Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Gaia in the waitingroom

My work as a bereavement counsellor brings me in touch with many people who have difficulties coming to terms with the effects of the loss of a person they loved very much in their lives. My previous work experience lies in crisis management.

Imagine how we would feel if we received a visit from Gaia, turning up rather feverish, wondering what is going on, looking dazed, unsure about the diagnosis. The temperature is erratic, she has definite moodswings and no one seems to take these symptoms to heart. Some dismiss them as mental behaviour that has been exhibited before ( like a case of bad PMT) and because she is the caregiver, and fulfills many other's needs, hers are often overlooked. How would you respond to such a person in your home?

I reflect on this question after a hospital appointment with an unexpected outcome. My health has been precarious just like Gaia over the last few years, and we have symptoms in common which gives me an empathy angle on her scenario.

How do we generally react to bad news; many go in shock and then denial. Others become extremely angry, or think that if they can but keep busy, the pain will go away, the fear will go away too.

So it could be with Gaia and me; we can both sit there and exhibit more moodswings, with the difference that mine are not likely to be of seismic proportions. Mine will be insignificant compared to hers. She has a fever and her temperature gauge is not quite normal. My reaction to today's news is a sort of numbness which will be followed by action ( and the odd moodswing I am sure, accompanied with cries of its not fair). I bet she does that too. although her tempestuous outbursts are noticed more widely.

The solution in managing a crisis from my experience has been not to only look how the symptoms of the crisis can be reduced or made more comfortable but to look at the causes and look for a solution in another level of existence. To work with physical muscle weakness in one side of my body, I have engaged with the creative which involves other parts of my brain that have not been fried as well as using knitting as a mechanism that was automatic to enable loose brain connections to reconnect. This has had some success.

I will continue to work this way even though the news today seems to indicate that another circuit is under threat which may mean the loss of one or other function. Shock, ofcourse, then I want a second opinion and some idea about what can be done to minimise the effects of this breakdown. How does Gaia feel? The strain on some circuits as well as temperature rises are pushing her to her limits too. A second opinion is however useless, she tells me, they have already done that to oblivion. How will she tell the ones she loves that if they do nothing, she will not last and neither will they. I feel another pang of empathy and nod.

The next step will either involve mankind falling into deep depression and gloom and doom about global change while others have the potential to become fearful for the future.

That could be my response too : I could give up now, say so be it and watch as another brain circuit goes out of action. Or, I can acknowledge that it is happening, I can work with the transition it is trying to persuade me to go into. I hesitate, I want things to be the way they were and am still stamping about saying its not fair. Then follows a moment where I wonder what it is that I can do, am reminded of the words :

If you believe that one small living creature cannot make a difference, spend time with a mosquito in a small room.

I have empathy with Gaia, but am hopelessly unqualified to provide her with an instant fix. She knows that the resources she spent millenia saving and preparing are being used up much faster than she can cope with. There is a loss of function, some areas will change and become redundant; some circuits and functions will shut down. We can feel very sad about that and feel helpless. On the other hand we could look at the circuits and functions that are working well ( like how we can capture the energy from a moodswing) and how we can turn that into a positive. Lets be mosquitos and engage with creativity to find another outcome.

For me, a piece of chocolate seems the answer right now as well as a nice piece of music to delight my ears. That way my optical senses will have rest and may not fry as soon as scheduled.

There can be miracles by Leon Jackson


Sian said...

I don't know what to say, but I didn't want to pass by and not say anthing. I am sorry for your news and I will pray for a miracle for you.

Anonymous said...

I would like to say I love your blog and will be thinking of you.

Anne said...

Thanks so much for your comments, they have cheered me immensely. Anne

Gillybean said...

Coming over here is like a thunderblot sometimes. Thinking of you and thinking of Gaia. I should come more often. Thank you, take care.