This was me Sunday night, all but the rats: I was so sick I thought I was dying. That’s exactly how you do feel when those steel walls of pain close in on you, like they did for the poor sucker in “The Pit and the Pendulum” by Edgar Allen Poe. Here come the room’s walls, shoving you like dirt before a backhoe, closer and closer toward this yawning oubliette-style hole that has suddenly opened in the center of your pain – and let’s not forget that special blade of a pendulum that starts lowering down from the ceiling on the poor guy.
I could feel that too, in my delirium, tickling the fibers of my pj’s, then starting to slice me neatly open.
What did our friend Emily Dickinson say? Pain has an element of blank, It cannot recollect When it began, or if there were A day when it was not. She was right about that, boy. Past and future fall away when pain is extreme.
I tried to think of all the tasks and projects I had planned for the day and could not even remember what they were.
I felt like Job on the dung heap.
Like Job scraping his boils, and listening to that trio of distinctly uncomforting comforters who showed up and started proposing reasons for his suffering. You deserve this, I kept thinking, and really it’s not hard to think you do deserve many of the blows Fate deals you. In my case I have to look no further than the self-satisfied tone of my last post: Oh! I swapped out some colors and re-arranged the decor in my little burrow! What a clever little foxy am I!
(That’s me on the right, the girl-looking one, admiring my walls. )
It was a terrible night anyway, with some vividly extra terribleness toward dawn. But then ….
As quickly as it came the pain left, and one again I felt skipped over by the Grim Reaper; passed over as the ancient Jews were passed over by the Angel of Death so 4,000 years ago today. and happy be set down on the safer shores of that wide Red Sea; once again on the shores of Health and the blessed dullness of everyday life.