The moment we’re born, the dying begins. Decline is part of life.
People fixate on “health”, even as they decline.
That’s a failure of thought, or of language.
Thoughtful people don’t care about “health”. They care about being, about doing. A disease or defect matters only to the extent that it gets in the way.
Ride chauffeur Jeffrey is determined to emulate me, the Kangaroo Court Puppet. Puppets just . . . ARE. And they do their thing.
Because our 2018 plans soon may change, I’ll share some secrets from the last few Rides. You’ll see Jeffrey’s determination to BE and to DO. And you’ll be prepared for a possible zig to our zag.
You may recall that in 2015, Jeffrey pedaled us 1000 miles through New England despite a painful broken leg.
In 2016, Jeffrey pedaled us 1400 miles from Chicago to Albuquerque despite four irritating screws.
In 2017, Jeffrey pedaled us another 1400 miles to San Jose. The public story was that friend George would see us safely across the desert. Kept quiet ‘til now is that the day before we left NYC, Jeffrey’s heart went haywire with supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), doubling or tripling his resting pulse for hours at a time. Jeffrey asked Nancy and the doctor what would convince them to allow us to go West. The answer was, a chaperone for the 800 desolate miles from Albuquerque to the eastern reaches of Los Angeles. Enter George. We made it to San Jose without incident. Then SVT attacks resumed. In August 2017, a doctor zapped the short circuit in Jeffrey’s heart. Problem solved!
These trivialities did not stop us in 2015, 2016, and 2017.
Now it’s 2018.
A few days ago, Jeffrey was admitted to hospital with a pulmonary embolism (PE)—a painful lung-killing blockage of the pulmonary artery. The Director of the hospital’s Inpatient Pulmonary Service, an embolism expert who immigrated to the U.S. despite our government’s efforts to exclude him, was surprised because Jeffrey has no risk factors. He will investigate why this happened. Meanwhile, he said Jeffrey’s “beautiful lungs” will recover fully.
Then gasping, feverish Jeffrey was diagnosed with pneumonia. It’s a common sequel to PE lung damage.
Jeffrey’s home. Fever’s gone. Breathing’s easing. But he’s been inactive for 10 days. Going soft. And he’s not 27 anymore. (I’m 27.)
Dare we proceed with the Seattle Ride on February 28?
“Health” means nothing. What matters is ability.
Joey can be Joey.
But can Jeffrey be Jeffrey?
We could do a shorter local Ride in March. We could stay home until the May Ride to the Deep South, and save Seattle for next fall or next year.
But we don’t want to live someone else’s life. We want to live our own.
In this American time of soul-crushing cruelty to our neighbors who without money or papers have no effective way to resist, it’s our duty to leave the NYC cocoon, to see and be seen, to listen and be heard, to learn and to teach about human rights. It isn’t much. But it’s something.
Yet there are multiple values to weigh. As the sage Hillel said, “If I am not for myself, who is for me? But if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?”
No pity party! Just transparency. When we decide what path makes sense for 2018, we’ll tell you. Promise!