Sunday, November 2, 2014


After Embudo before the canyon ends

We went to a new doctor in Espanola Wednesday. Dr. Narayanan seems very sharp, and he curses at his computer when he loses data from a bad internet connection, just the way PQ swears at bad drivers, and would do if he used the internet. Our reason for going was to learn about a new trial drug for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. However, we discovered we would have to do an update on PQ’s condition.

The new doctor considers PQ a lucky man to still be alive and to have made it for over seven years with minimal problems. He also informed us of some facts about lung transplants that were new information, and warned us that any medication has risks that must be weighed against the risk of doing nothing.  So, no miracles but more information and the opinion that having lived so long since being diagnosed is remarkable in itself. Also, few transplant patients make it beyond five years and the medications for suppressing the immune system and yet cope with the communal oxygen source we all share are very toxic to the body, extremely expensive and would involve living near the transplant center. This option is beyond our capabilities, even if we wanted to go that route, and now it doesn’t seem very attractive. By this reckoning, if PQ had a lung transplant when it was originally proposed it might have killed him by this time. Besides his life’s purpose and our shared life is not merely to survive while attached to a treatment center.

Dr. Lakshmi-Narayanan is very sharp and personable and in addition to giving us some new information, told us the story of his coming to Espanola. While working in New York, he researched for available positions in places that had an Indian community. He discovered an available opening at the hospital in Espanola New Mexico and decided to take it. He and his wife arrived in New Mexico and as they approached Espanola, they thought they had accidentally crossed the border and were alarmed that they didn’t have their passports with them. Then after arriving in Espanola, they discovered that there was in fact a large Indian community but made up of Native American Indians.  He thought he would work in Espanola for a year, possibly two and then move somewhere else, but that was either five or seven years ago (memory lapse on my part). Consequently, the Land of Enchantment snagged another victim!
Rio Grande Gold

We know there is some meaning to this disease. It has certainly changed our life and our expectation about life. For me it is an uncomfortable irony that after all the years I waited for PQ he would have a potentially deadly illness hanging over every life decision when finally we got together. The other side of this is that it probably has changed his entire outlook on life. 

As a type A person he is a much more patient (except in traffic) and compassionate person than he was earlier in life. I find my own hopes and expectations in life also changing radically. We are elders now, and to me that indicates it is time to filter the essential possibilities from many hopes and dreams that crowded our attention in earlier times.

We both feel there is much to be learned from this disease while learning about it and I have a sense that there is something just over the next hill that will come into view. It is easy to be discouraged and worry about the future as the path narrows and the climb becomes more challenging. Just when we are barely getting one foot in front of another, it seems that more unexpected expenses are ambushing us from behind each hidden stone and shrub along our path making the journey more challenging. I can only accept that I’m in training to have more trust in a power that nevertheless seems to provide us with just what we need to keep going. Learning a Medicine Path seems to require a personal process of failure or disease in order to reveal its essence and power. I’m gradually waking to the recognition that life is about this Medicine Path. Healing holds and then gradually reveals the mysteries of life. Although time by its nature diminishes our range, it provides us with the necessary stage for each act in our cosmic journey.

Tonight is All Souls Night at the Pueblo. PQ is feeling a bit guilty that we aren’t formally acknowledging it and yet I noticed that it intruded on my thoughts all day as it did his. I just finished Reading Mabel Dodge Lujan’s autobiography and the past and its people seem unusually present. My grandparents came through very clearly as more than a memory and it seemed very strange that all the people who make up our ancestors generations past are people that we will never know on this dimension and they will never know us.  However, I feel that the consciousness that they represented continues to circulate through each generation. And yet, I would still like to time travel and meet them personally.