15 January 2017

in which I try to come up with a positive outlook

I just wrote another whiny post about my life as a stranded beetle in pain and halfway through writing it, I knew. This. Won't. Do.  All my pep talks about how my body constantly produces new cells striving for health. Useless at 3 am. Anyway, it is down below as a record of this cloudy January morning with a few snow flakes here and there. 

For now, let's take a look at this:

I found this in my father's sideboard last summer. Apparently, this is the wedding of someone from my paternal grandfather's family, maybe his sister's. I recognise nobody, my grandfather is not in it, so it must have happened before my grandparents got married in 1919.

This was the Munich branch of the family, the wealthy educated bourgeois members of a wealthy society. They had salons and debating clubs and musical soirees. These men were judges, attorneys and senior civil servants. The women were wives and sisters and daughters. They did needlework and played musical instruments. To my eye, the picture looks like a game of charades, the "crying" girls, the "angel" holding her hands above the couple. I wonder if they were ready to burst into laughter. Or maybe it was a fashionable thing young people did at the time, barely tolerated by the more elderly (female) family members. 
But maybe it simply was like that, two upset little girls, the sister of the bride a bit tipsy on a chair in the back, playing up. The spinster aunt on the right not amused. The protestant pastor on the left keeping his distance.
Actually, I think this picture was possibly taken before the first world war. If so,  Munich was still the capital of the kingdom of Bavaria.
I wish I knew more about photography and fashion and eye glasses to date this picture.

Whereas the lament earlier was as follows:

Once again I wake at 3 am with that pain all along my right leg.  And my mind goes into overdrive. Before I know it I see myself battling a future life with chronic pain. Jeez. This is night 10 after surgery. Early days. I hope.  

Thing is, I recognise nerve pain. It's bloody obvious. Ten years ago I lived through the great dentist disaster and although I eventually came out at the other end alive and well I very much don't want to have a repeat experience elsewhere in my body. 

R is grumpy and worried and coughing and insists on me eating some toast, which I find almost impossible. My brother calls and again, we compare notes on our various surgeries and injuries. Stay on top of it, he tells me. Distract yourself. 

Make yourself small, says the tiny voice in my head. The world is enormous and this is a small event. Watch yourself cope and remember that millions are also coping, mostly under worse circumstances. But also: prepare yourself and seek help. 

I am scared. It's the easy option for now. I am not proud of myself.


  1. What an amazing photo! It looks as if they were royalty.
    As to pain- it is life-changing. It is like a drug in and of itself. A very, very bad drug. And the fear that goes with it which blooms in the deepest hours of the night. Oh, Sabine! And these are early days. Could you get a very gentle massage? Would that help?

    1. No massage yet but I have long showers thanks to waterproof wound bandages, on Wed I have the post OP MRI, after that our family GP will remove the stitches and either fast-track the appointment for follow-up treatment with a local expert or help me out with better painkillers or both.

  2. I love that picture. It's another world.

    Fear sounds perfectly natural to me, and not at all the "easy option." Dave has been despairing about his own health, and I tell him, every day is a new day. We don't know what it will bring. It's the best I can do, and it's probably simplistic, but I try to avoid dreading an outcome that may not, well, come. You know?

  3. Fear also sounds natural to me. Pain is uncomfortable and often breaks us when it is relentless. There is no shame in being afraid of pain. The courage it takes to write about it kind of knocks my socks off. My mother bore 7 children. Still, when she had degenerative disc pain shooting down her leg was the only time I ever saw her cry. You are doing just fine. Keep up the good work. And the photo is great. Thanks for sharing that.

  4. Fabulous photo. Have you been to shorpy.com?

    Heal, heal, heal.

  5. That photo is so beautiful and so of another era.

    I keep thinking of that line from WH Auden's Musee des Beaux Arts, "About suffering they were never wrong, the old masters, how well they understood its human position..." Our bodies do give us such painful grief. The relentlessness of our nerves, sending signals signal signals. I want to shout, "hello I hear you, please knock it off and give me a freakin' break." I hope the news from your doctors is all good and you will be soon in a pain-free future. Thinking of you.

  6. I'm crazy about old photos and that one is fantastic!I know that certain cousins heartily resent the fact that I ran off with some irrestible photos from my granny's farm. I especially love Auntie Spinster's expression! She's making no secret of her disdain for the frivolity. Some of those moustaches look very WW one-ish to me, but I'm certainly no expert.

    Day ten is not even two weeks so I'm still hopeful that time will ease your suffering. Hang in there. Look for more old photos!

  7. Amazing photo, I've looked at it again and again and each time some new little treasure, love it!

    Scared is the normal option I think. There are others suffering too, yes, but pain is a relative thing, I think. Good medicine to go back through the pictures and be distracted by something.
    Hoping for the best on Wednesday, the very best.

  8. That is a fascinating photographic record. There is so much going on in it that one might miss at first look. And your 3am post is not at all whiny. It is stoic even. Of course you are scared, but you are not defeated. You are taking notes.