09 October 2022

It's a slow exhausting slog, this recovery from pneumonia. This time, the impact of the immune suppression shot (a pen injection every two weeks on a Friday evening) is textbook obvious. It sets me one step back to the two steps I made toward getting better every time. Talk about the stuff of a rock and hard place etc.

My father is on the slow path of his systems shutting down. Kidney failure, beginning pneumonia, water in his lungs, imminent congestive heart failure. The way an old body will cease to work. He is comfortable and bored, the carers put him in his wheelchair and on good days, he is angry enough to shout for someone to push him around but mostly, he is just drowsily looking into the far distance. He is now confusing me with my sister-in-law and strange as it may sound, this feel liberating. The few times, I managed to talk to him on the phone, he was, Sabine? Sabine who? Out of sight, out of mind.

I am not allowed to visit while on antibiotics and I am debating whether I should in any case, finding excuses  listing my reasons why it makes sense to avoid the 4+ hour trip (each way). At least I am already the black sheep of the family, so this will not come as a shock to my siblings. I fully disappoint, as expected.

Other than that, there's a war to the east of us, coming closer, or so it seems. We have been following the BBC's Ukrainecast podcast, a mixture of explanation and personal testimony (also available on spotify, apple and many other platforms).

For dictators, freedom, an open society, the individual pursuit of happiness of people must never be successful. That is why Putin started this war, because dictators fear freedom. And that is why he must not win this war, because that would mean that dictators can attack freedom successfully again and again.

Human rights and democracy are an indispensable core of international relations, not luxury issues. They are not secondary or subordinate, they apply not only sometimes, not only when it costs nothing, when it burdens no one, but always. 

Totally unrelated musical interlude:

05 October 2022


You let the logs burn long enough so they made a space between them. You gotta keep the fire new. Every piece of wood needs a companion to keep it burning. Now push them together. Not too much. They also need that air. Get them close, but not on top of each other. Just a light connection all the way along. Now you’ll see a row of even flames.

Louise Erdrich, The Sentence, last chapter

I cried reading the last chapter. I have never read a book that made me cry until now. I also whispered thank you when I closed it. Also not something I have ever done before. I didn't enjoy most of the book, found it hard to get into it but as with all of her novels, I eventually could not stop reading.

What do you get when you travel to the seaside, spend most of your time sleeping, but insist on walking on the beach on your last day? Pneumonia.

But wait, there's antibiotics and also, marriage, which means a man who bakes his secret recipe semolina strawberry crumble to cheer you up.