Wednesday, October 12, 2005

It's the little things...

Back in that "other life" I mention occasionally one of the projects I worked on involved looking for pyrogens in sterile surgical kits. A pyrogen is defined as any substance that causes a rise in body temperature. In our project, we searched for pieces of viruses. Right. Fragments. We found some too. It's awfully hard to kill something that is, or is not , technically alive in the first place. Harder still when the something does what it does even when broken into tiny shards of itself... Such a little thing, even beneath the eye of an electron microscope.

I had these flashbacks to the laboratory as I lay on the floor of our shower stall on Monday evening. I also remembered Orion feeling sick on Friday. The poor tot woke so miserable he couldn't sit still. He toddled blindly about until he threw up. Then the fever came, but the next day he was better. Just a little droopy. Was that Tuesday?? I was feeling pretty confused and someone kept calling me, interrupting. "No" I kept answering.

It was Pete, trying to get me up. I was lying half in and half out of the shower and still in my clothes. I couldn't quite remember getting there. But I remembered several hours of being very ill. Now I'd lost the use of my arms and legs. Friday. Three day incubation period. Oh boy. A mighty(comparatively) human engine, practically shut down by a little thing only micron-sized.
I'll spare you the details, but will say it was Pete's lifeguard training that recognized I was in shock. Moments later I was hearing a paramedic say "pupils are fixed and dilated."
Wow. Just like TV. Are they talking about me? I think so, cause this really, really hurts.

Yesterday was all sleep, all day. I heard people moving around. Orion sat on the bed with me for a bit, fascinated by the hospital band still on my arm, spelling out Spiderman, Orion, and Cookie, on my laptop. I half watched all four episodes of "Surface". Meh . More FireFly, please.

And today, I'm sore all over and fuzzy and it all seems like a very bad dream. No doubt the bill will snap things into reality.

I'm still too fuzzy to put it all into perspective, but it occurred to me as I lay on the hospital bed with my morphine drip, that going to a modern hospital for help is a very high privilege. Many people go through this exact agony with no comfort and no relief but death. Many of those are children. Many are suffering through similar experiences as I sit and type this, more as you sit and read it.

We've got to change our evil ways, baby....

If everybody would help just a little.

Bank of America is introducing a new savings plan whereas people can opt to "round up" purchases with their check cards. The extra bit goes straight into a savings account. I don't know the details yet, but it sounds like a good idea at first glance.

Isn't it possible that something similar could be done for other purposes? Like helping provide clean water? Or food? Or education? Are people too lazy and self indulgent to lift a finger and select the "round up for ____ relief" button? I don't think so. I hope not.

Such a little thing. Spare change. Baaaaaahh. Americans as a whole, are lazy. Too lazy even to save money for their own futures. The secret, as with Bank of America's new savings program, is to make it effortless. My problem with this approach is the same I have with bribing children. Everything shouldn't be so easy. But in this case, does the end justify the means?

I'm wondering how to approach retailers with this? Some of you must have better heads for business than I. What do you think? It might be a good opportunity for someone in marketing to redeem themselves from the special hell reserved for people in marketing.

I know, I'm a dreamer...a somewhat angry one. But then, I used to dream about being an artist.
Now I'm an artist and I dream about using the art to do something meaningful.

We are not safe. We live in a false security. My experience on Friday would have been quite different had it been shared by hundreds, or thousands. We'd better wake up, we little puppets. We'd better raise our heads, we little sheep. We may not be able to make sweeping changes alone, but little things matter. Little things we do can change things. For better or worse.

And, if we're not careful, it's those little things that'll get us whist we sleep.



Really_Rather_Not_Nice said...

Sure you didn't pass out in the shower from shock AFTER watching the first four episodes of Surface? That could probably do it.

Seriously though, I hope you're okay.

As soon as the word 'paramedics' appeared in there, I got a bit worried. Stay healthy.

amity said...

take care of yourself. you have a family to grow with and fantastic art to make.

you have creativity pouring out of your pores!

anyway, take care.

-- amity

K said...

Oh goodness.

I am glad you're feeling better now. Viruses are so scary... I still haven't quite recovered mentally from the time my boyfriend had viral meningitis, and that was four years ago.

He took a while to recover too. Be gentle with yourself for the next little while - post-viral fatigue can be awful.

I think something like your suggestion already exists in Britain - although you have to have a particular credit card under the aegis of the charity in question. (I don't have any credit cards at all, so would not call myself an expert.) But it does sound like a good idea.

Alys Sterling said...

Yow! I hope you're feeling a bit better by the time you read this. (Not sure you're the sort of person taking things easy would make feel better, so I'm not going to go giving advice...)

K. - yes, I've got one of those charity-supporting cards. They donate some amount of every purchase I make on it. (Not sure how much, I just chose a box to tick on the application form where it asked if you wanted to support a charity & which. Yes, that easy.)

What's Surface? I guess it's not on here yet? (here being Britain...)

Carl V. said...

Wow, sorry you aren't doing well. Get better SOON! Rest and be well.

Nice Firefly comment, I agree!

In regards to what you wrote regarding helping others out, if you haven't seen the movie Millions it comes out on DVD November 1st and I highly recommend it. It is a very wonderful story about using large and little bits of money to help others.

Robert/ GuardianAlien said...

And I thought California was the land of sunshine and health. Get and environmental suit or a cloud of nano-viro slayers or something and quit being sick. We don't like it when you're sick. Especially not "laying out on the floor", "don't know how I got there sick" :(

Kristi said...

Good grief, what a frightening story! I do hope you're much better soon. Did the nice folks at the hospital figure out what kind of virus you had? I'm glad you got help when you needed it.

^Now saying a little prayer for you and your family and us all^