10 September 2021



autumn crocus


n. a wistful omen of the first sign of autumn—a subtle coolness in the shadows, a rustling of dead leaves abandoned on the sidewalk, or a long skein of geese sweeping over your head like the second hand of a clock.

(from The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows) 

The first week of my September holiday is ending.  We are not cycling along the seaside in Holland or Belgium or even Denmark and not somewhere in the Alps swimming in an ice cold lake because, virus. We are also not on our way to meet my father and 10+ other people for lunch tomorrow for the same reason. Possibly also because he said I was being hysterical and would not hear anything about me being on immune suppressing medication and hence not prepared to share lunch indoors with people, aka my cousin and his crowd, who refuse to get vaccinated. I may have added that I find it irresponsible of said cousin to actually come and have lunch indoors with his geriatric grandfather. I swear I said nothing like, how come he only always tuns up when there's a free lunch. Anyway, my father concluded in his sharp snappy voice, you sound perfectly healthy to me and put down the phone. Despite initially feeling - as expected - once more hugely rejected and misunderstood, but what else is new here, I am actually relieved.

So instead, I have been sleeping A LOT, indoors and outdoors on the lounge chair, in between reading and watching R digging and harvesting and composting and - drumroll! - preparing the place and his mental stage for the imminent removal of the oil tank, burner and all traces of fossil fuel from this house. He is beyond excitement. He has also started full blown war with the field mice eating his seedlings and although I repeatedly and so far patiently explained the futility of his actions has so far killed five specimen. I fear that I may become somewhat more involved for the sake of the mice.

The sad news is that I had to find a new GP as the lovely one I have been going steady with for the last five years has retired. The new one ticks all the boxes as in young, well trained, friendly staff, 10 min cycle away and so on but we have a way to go. So far, she refreshed my pneumo vaccine, filed away the embarrassingly large stack of lab reports and referrals from the various experts I had accumulated and when I asked whether I could or should halve the beta blocker dosage because it's now almost six years since I was in intensive care with the afib, she said - and I kid you not - "never change a winning team". Before falling asleep, I briefly debated with my inner voices the use of a soccer witticism in connection with my health issues and whether I can live with it. Fittingly, that night the afib came back in a big way as if to tell me to stop being so fucking finicky.

What else is new? I made this crumble with the apples and blackberries growing at the back of the garden and R started some wine from the small amount of this year's grape harvest.

the very last peaches

So I am trying to hold it together here, sticking with the winning team but, hell, it's hard work. And that's not even wasting a thought on the virus and the upcoming general election and all the soul crushing frightening mess we are creating ion the planet.

We should keep our feet on the ground to signify that nothing is beneath us, but we should also lift up our eyes to say nothing is beyond us.

Seamus Heaney





  1. You made the right choice to not go to that gathering despite what you father had to say about it. You have to stay safe. Sounds like your new doc might the right choice about the beta blocker. That's good news. The "soul crushing frightening mess we are creating on the planet" keeps me up at night. Will there ever be any peace? I hope so. Take care there and stay safe and healthy, Sabine.

  2. Feet on the ground and eyes looking up. Yep. True. That combination of painful feelings and then relief is familiar to me. I've felt it lately.
    Can almost smell and taste the peaches. Peach trees don't grow here but there are several varieties of blackberry growing wild, enough for everyone to have some. Lots of apples and pears. I will have a new doctor soon, too. The last two have been young women and the next one is a young woman. I'm guessing she will be just as good as the previous two.

  3. Thanks for checking in here...I agree with everything Robin said. I could tell you my sad story about doctors and tests and insurance, but I'll put it over on my own blog. I was glad to hear our President call some governors as bullies who aren't letting schools require masks on children. Stay safe.

  4. Fascinating. I assume these disagreements are always conducted over the phone and an old-fashioned one at that. (I should explain I've finally been won over to smartphones because they're higher-fi than landlines and my hearing is deteriorating) Neither your father nor the panhandling cousin sound like guys who would regard newish technology with a welcoming smile. One might dream about an unlikely eventuality whereby both are subjected to conversation via Skype and that you were able to further ornament these exchanges with references to the expressions on their faces. But I take it that is never likely to happen.

    My dear (a felicitation I use greatly daring, and because I'm much much older) you are many things but never a wimp. But that doesn't mean you're disinclined to employ the Straw Man Strategy. You say you expected to feel "hugely rejected and misunderstood" but I say never in this world. A world where it's the others who are inevitably out of step. You've caused me to dwell on the therapeutic benefits of quite acerbic argument. I am strongly of the belief that growing old has made me less able to handle stress. Also that stress is to be found in lesser and lesser matters. Admittedly you're a generation short of my age but I was warmed by the words "I am actually relieved". You've suffered, I know, but au fond, you still still seem iron-clad.

    Given your propensities let me add the split infinitive was used deliberately and I am quite insistent about this.

  5. Your father is a case study in narcissism. Well, from this perspective.
    I live in fear that my beloved GP will decide that being a family doctor is not enough for him and will move along to something else.
    Congratulations on no longer being dependent on fossil fuels! Hurray! And the planet says "thank you."

  6. Well I don't blame you for wanting to sit out that family gathering, and I'm surprised your father couldn't understand your reasoning. (Or perhaps just didn't want to.) I hope the GP proves a worthy successor. At least you have a regular GP. Every time I go to my doctor's office I see someone different! (They have a whole stable of people, many who seem to rotate through in fairly quick order.)

  7. your father is an ass but we know that. were it me I wouldn't call or take his calls. why subject myself to rudeness and rejection. but you're a better person than I. I went through several GPs when my fav retired. I do like the one I have now.

  8. Sorry about the afib, I used to have some sort of arrhythmia and it was just terrible. Here's hoping yours will subside and stay there. As far as your Dad goes, he's totally unreasonable and I'm so happy you aren't going. It's difficult when family members won't vaccinate, I'm biting my tongue to keep from telling ours to quit being stupid.

  9. So my husband and I both see a primary care physician who is retiring and we were on the verge of switching to the new one in his practice - only to find out he was freaking unvaccinated! What the hell?

  10. The problem with age is that it so often wrecks our frontal lobe which is responsible for executive functions, empathy included. My mum was the same with my brain damaged sister. It was funny with those two actually. My sister and my mum both ended up without empathy or kindness for each other because of damage to their brains and it didn't matter what I said to them.

    Your dad is an old man who only thinks of himself, in part because of his altered brain function. I don't know what he was like when he was younger, maybe he's always been like that.

    I'm glad you didn't end up going. Glad you have a new doctor, hopefully it works out. A fib doesn't usually go away on it's own. I have patients who tell me they don't have high blood pressure but if I ask them if they take medication, they say yes. They still have high blood pressure but their meds are working.

    Take care woman. Sending hugs.

  11. Am sure it's difficult to not have more appreciation of your health issues from your father but I guess you've come to know that's the attitude you'll encounter if he's always been like that. On the other hand, if he wasn't always like this expect it might reflect some changes in his mental functions. Either way expect it's unrealistic to entertain the thought he'll change so hope you're able let go of that idea somehow -- easier said than done.

    I had to change doctors some years ago when my older doctor died so know it isn't always easy. Our health care delivery has changed somewhat in recent years, too. Guess we just have to adjust to all the changes and new medical people we encounter -- mine are all younger than me now. Hope your new doctor proves to be really good for you.