Saturday, October 30, 2021

Familiar/Scary Things

I'm reading Smile, by playwright/poet Sarah Ruhl, subtitled The Story of a Face. I love her plays, was in The Clean House, and would love to direct or be in Dear Elizabeth, her play based on the letters of poets Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. Smile is about her smile, specifically her experience with Bell's palsy, and I am learning all about when she was on bed rest with twins during the Broadway opening of her first play, In the Next Room, or the vibrator play.

Reading about her discovery of the slip of her smile, I recalled seeing my face in the mirror one early morning and noticing that my eye had fallen down. Did I have a stroke? I wondered. Later in the day, my eye had replaced itself, but still! Did I have a small stroke? A brief, self-healing version of Bell's palsy? Who knows? But it was scary/familiar to read about this in Sarah Ruhl's memoir, making it a Halloweenish Random Coinciday in the blog.

The face-falling incident in my own life occurred around the time my upper eyelid--on that side!--got an itchy, sort of a scaley rash. My doctor did not suggest shingles or Bell's palsy but instead asked if I had put anything on my face lately, and the answer was yes, some sunscreen made for the face, as I had been out in the sun reading. She said other patients had been reporting reactions to sunscreen on the face, and to wear a hat instead, so I've been doing that since, no further problems. But if it was a mild Bell's palsy/shingles, maybe I don't have to schedule the shingles vaccine everyone is telling me to get--mainly because 1) shingles is awful, and 2) it seems to be going around town. Sigh...  I got the flu shot--body wracked by shivers that night--and do not qualify for the Covid booster. (Too young! Don't get to say that very often anymore!) I dread the shingles vaccine because 85% of people get side effects, and how can I fit it into my busy schedule knowing I'll have to set aside 2-3 days to feel icky and not scare people with symptoms. What a blessing if I have already had this and my body cured itself.

Speaking of blessings, this morning I posted the second-to-last chalkboard poem for the month of October. I am hoping it comforts and resonates with my sister-in-law, whose mother died last night, simply and quietly, lying down after dinner. This was both expected and unexpected, but was a gentle and good way for her to go, and her family is feeling peace as well as sorrow. I send vibrations of love and comfort out to all who are sad and suffering right now, all who are grieving, stressed, or worried. It's been raining here, with dark and windy mornings, a true October, with sudden flashes of fiery red and glorious yellow trees through the mist of it all.

Everything has come
to me in its time, asked for
or not, as a blessing.

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