he has never done the film-biz hustle and promotional stuff, it has been a joy to see the world, as it were, come to his door.  His work is as deep as his modesty.

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nathaniel-in-museum Nathaniel Dorsky

Finally closed in on finishing one film, Muri Romani II, an HD new version of the 2000 film of same title, minus the “II”.  And shot and am working on another film, Manahatta, hoping perhaps to wrap it up in the coming year.  Also editing Piccoli Miracoli, shot way back in 1996-2001, of my daughter Clara when I was raising her; hoping to finish by May.  And Marcella is editing Again and Again, a long documentary shot 5 years ago, which should end up as two films, one 80 minutes or so long, the other perhaps 3 or more hours. It’s about Korean choreographer Eun mee Ahn, as she develops a new work.  Aiming for a March finish for the shorter version, longer one by summer.

muri-panelMuri Romani II

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Along with these things, did a lot of writing, mostly for my blogs, listed at the end of this, which also have many photos, and other things, if interested.

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Moved to Italy in late February, we were in Matera and Ginosa until October, and then moved to Caucana, Sicily – near Ragusa – living a 3 minute stroll from a nice beach.  I went walking on it most days, where it offered up quiet little philosophic pages for me to contemplate.

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For the coming year we’ll move back to Ragusa, a small but very nice apartment in the center of the city. We think to stay 6 months – Marcella to work on Bojagi and other sewing projects, and finishing the editing on Again and Again.  She’s also shooting a film on several musicians she met, perhaps a documentary portrait.  I hope to finish editing on the films mentioned, and if the spirit strikes, perhaps shoot some kind of long film there, with local people.  Also to paint/draw and lay out a book of poetry and several photo books – maybe to have on-line.  If the plot works out, we hope to head to a festival in Korea at the end of summer, and then on to Japan for one there. Then to the USA to travel 6 months seeing friends, doing screenings, and shooting more for a film essay.   Perhaps a swan song.

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Best for 2017 !!

Blogs:

www.acinemafornone.wordpress.com
www.cinemaelectronica2.wordpress.com
www.cinemaelectronica.wordpress.com
www.jonjost.wordpress.com
www.americanplainsongs.wordpress.com
www.paginasparaclarinha.wordpress.com
www.paginasparaclarinhavol2.wordpress.com
www.jonjostcomingtoterms.wordpress.com

www.jonjostphotography.com/

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Website:

586Edoardo Albinati

Sept 30 2016

Not long ago, in May, my wife Marcella showed me a notice she’d seen in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, a little polemic about all the five finalists for the Strega prize  (Italy’s most prestigious literary award) being from Rome in this year’s round.  Among those listed was my friend Edoardo Albinati.  This naturally perked up my interests, and I sent him a brief note, and not much later was prompted to send him congratulations for having come out the winner.  As a finalist he’d already been subjected to the literary press mill, and as winner he was due to be buried under an avalanche of journalists, critics, in paper and on TV.

And then, this month, came another round-about notice – he would be appearing in an event in Matera, Marcella’s hometown, where we’d been staying in or near since February. Last week we went to Matera to see him in company of a psychoanalyst and writer, Luigi Zoia, and field researcher and blogger, Luca Mori, along with, as it turned out, a somewhat too talkative moderator, Marino Sinibaldi who has a radio program on literature, Fahrenheit.  The event was called Materadio, and was a broadcast.

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Marcella saw Edo as he and his wife Francesca entered, and I went to briefly greet him as he worked his way to the front area in the cave-like space of the Casa Cave. We had a few words, and he advanced to the stage set and found his seat, looking rather, to my eyes, uncomfortable. After a while he came back out to talk with me a bit, and remarked how he wasn’t sure he could talk in the cave-setting there, as if the weight of the place would suffocate him. Old Matera – the Sassi – is composed of such places, houses and such carved into the soft tufo, formerly essentially caves, later decked out with facades, some ornately Baroque, but most very simple. Edo returned to his place on stage and had his 15 minutes of the 50 allotted. Afterwards he was hustled off for another hour of photos and short interviews with the press. I kept a discreet distance, and then joined by Marcella, we talked with Francesca while waiting for the press press to cease. Finally Edo emerged and we went to have a drink and some words before they returned to their hotel.

I met Edoardo in 1990, in San Francisco. A friend of his, writer Sandro Veronesi, (a Strega Premio winner back in 2004), had suggested he meet my friend Jim Nisbet – also a writer, of detective novels – who lives in San Francisco.  Jim had done a little part in my Rembrandt Laughing, and tried to work with me on Sure Fire.    And so fortuitously I met Edoardo there through Jim.  And – so Edo told me over our drinks – back then he piled into my VW van of the time, and we drove to the famed City Lights bookstore in North Beach, and, he said, I had an accident on arrival. I do not recall this at all, and am certain I had no accident as I never had any in San Francisco, but maybe I bumped a curb or something.  At all events, I met him and he me.  Such are the odd ways in which I seem to meet my friends, living out of a van, a nomad on the earth.

Some years later, in 1994, having decided to live in Roma, we met again, and on lining up a film production, quite surprisingly to me, I asked Edoardo if he could help in scripting. It wasn’t really a script in the usual sense, since I don’t seem to work that way. Rather, as we went along, I’d have a scene in mind, and I’d ask – sometimes – either that he loosely translate a text I’d written and adjust it to be Italian, or I’d give him a vague generalized idea of what I wanted to convey, and he’d write out a long monologue or whatever. It was very much a collaboration, with me setting brackets, and Edoardo bringing his vastly greater knowledge of Italy – its cultural and political realities – into play, and writing what was needed.

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Interestingly, when I took the film – along with Edoardo and a few of the actresses in it – to the Venice Festival in 1995 – the Italian critics, who had rather rapturously greeted my earlier films, harshly critical of America, mostly recoiled at Uno a Me, a somewhat serio-comic critique of things a la Italia. They accused me of not knowing enough about Italy, about having a superficial view, and, well, of failing to make a variant of Roman Holiday, celebrating all things Italian, but instead of having made a critique of Italy after the Years of Lead, and in the midst of the corruptions of Berlusconi and the Mani Puliti era. The critique had been my idea, and in truth I thought I knew enough about Italy to make such a critique. But the more subtle, inside, critique, had been Edoardo’s – he wrote the dialogues and monologues that carried the argument I had framed. Italy is a tribal society, and while it is perfectly OK for a Florentine to harshly speak of, say, Siennese, or any other city-state/culture combo, should a goddam foreigner make a critique of la bella Italia, then the tribal antagonisms dissolve, and a national tribalism congeals in defense of the often indefensible.   Venice taught me that.  My cultural stock in Italy never recovered from this assault – I went from “the most important American independent filmmaker” in the Italian critic’s press opinion to Mr Nada. In hindsight I’d have to say my critique has held up well over the years, and back a bit Rai Tre, which funded it, apparently re-broadcast it a good number of times, so I was told, owing to viewer requests.

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uno-72Stills from Uno a Me, Uno a Te, et Uno a Raffaele

In the years since Venice, when in Italy, I’d see Edo when I could. While living in Roma (1993-5, and then 1997-2001) I walked not a few times from my place in Trastevere to his writing offices just north of Piazza del Popolo, to his home in the north side of the city , and visited him a few times outside Roma, once in Sperlonga.

In 2006, shooting a quick, no money one-week or so feature with the actress from Uno a me, Eliana Miglio, and Simonetta Gianfelici, and Agnese Nano, whom I’d worked with in a workshop in Sicily the year before, Edoardo played a role drawn from his recent stay of 6 months in Afghanistan. The film, La Lunga Ombra, was about the undertow effects of 9/11 on Italian and European “intelligentsia.” Edoardo’s role was essentially as himself, a person who’d spent time in Afghanistan, being interviewed by a television journalist. The film came out quite well, but I couldn’t get anyone in Italy (or the US) to screen it – turned down by every festival. My view is that the politics of it were simply too severe for kiss-ass, corporatized festivals to accept while the Iraq war was in full flow.  And probably a film made, however well, for $100 just couldn’t compete in the increasingly commercialized world of art.

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After I left Italy in 2002 and returned to the USA, I saw Edoardo far less – circumstances of life. Though whenever passing through Rome in the following years, I tried. Once a meal in his home with Francesca, and the last time we met at a metro station and had a quick pizza nearby in the north of Rome. And now again, finally, in Matera.

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I bought his book in the only bookstore in Matera likely to carry serious literature, and have promised myself to read it, in Italian, all 1,292 pages of it.  It might take me quite some time, but when it is over my Italian will be a hell of a lot better than it is now.  The book, so I’ve read, is about a famed and ugly case in Roma, the Delitto del Circeo, in the mid ’70’s, and is also a touch autobiographical.

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It came as no surprise. The doctor’s face revealed the clinical truth with rolled eyes and a wry smile, as he told me, that, basically, my back was a sizable train-wreck of a wreck. I’d known that for some decades, what with the myriad techniques of pain avoidance I’d adapted: dangling from railed corners, grabbing the back of a chair for leverage in twisting, standing while working, drinking. It had begun in 1976 with the first rear-ender in LA, when a young girl zipping along in Dad’s little Japanese car was busy looking at her cassette collection, likely going 25 mph when she hit me, stopped at a light on Laurel Canyon. Her front end crumpled, and my neck took the whip-lash, this in the days before back-headrests. I popped out of the car, advised her that her radiator was leaking and other damage, and suggested if it was nearby she might make it home. Exchanged info. The next day the whiplash hit, an ice-pick in the neck. There went disks C3, 4 and 5 and arrived a year of serious pain and a life-time of chronic lesser pain.

And then a year later, more or less healed, at least as much as was going to ever happen, from 2 weeks in traction at Scripps Clinic in La Jolla and the usual fistful of pills, a burly guy hit me a lot slower, somewhere in the flats of the Wilshire district, but with the heft of a big steel American cruise-mobile, ripping the seat of my old Volvo off its welded moorings, to mangle another set of disks. He jumped out and yelled, “short stop” while I’d been sitting there at the light at least 30 seconds. I wanted to floor him but didn’t, and knew resignedly from experience what would follow. Pain. The damage that time was mid-back along with the neck, whatever the letters and numbers I never bothered to find out.

I glanced at the X-ray, appreciating the somewhat ethereal beauty of it, and noted the snake-like line of my spine, left, then right. And the doctor’s look of resignation. The MRI image was more exact and solid, from multiple viewpoints, and detailed the squashed disks, the narrowed spaces, the herniated one, the pinched channel that sent pain piercing down my left leg – the good old sciatica which had haunted me, at varying levels, for some decades now. It was all of a piece, and the pieces were falling apart.

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Prescribing a regimen of pills – one to dampen the pain, another to relax the muscles, another to coat the stomach lining to thwart the toxic effects of the others, and another “natural” one to supplement missing trace elements to help bolster the body’s own self-care – and then a sequence of physical therapy things to do for a month, he then said “try this and….” And if this didn’t provide adequate relief, which his face said it certainly was not going to do, then it might require an “intervention.” To say a knife in the back. All this occurred in Italy, where I could afford these procedures – procedures which I could not have done in my own country without rapidly bankrupting myself, and hence had not done. My long acquaintance with Italy though made the thought of a knife in the back take on other shades.

So I and my back had shared a long experience of coping. As it happens, unlike some others for whom the languid enticements of opioids and other painkillers are strong, I prefer to be mentally active and find most of these drugs simply reduce my brain to a marshmellow state. I have, or have developed, instead, a rather high tolerance for pain. It’s been, for quite some time, a constant companion, often at levels that I know would send many friends scurrying to a doctor or a dealer to find some kind of alchemic relief. I instead tend to grin and bear it, so as to allow the cells of my brain to continue their minuet. I like to think, to ponder, to do, and sitting doing nothing is nearly impossible for me. If I really need a palliative a few bottles of good strong beer will do the job without closing down my mind.

However of late – the past year or so – the various jolts of pain were getting on the debilitating side, requiring periods of laying down, a modest stream of Advil or sometimes paracetamol laced with a touch of codiene. This declension had prompted the visit to the doctor, the subsequent X-ray and MRI, and naturally, the glance at the impending near future, which pointed, in one way or another, to life’s final denouement. Death, and often, if not always – a good car wreck, heart-attack, murder or other “event” can serve to short-circuit the process – the painful steps of getting there, issued out in myriad possibilities. The fading sight, the hearing gone, the broken bones, failing liver or lungs, each giving out at their own pace until the mechanism of one’s body can no longer sustain that thing we call “life.” Depending on one’s past and nature, one’s “character” or desires, one can shunt this all out, stumbling dull-minded to the end, or one can be ever more attentive with the dwindling means offered, acute until the curtain of consciousness closes. And everything in between.

Whichever path one takes or is taken on, the finale is always the same: your mind ceases and with it your “you” takes an infinite walk. And nothing remains but the traces left, the faint echoes of friendships and love to expire when their holders do, the tawdry material items acquired in these four score and whatever years, be they a house left in the will, a small empire of business, a studio of paintings, or nothing. Or, if one had acquired some grace of “fame” of some kind, a mythic shadow might envelop your name, which might become a much encumbered, and surely falsified asterisk in the brief trajectory of human history. But, finally, all arrives in exactly the same place as our selves evaporate and the simple building blocks of water, a fistful of chemicals reduce to the universal atomic levels which hide beneath our hectic comedy of life.

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April 22.

Returned from a week’s trip to Bologna, where I scrambled easily up the long San Lucas stairway and back down, and felt great, we did our last 3 days of doctor’s assigned physical therapy. On the next to last day, about half an hour after wrapping up, a stab of pain shot down my lower back and left leg. Nasty enough to require a hasty horizontality to elude the pain. The next day, hampered, did the final therapy session, with Cosimo, the therapist, doing some things which he concluded indicated inflamed muscle, and not nerve stuff. A bit buoyed by this idea, we went back “home”, did some water colors (dismal) and momentarily felt better about things. Foolishly. Then came the whammy of pain down the lower back, the happy-making pills providing no relief, I got some beers to dampen the jagged edges, and went, again, horizontal. Gravity is cruel when vertical, weight pressing down on shrunken disks, squeezing the thin lines of nerve tissue.

June 21.

Two months ago I was gently slipped into unconsciousness, so much so I hardly noticed. While gone a surgeon extracted my L 4-5 disc, which had been squished beyond use by life’s vicissitudes. While doing this he noticed a little fragment of the disc nestled against the sciatica nerve root, likely in hindsight the cause of some decades of on and off serious pain. He dug that out, though in process scarring the nerve tissue – of which more later.

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I awoke in a drugged stupor, oxygen tubes slipped in my nostrils, an IV drip in my left arm. Marcella tells me I babbled incoherently, asking what this crap in my nose was. Typical post-op behavior. Finally coming around I met my roomy, Rachib, whose leg had been mangled in an accident. He hailed from Bangladesh, one of Italy’s many immigrants. For four days we chatted in a limited manner, constricted by our mutually minimal Italian, while nurses came cyclically to change the drip bags, check blood pressure and such, and the dismal – even in Italy – food was brought in, all while my body recovered from the major intrusion it had undergone. Marcella thankfully came frequently, bringing bites of better food, and the comfort of companionship. The four days whisked by, and I was released with a bundle of drugs and “integrators” to take, off to convalesce. Within the week I was up and about, if a bit hobbled and slow. Fortunately my philosophy glands were working fine, and despite the daily requisite pains, I was of good, if typically for me, dark, humor. It’s my view that whatever ill befalls you – physical pain, psychic trauma, bad news or whatever – it’s better to take it with a smile, a nice lathering of humor. To do otherwise is only to make a bad deal worse.

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Rebounding well, after 2 or 3 weeks, with Marcella administering a special leg stretch of a 20 minutes cycle, twice a day, I was doing pretty well – walking, up and about for the day, busy painting and writing. Out of the woods. Until one morning I awoke, and attempting to exit the bed to take a pee, was administered such a jolt of pain, that I recoiled, trying to find a way to avoid it. It emanated from my left buttocks and hip, as if a muscle had spasmed and contracted in the worst of ways. However, after managing to get up, after moving about a bit, in an hour the pain subsided and then completely disappeared. At least until the next morning, when it resumed, worse still. Marcella and I had to figure a way for me to pee in bed, as getting up was pure torture. This went on some days – 4 or 5 – and I duly popped pain killers, until each day the pain subsided and things were “normal” again. The feeling was that a muscle in my buttock was seizing up, pinching the sciatica nerve, and then letting go. So it seemed. A post-op scheduled visit to the doctor arrived, and I told of this new thing, and he casually did a few pushes and pulls on my leg, and announced the cause was not muscle things, but that the scarring on the nerve, in process of healing – a growing process – would grab onto my spine during the passive hours of the night, and on getting up I would tear it, delivering one of Maggie Thatcher’s short sharp shocks. He prescribed some further pain killers, and integrators, and more of Marcella’s leg stretches.

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Though the pain continued – and here more than a month later still does – it slowly diminished, I imagine as the scar is healing step by step. What was interesting was that the pain was far more tolerable once I knew what it was. It had for a while the same intensity, but knowing it was tearing nerve tissue, and that it would subside for the day within an hour, made it much easier to push through it, get up from bed whatever the pain, and get on with life. Though I was puzzled why I hadn’t been told on leaving the hospital that this might happen. It certainly would have made that first instance much less worrisome.

September 7.

At the end of July, our beach town filling with summer’s mayhem, we moved back to Matera. The morning nerve tear pain has slipped away, and formal physical therapy done, I’ve almost gotten to my pre-operation routine of pushups, squats, curls and basic yoga stuff, with an added 20 minutes of walking. Along the way a few little hiccups of the hypochondriac kind showed up. For a period I had what I read as signs of an imminent heart attack: pain down the left arm, a kind of seizing in the left chest. I recalled once in a while having these long before, and figured the high blood pressure of recent years was taking over, ready to do me in. Though something about the pains I was having led me to doubt it was really heart attack stuff, so of course I went on-line to check it all out. Came up with the conclusion I was probably having acid reflux symptoms. But still went to the doctor, since here I am on Italian socialized medicine and the cost is a wait in a room and then a free doctor visit. The doctor twisted my arm a few ways, heard my view, took a blood pressure reading, and more or less agreed with my self-analysis. He prescribed some stuff for acid gut reflux and asked I let him know in 10 days how things were going. The pains went away after some days, my blood pressure danced around slightly high “normal” and the heart attack scare went away. Got myself back up to 60 squats, some curl like exercises and 80 modified pushups as normal on the ground ones are too much a stress on my lower back.  And got the yoga stuff back to my previous normal. The stay in Matera was mostly devoted to getting my body back into condition, building back the diminished muscle tissue, and with a good wi-fi in the apartment, way too much time on line. Now we’re back in the nearly vacated beach town, and I hope to wean myself from the toxins of Facebook, and the on-line non-life which comes too easily.

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Sept. 15

Of course, with the sciatica pain gone, I now note more clearly the something going on in my right sacroiliac/hip area, which had been there a long time. It’s a modest little pain, incurred with a certain twist of the torso, and I’d think nothing to be done about it but avoid that little twist or pop pain-killers. I live with it. And wait for the next shoe, among the many perhaps to come, to drop.

 

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