Aliveness springs from our making something of what we experience and receiving what experience makes of us. --Ann Belford Ulanov
My friend, Elizabeth, uses this quote to describe her work with spiritual memioir, but it also points to what I seek to do with stories of illness and healing, for myself and others. It has been harder to do this today than earlier this week when I was reflecting on ectasy and egrets, but I still believe in the principle.
Last night I woke up at midnight with a strong headache and nausea. I tried the rest of the night to go back to sleep and let Jenny sleep, but the combination of pain and worry kept me awake most of the night. Eventually I asked Jenny to call my oncologist, who told us to go to the ER. After some vomiting and a scan at the hospital, it seems likely the pain is from swelling in my brain, which steroids can probably help. They're planning to keep me for observation for the night. As different nurses and doctors asked me the same questions over and over today, as I was feeling exhausted, I was wondering what these experiences were making of me, and what I was making of them. I was mostly wanting to get away from the experience, not learn from it. I've asked both my nurse and doctor if I could have as much uninterrupted sleep as possible tonight, and they both seem sympathetic to that. If I get a decent amount of sleep tonight, that will be some aliveness and meaning that I will enthusiastically celebrate.
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