The Unexpected Present

Full Moon Rising Just Before Dawn

Yuri in Easton

The full moon rising just before dawn, a super moon, cast its blessings on us and dawned a new stage. After spiralling downward, mired in environmental hazards, medical missteps, and palliative care pushing advanced directives, doctors shrugged at a broken healthcare system, proffering drugs and devices to extend human existence. We are not accepting “It is what it is.”

In the weeks following Yuri’s escape from a horrifying rehab scene, we had to convalesce and find the recovery route that suited us. We isolated and rested. Sleep needs to become a priority because our brains do the necessary repairs while we sleep. For a time, I didn’t think Yuri’s brain ever got to do repairs because of the lack of sleep/rest in hospital settings.

Apathy from nurses appearing on the verge of burnout expressed their beliefs that hospitals are not quiet or a place to rest after a traumatic illness/experience. It shocked me, but I told them that way of thinking was unacceptable. That’s why I took Yuri home. And became his health recovery activities director.

I had no idea how to begin. It was overwhelming. Like a tsunami, there was no time to think; I just kept to the schedule: medications, doctor appointments, outpatient treatments, and physical therapy interspersed with internal household and transportation maintenance, all within the parameters I could control. I cannot control Maryland’s industrial agricultural complex that is wreaking havoc on our health and wellbeing, including our cat, Nell, who has become the canary in the coal mine. Seeing her decline since our move five months ago is worrisome.

The cornfields will be cut down soon, and the well water surrounded by those cornfields is contaminated with pesticides. The town issued a Consumer Confidence Report in 2021 advising that “some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immunocompromised persons with immune system disorders, elders, can be particularly at risk from infection.” Duh. Now, I buy water for our consumption–drinking, cooking, and filling Nell’s water dish.

A few weeks ago, an ad in the local Tidewater Trader headline read: Rural Increase in Low-Flying Planes During Fall Cover Crop Planting. A Maryland Department of Agriculture reminder of aerial seeding, “an efficient way to plant cover crops on fields to recover any leftover nutrients from summer crops… small planes will take off from local airports serving the county or region.”

How this will affect the air quality is not mentioned. Still, In 2020, “the Maryland Pesticide Education Network convened a subcommittee of its Smart on Pesticides members who shared a concern on the impact on farm workers required to apply pesticides for Maryland’s agriculture industry. It soon became apparent that the hazards for Maryland’s food workers–poultry workers and crab pickers—and farmworkers extended far further.”

What about the residents in the polluted and over-chemicalized areas surrounding small-town communities? There is no comprehensive policy warning for people retiring from noisy, congested areas to living in a beautiful locale replete with art and culture. Who knew a place of peace and serenity, Ospreys, and Great Blue Herons could be so hazardous to your health that you could die from it? I’m waiting for another Silent Spring book to send an alarm ripple along the Chesapeake Bay’s Eastern Shore.

These days there are fewer times when I stay awake most of the night, listening to Yuri’s breathing and keeping my fingers on his pulse. Slowly, methodically, we are moving in the right direction. However, it sometimes feels like we take a step forward only to return a step or two backward.

Sometimes, I’m giddily optimistic, only to be thwarted by the shadows of fear and despair. Sometimes, I feel fatigue setting in, and I don’t want to talk to anyone, but then I hear voices of friends reminding me of self-care. Bringing me back from the edge, I will make time to write back to emails and updates and pick up where I left off writing a memoir.

The full moon rising in Aries sets the stage for the next act. I may have to move heavy furniture sometime soon. In search for a doctor well versed in Functional Medicine who will take insurance. Yesterday, we had an outing to a lovely salon in Easton after serendipitously getting appointments for personal-reviving haircuts.

Yuri is looking good. I have a regimen for him to keep moving. His strength is coming back. While his voice remains weak (that’s why he’s not answering phone calls) compared to what it was as a vocal instrument, we’re working on it for him to sing again one day soon. Until then, stay the course. Keep the faith.

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