The Visitor

Several times, after a medical procedure requiring anesthesiology, I have visions. They are probably a combination of Parkinson’s and drug aftermath. On 7/14/15 I posted a poem (Vision) in which I attempted to describe the experience. This time, after my back surgery, I do so in pros.

A faceless diaphanous form stood in the doorway to my room. I lay in bed unafraid, absorbing the way that everything moved in unison. Light from a full moon streamed in through the window.  It cast shadows across the floor; to dance in tune with the essence of the figure in the doorway. As I watched I realized that the presence had no body; that it was a thing comprised solely of sheer drapery, so light, so white, so ethereal that it billowed and swirled. My guest neither advanced nor retreated. I watched, letting nocturnal silence wrap both of us in its arms. Even as I absorbed the peace of the night I became vaguely aware of the sound of a clock ticking somewhere in another room. At times, my visitor raised a long arm and gave a beckoning movement. I contemplated responding to this gesture but just as I was about to rise from my bed a cloud passed across the moon, the room darkened and the clock struck two. I reached out and grabbed a flash light. I flicked it on for I now wished to see my visitor’s face. Instantly the form vanished, in its stead I saw a white door frame.

I turned off the light and dozed off. I awoke when the clock chimed three. My visitor was back but this time a wolf-like face with piercing eyes gazed at me. This bodiless head was so close that I quivered in expectation. I wondered whether the long snout would open for me to see a row of fangs or to allow a long tongue to emerge and lick me. All the while the piercing cold eyes held mine in a fathomless stare which seemed to invite union. I shivered and pulled my comforter up over my shoulders. My movement disturbed my visitor. The head dissolved and I realized that it was an illusion made up of a garment flung over the handlebar of my walker beside my bed.

Sleep eluded me as I contemplated the simple explanations to my visions. I lay on my back with my eyes open looking into the moonlit shadows above me.  I still heard the distant clock ticking the passage of time; its regularity and normalcy reassured me.  After a while I noticed that the air was limpid and teemed with swirls of living light. This time I craved contact and reached upward. One of the swirls wound itself around my hand. A surge of recognition and joy pulsated through my frame. I instantly knew that this thing was my recently deceased friend, Amanda. She conveyed content and happiness as she urged union. I continued to reach upward and experienced a wave of light-headedness mingled with elation. Suddenly the moment was eclipsed by a loud crash and flash of lightning. For a moment, I wondered if this was how one transitioned into the spiritual world but the sound of rain upon the roof brought me back to my world. The rainstorm soothed and I slept.



The sulk syndrome

Recently, the AFP (American Family Physician) carried an article submitted by Dr. K.. The doctor’s full name is withheld at this time at Dr. K.’s request. The article reports findings gathered by Dr. K. over thirty years. If the doctor’s facts and analysis prove accurate, they may change medicine’s approach to many treatments and cures, particularly those in which the patient requires pain medication. Given the recent spate of celebrity deaths associated with painkillers this discovery should be heaped with accolades.

Dr. K.’s S.U.L.K. stands for Stiff Upper Lip as discovered by, himself, Dr. K. He reports it to be a condition most often associated with persons of English heritage, particularly those born and raised in England. The sulk is manifested by a paralyzed upper lip. The reader can experience a similar paralysis by placing a thumb firmly upon their upper lip; thereafter, it will be found that, any attempt to smile, frown, or experience emotion, associated with facial expression, is thwarted. As an aside, the irony that a person who is sulking has a like facial expression may, or may not, have been Dr. K.’s intent when he coined the acronym.

According to Dr. K.’s research results, persons with sulk syndrome report pain and discomfort on a reduced, completely different scale from the public at large. Where most patients might rank pain as a seven or eight on a scale of one to ten the sulk syndrome patient generally says, “I’m fine.” When pressed to use the pain schedule those with sulk report a two, or maximum three on the same scale.

In summary, Dr. K. finds that sulk syndrome persons tend to suffer less and recover faster from bacterial ailments and surgeries than their counterparts with normal upper lip function. He, therefore, postulates that the upper lip has a unique role in contributing to recovery and proposes that all patients experiencing chronic pain, undergoing surgery, taking courses of antibiotics or undergoing cancer treatment, first be given a facial Botox injection to induce sulk syndrome upper lip paralysis.


Good design.

Recently ‘Urban  Home” invited the Texas female AIA fellows to meet with them to discuss architecture and to define “good design”. The link below will take you to their site. If you are interested follow the link and be sure to click on ‘download pdf’ to get the whole article with images.

My response to describe good design is as follows:

To paraphrase Sir Denys Lasdun, “Good design is when the client gets, not what he said that he wanted, but what he never even dreamt that he needed!” Good design is so much more than aesthetics. Of course it includes form, and response to the site, but function and economy are equally important. In addition, if a client knows exactly what he wants, then he doesn’t need an architect; he needs a good builder. Good design also includes a meticulous attention to the use of materials and details so that the construction awes at every level.