Monday, October 26, 2009


On Saturday Jan went to the emergency room because of symptoms that indicated a re-occurrence of a retinal detachment. If this is not treated quickly, it can lead to total blindness. This was sufficient warning to make the decision. The choice was to go to the hospital or to go to a conference from a famous doctor who had also an aneurysm years ago and was able to recuperate most of the functions she lost.

I am in a tight corner wondering what will I do if Jan becomes blind. As is, the caregiving is large and costly in more ways than financial. I can't even picture what would I do if this were to happen. For the first time I feel that I have run out of the capacity to visualize the future...

Yet, the commitment to stay and support this woman that is beginning to look like a total stranger to me, is still there. However, I struggle with unanswered questions and divided emotions. I wonder whether I am wading close to the edge of myself, and if I continue in the same direction, I will find myself in nothing else than a void. I feel I have aged a century in only four years.

I know I am not alone in this. I know this is where faith is supposed to work. I know that many people support in silent prayer and those who lack the prayer wire, send positive thoughts. I know I am disappointed more with myself and my expectations about how all this should work rather than with others and God. I know I am walking on water deep inside an unknown ocean of pain and uncertainty. I know. But this is not much comfort in the middle of this, my personal tsunami.


Sunday, October 25, 2009


In the last blog Janita and I went to the emergency room of a hospital. We got to see an eye doctor close to 11pm, a young man in his early thirties. he did extensive tests on her eye pressure, and looked inside of Janitas' eye thoroughly for quite a bit of time. At the end , what he saw was that the jelly matter inside the eye is detaching from the retina, but is not tearing it. This is why she is having all these symptoms of floating circles, golden and silver, and those flashes in her vision along with moving black bars. He asked her to come back in 6 weeks for a follow up. If something would change she was instructed to go immediately to the eye doctor on call. She said she felt both, relieved and sad. It was better to know what was happening and to hear that there are experiments with humans using stem cells to regenerate optic nerves that may give a hope for her right eye, the one that can only see about 10% of the field of vision. It may also give hope for her retina in the left eye, if it continues detaching. So, this hope that there may be a solution one day, gave her some relief. On the other hand, the very thought of being blind made her feel sad. Too many questions about the new challenges that this would represent for both. She would need to learn Braille, and to function without vision. I would need to change my heart and my whole set of values and assumptions about what is marriage and what is care-giving.

No one has ever told me that life would be without pain. No one promised me that. So I don't have anyone to whom I can direct my anger and disappointment. The only option I have is to acknowledge it and to look for ways of changing it into a constructive energy in my day to day life before it turns into bitterness, cynicism and despair. Where are thou my brother? Where are thou my God?

An adjective that comes to mind, that I would like to hang around my neck is: shell-shocked.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Silence is golden

I almost lost my voice yesterday to a strange cold. I sounded like Leonard Cohen. But being forced to speak a lot less was enlightening. I was able to listen more, to interrupt less, to communicate more with body language, to agree more, to think more before saying anything, to relax and just take all in.

Maybe I should take a monthly day of silence...

Friday, October 02, 2009

A good rainy day

I worked late in a manuscript ready for the printers. My only company was Clayderman's renditions of Beatles music. 3am arrived and I felt satisfied having found more "bugs" in the manuscript. It will never be perfect, but now it feels like an excellent piece of work. I'm sure Pablo will feel satisfied. A few minor additions to round up stories and weave them into the whole piece will make it a fine piece. I was chilled and wondering whether I would be able to sleep after the instant coffee (aaarrrgghh! I know, but that's all I could find at midnight, other than collecting the leftovers from the tea cups in the sink to make one full cup, which didn't sound appealing, not even to work on a fine manuscript). I placed my ear to the pillow and snugged tightly against Jan's side. She felt warm and cozy. I though about the word home. She was my home right there. I kept focusing my thoughts on one concept at a time: love, Jan's love, God's love, my sibling's love, my friends' love, love without a definition, love as a person, love with a face and a name. I thought about the colour that most likely represented love for me. I thought about the nature of love, its actions, its cost, its consequences. I thought of Jesu. I felt calm inside and warm. I drifted slowly into a bright fog, or was it dark? I can't remember and I think it doesn't matter. I was deeply asleep, and I can't remember moving until 8:34am this morning, when nature called..

Jan is feeling better today. But she had two bad days. So the score seems to be two bad for one good. I reminded myself of my commitment to do at least one act of random kindness for Jan every day. I held her close when she felt overwhelmed. No questions asked. She knew what she needed to know.