How to live with uncertainty.
Mostly I say: just keep going. Mostly I think of Marie Howe’s words: here, lean closer so I can see you. I think of Jane Kenyon’s words: How much better it is to carry wood to the fire than to moan about your life.
That didn’t cut it yesterday. That’s not cutting it today.
None of this is surprising. You go to the doctor, and hope rises like a balloon. An answer, a prognosis, a treatment. Something to work with. But only more tests, more theories, more maybes. Hope floats away like a balloon.
In waiting rooms, in doctors’ offices, there is time that I call The White Room. Everything is slow. Everything is in between. You are at an airport waiting for a flight. There is nowhere else to be and nothing else to do. There may be a disaster just around the bend, but here and now everyone will speak in measured tones, everyone will be washed and shaven, there will be the click of heels and the scent of disinfectant.
And then you go home. And then there are no women in expensive clothes and lab coats, or middle-aged men with soft eyes in khakis and wedding rings. There is what there always is: the sink stained black from mold that predates you and will not yield even to repeated bleachings. The email you won’t open; the call you won’t return. There is your neck aching as it holds up your head and your hands complaining as you brush, tie, type, button and unbutton.
I want something to do. Waiting for tests results is not something. I can’t even schedule the damn MRI yet because I have to wait for insurance to approve it. Of course I am depressed: I can’t act. I feel trapped. I’m helpless. There is nothing for me to do.
I read about the tests: Lyme, though I’ve never had a tick bite or rash. Hepatitises, though I have no symptoms, and no risk factors since my last test. An HLA B27 genetic test, though I don’t have back pain. Maybe it’s just overuse, my OT says, but this doesn’t fit either.
I know, I know. I adjust. Maybe the next week waiting for test results will be like this. Maybe I’ll feel better by tomorrow. There isn’t much to do about that. Just keep going as much as I can.
And how? There is coffee, of course. Maybe slip a pill from my stock pile. Maybe sit and work on something I want to work on, and work up some energy, some care.
I told Matthew that I pray sometimes, too, but short prayers. “Just one word, actually,” I tell him. He is above me on the couch, clothed, my hands are on his blue and white prayer beads and we are high, high, high, on contact, frustration, novelty, the gaze. “Help?” he asks. “Please,” I tell him.
My prayers, I’m sure, look nothing like his. Just words said against a window. Just despair contained in six letters. I imagine him praying, davening, rocking, the beads moving through his hands. I don’t know what that means.
That is true. That is also diversion.
So, what now?
Can I just rest? Can I just wait it out? Can someone else work and cook and clean and shower and brush? Can someone else button and unbutton while I sleep it out? All I want to do is sleep, dishevel, and be disheveled.