Sheep's Head peninsula Co. Cork, Ireland (July 1983)
My world is no longer turning. That's actually quite a beautiful improvement. While the ground beneath my feet remains unsteady, I no longer need to hold onto walls when I walk and the staircase has become once again just a means to move from one floor to the other. In fact, I can look into the rainy garden and notice the wind in the wisteria and tell myself that this is just wind and not a mean trick of my damaged balance organs. But this is all surprisingly tiring. As I walk past the big mirror of my great-grandmother's wardrobe in our bedroom I stop for a moment to take a look. You are not well, I tell the person staring at me, don't fool yourself, you are sick.
Last night in my dream I explained to my GP that I wanted to sleep for about three months, and she wrote an elaborate prescription on thick cream paper and handed it to me but I was too tired to take it and instead just curled up on the floor in front of her desk. I must have fallen asleep because I don't remember what happened next.
When I blow my nose in the morning, an impressive amount of blood appears probably from deep in my sinuses and inside my mouth, there is a spectacular number of open sores.
The blessings of cortisone. Possibly. Hopefully.
Of course, this is all old hat.
Only this time - oh, I have no idea and I try not to speculate. Obviously, I have been pretty ill and have gotten better before and there is no reason to think that it won't happen again. Eventually. And as it stands, no vital organ damage looming on the horizon, just a somewhat major spot of bother in the ENT department and all sorts of accompanying odds and ends incl. exhaustion and the usual stuff like gastritis and so on. (But try and tell this to the scared wimp in my bed at 3 am.)
To drown out the double bass players in my ears I have been listening to some very interesting and downright lovely podcasts. Earlier today, I was back on the sheep's head peninsula, which has been one of our favourite places for many years, listening to gorgeous sing song West Cork accents describing the time in 1979 when the writer JG Farrell lived and died there.
In fact, I just realised that on the day he died so dramatically, on Saturday August 11, 1979, we were travelling (on foot, hitch hiking and by boat) about 350 km north along the same coast, eventually reaching Clare Island where we struggled to pitch a tent in the evening, there was fierce wind and rain. I had met R seven days earlier.
Anyway, it's a sad story (the one about JG Farrell, not the one about R and me) but worth listening to. (Here is the link. And here another account of events.)
Sheep's Head 1983