He yells his description
Lets you know he knows his hair is indecisive
With its grey and black
Analyzes his reflection in the train's plastic glass
He searches for accuracy
Wrinkles connected to his widows peak
He's aging naturally
Not fighting Mother Natures natural order
He speaks loudly on the train
But no eye contact is made
They fear his gaze
As if his stare could magically transfer his brand of insane
As if will agitate his haunting spirits
Or as if he's just another old man who's had too many spirits
He knows he's being ignored
They say you're a child twice in your life
And his 65 is more like 5
Just try and ignore a toddler
To see what that is like
No one is listening to his mumbles
His stammers turn into outcries
"Do you see me?
Grey and black hair?
This old man
5 foot 5?
No one sees me with my grey and black hair
Grey and black beard?"
No one sees that his crazy is really just his lonely
Jetting from his heart to mind
To his lips
To the deaf ears,
Numb tongues of a rush hour 3 train
With souls like the G train at 5am
Only show up when they feel like it Unconcerned about anyone else trying to get by.
I scream at my feet to carry my throat closer to him
So he could hear the hi
The good morning I think he really wanted
But I make my seat's comfort into a safety belt
He leaves the car a stop later
His lingering presence leaves this train haunted
By the fact that near none of us can say
That in this jam packed
Kindergartener crayola box of a city
You've heard many a passerby
Wish a stranger a good day.
He yells his description
The walls were a pale beige color, kind of a "mother of pearl" shade. No windows; just one door that remained wide open with a billion footsteps shuffling back and forth. This was my umpteenth time in the ER for complications with my autoimmune illness. My nurse was from the Carribbean (like many in this hospital in Flatbush, Brooklyn), and he had a thick Jamacian accent. He comes in to do a vitals check and then asks if I'm chronically sick. I tell him I have Lupus. I usually expect that to be followed with eyes that say "I feel so sorry for you. Shame. So young..." Instead he perks up. "Oh me kno' jus' de ting. See, me cousin sell dis drink a called Noni juice. It a purify ya blood an get ridda alla dat sickness inna' ya blood." I thank him but kind of wave him off. Before I leave the hospital after my overnight stay, this nurse hunts my room down and gives me a complimentary bottle of this liquid Noni cure.
I don't know a person with a chronic illness that hasn't gotten fed up with the constant stream of prescriptions doctors swear by that, due to side effects and blanket treatments, only seem to lead to a sea of pills. And when many of us have gotten fed up, all these "natural cures" on the Internet and in the media seem to be a better option. So we push away the prednisone and start juicing. We do cleanses and special diets. And our doctors freak the freak out.
See, I don't blame medical doctors for pushing prescriptions. Many of them were not required to take a course on nutrition or the healing power of foods. They are so technically and chemically trained that they cannot fathom something helping without knowing how. They need a carbon + oxygen+phospholipid trail to make it make sense. They can't state "I have no clue why, but it works." And because they don't know how it works, many of them don't prescribe it. So we're left to figure it out on our own, for better or worse.
Don't get me wrong, I believe in the power of Eastern Medicine. However, I know that when that fails me, I'm running right back to a Western doctor faster than a veteran nurse can put in an IV. I have done the extreme switch from pills to potions... And gotten even more sick (and broke) than when I started. I believe good health comes from a healthy blend of the two, a balance of preventative and restorative medicine. I take plaquenil to improve my condition and Dandelion root tea to clean my liver. I eat a whole foods diet, and I exercise and take yoga to de-stress, promote circulation, and improve joint function. But, I'm not afraid to get a steroid injection if need be. Any changes I decide to make to my diet or pill regiment, whether my doctor likes it or not, I let her know so that if anything goes really wrong, she knows where the source may lie. And to all of the people with their magical healing concoctions, medical conspiracy theories, and tales of people curing themselves of cancer then walking on water, I tell them to email me sources (not just from the website selling the product swearing Dr So-and-so cosigns this therapy) and say thank you. I don't allow people to make feel guilty for trusting a medical professional over an anointing from a pastor because I believe God gave mankind wisdom to come up with treatments for various illnesses. Yes, I know capitalism and greed very well might be the reason we see more treatments and less cures today. But just as each body, person, lifestyle, illness is special, you have a right to mix your own cocktail of pills and potions to suit your own special pallet.
Partying to fight lupus
(From the East Rockaway Long Island Herald)
Valley Stream resident Christine Miserandino and her family celebrated her 37th birthday this year in an unusual way. Instead of presenting Miserandino with gifts, the family hosted an “unbirthday party” to raise money for lupus research.
Called the Purple Party, the third annual event was held on Sept. 7 at Pompei Restaurant in West Hempstead and served as a launch for Miserandino’s new charity, the But You Don’t Look Sick Foundation. Miserandino said she was inspired to turn the idea of a birthday on its head as a result of her own experience with lupus. “I have been living with lupus for over 20 years. We started to throw an ‘unbirthday party’ to raise money for lupus research two years ago when I decided I didn’t need gifts, but I wanted to give gifts to others and grant the wish of someday living a life without lupus. I remember being younger, when I was first diagnosed with lupus and wondering if I would even make it to 37, so now every birthday is such a gift and a reason to celebrate,” Miserandino said.