Near the Silence

September 12, 2023

I wonder if it was marked in the stars. Neptune, indeed, high in my sky, Saturn opposite Pluto. The Sun over Uranus at birth. The perfect storm, no doubt.

A month ago, I was looking forward to my September vacation. I was already tired. At the beginning of August, we'd had two company events on the same day: a paella get-together and a management dinner.

I don't know whether the genesis of what would come came from these meals. In any case, I began to run a fever for three days on August 8. I began to urinate constantly, be constipated, suffer, and go mild for a while, only to fall back into interminable nights.

I could continue working, thinking it was a temporary ailment, but by the third week, it was clear that nothing was right. In three weeks, I had lost 5 kilos. I could barely do a few hours of work in the last week. The rest of the time was spent sleeping and not feeling hungry, heading down a downward slope that culminated in an emergency room admission on the last Friday of the month at Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur.

My blood sugar level was found to be dangerously high. So high that it was approaching the point of no return, namely diabetic coma.

I was shuffled into the emergency room and immediately infused with a solution. I was soon diagnosed with a mysterious E. coli infection that had attacked my kidneys, liver and blood.

Thus began my vacation. I stayed in the hospital for a week, and thanks to the modern medical knowledge and good care of all the hospital staff, I was discharged the following Thursday.

So that was my first week's vacation. I'm still on my second. I sleep a lot, and my blood sugar is now controlled by insulin injections, something I'd been able to avoid for twenty years. I'm still on antibiotics, my brain's a mess, and I'm barely able to watch movies and documentaries. I also sleep a lot.

During my stay in the hospital, I saw myself as Dad was at the end of his life, so thin that I looked like a concentration camp survivor with no voice, walking like an older man who hadn't reached 65.

Oh, my pain pales compared to the suffering I witnessed during my hospitalization. I was easy stuff for the nurses. I shared my room with three ladies with very different fates and heard tragedies everywhere in the corridors.

The staff are overworked but so exceptionally gentle. The dedication of these people cannot be overstated. I owe them so much.

Perhaps I waited too long before resorting to the emergency room. I tried to reach my doctor, but he hid behind a booking system beyond my comprehension. I don't blame him, but I find it hard to trust such a system now. But yes, I should have sounded the alarm sooner. I was naive to a fault.

As I said, I'm already exhausted, and what happened was undoubtedly due to the carelessness of the living who think that time will always be there for them.

But I know now that I've reached the door of Silence.

I'm shaken but still grateful that the gate hasn't been opened. I don't want to overdramatize. This feeling is very personal, dictating its lessons to me.

I must recover and regain the muscles I've lost. I need to move along, hope, and rekindle the little straw fire that serves as my intelligence.

I must listen to my body and pay attention to my mind. To do, if possible, at least for the time being, only what's necessary. I mustn't lock myself up in a diving suit. The day will come soon enough when time will stop hammering on the anvil of my existence.

I know that Silence surrounds me. It's here among us, omnipresent. Nothing can stop me, however, from still wanting to sing, write, smile, and revel in the rare honey of what is. What else can I do?