Hypervigilance & Help
by Phoenix Boulay ~ Dec. 10, 2016
Clearly I have not been keeping up with the backlog of things I’d like to post and normally DO post…it’s been quite a week of unexpected events and plot twists! This post alone has taken days to write. My apologies. Between a week ago Thursday and last Monday Dad had a series of heart-related procedures down in Florida, including an attempt at TAVR
…which had to be aborted due to a calcium blockage in the artery. This resulted in a sudden change of plans and reassessment after the failure of this least invasive procedure, which was plan A. After a weekend at home to put his papers in order and pay bills, etc, Dad went in early Monday for Plan B: Open Heart Surgery, alas!
We are grateful that he is recovering well, better and faster than most, but has long road ahead. For the family, it was a lot of stress, group emails and discussions, since we had no warning of his decision after 2 years of trying to sort it out due to another health issue that diminished his usual stamina. His 5 kids live up here in Massachusetts, and he lives most of the year down in Florida with his wife, who was in it alone until my kid brother showed up. He was able to fly down for 2 days, but his wife is pregnant with Dad’s first grandchild, so he needs to stay up here now.
Some are hoping to make it down once he’s out of the strict ICU, into the regular hospital area and rehab during his long recovery, but I haven’t had a real vacation or trip anywhere since 2007. I work for myself doing massage, and pick up some subcontract corporate chair massage gigs. My work tends to be spread over 7 days (many of my clients get 90-min Deep Tissue bodywork sessions!), so I seldom get a full day off, much less a real vacation or time or money to go anywhere! We’ll see… for now, I just pray and send Archangel Michael to stand guard.
I’d love to show you a photo of Dad, he looks good before and after surgery, but my family doesn’t like that short of thing, so I must respect that. Suffice it to say, he has had a better social life in his 80’s than I do in my 50’s, and I look forward to hearing that he is out dancing again on a Saturday night. I need to wok on that myself, as ever since moving back from California, I very seldom go dancing any more. 😦
I lived in the SF Bay Area for 28 years and was involved with the dance/arts/rave community which we all know suffered horrific loss in the Oakland fire tragedy. Some of my friends lost multiple friends and are devastated, unable to function, weeping and sick with a flu-like overwhelm. Meanwhile, people living in similar circumstance are deeply worried that after years of being pushed out by gentrification, a clamp-down in communal spaces could leave them with even fewer options to actually have a roof over their heads, rather than join the legions living in tents because they can’t afford the outrageous rents or compete with tech salaries for lease options. I can’t even deal with seeing the nasty aspects of human nature that have arisen, lashing out at others in the same “family”. Clearly none of us have the entire picture, so I listened to 2 women with pain and anguish on their faces talk about their narrow escape, and the larger issues related to the discussion this event has sparked. Insightful and sobering.
Survivors Nikki Kelber and Carmen Brito describe the horrific scene inside the converted Oakland warehouse where they lived as they fled for their lives and tried to help others escape the building where dozens died in a fire late Friday night: http://www.nbcbayarea.com/on-air/as-seen-on/RAW_-Two-Survivors-of-Deadly-Oakland-Warehouse-Fire-Describe-the-Scene-Inside_Bay-Area-404676316.htm
There are many fundraisers, many where you can dance through your pain while raising money for fire victims and families:
(God Bless and Protect the Brave Firefighters!)
There are always too many fires in winter, it seems. Here on the East Coast this past weekend, there also was a massive fire in Cambridge, MA that spread to multiple buildings, fortunately it occurred in the daytime. Hundreds of people lost their homes and everything they owned, but miraculously no one was killed or even hurt badly. Somebody put up a GoFundMe page and in the first hour raised $10,000 in donations, and before I went to bed that night, they had already raised $200,000.00. The current amount raised so far is $584,277 of $500k goal.
Then there was the firestorm in Gatlinburg Tennessee, which wreaked huge destruction of over 1700 homes and 14 deaths. Communities are devastated.
It turned out to be arson, alas. There are numerous fundraising efforts here:
and more information about toy drives, etc. here:
Every day it seems that there was at least 1 or 2 or 3 local fires. Carbon Monoxide deaths and house fires are a rather frightening aspect of winter in a cold climate. Be sure to do an annual battery check on these life-saving devices, and learn to recognize symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning in order to summon help in time. http://www.kidde.com/home-safety/en/us/co-safety/carbon-monoxide-alarm-faqs/
For whatever reason, it seems like there is quite a cleansing going on, yet there have also been moments of inspiration and unexpected joy, like when the Veterans arrived like the Calvary to support and protect the #NoDAPL Water Protects at Standing Rock,
It was an incredible day because not long after that, official word came from The Army Corps of Engineers that they had denied easement permits to DAPL. There were celebrations that night at camp by those who had endured the worst of it: