So Sue Me

So Sue Me 

Although writing this column is enlightening for me, the author, and I hope for you my much-loved readers — the elect, the favored few, the discerning ones – tonight I simply can’t.  I’m all out of moxie.  Exhausted.  Spent.  Empty as a drunk-up soda bottle made of plastic.  Kaput.  It’s over, friends.

We came home late – and I mean lights out and in bed by 4:00 a.m. – after what was, in the favorable and the unfavorable senses, a helluva trip.  We went to California for five days, to undergo an innovative new treatment for my neuropathy.  Since that condition first set in about two decades back, it gradually got worse till, in recent months, it began to go down a steeper hill faster.

I don’t need to tell you how many types of purported cure I’ve tried.  When you’re desperate, there ain’t too much you won’t try.

I paid a nice Polish woman, who advertised as a superior pray-er, to pray for me.  She really was a good pray-er.  While she was praying, I felt the presence of God, real, near and loving.  Some key insights came through too, apparently from God.  But it didn’t cure my neuropathy.

I paid a French psychic to do her thing.  She was, for a time, seemingly the real deal.  I had a tendency to get styes on my eyelids.  That cleared up.  No more styes.  When our home got infested by flies, she gave me a mantra to repeat 100 times a day.  The flies flew away.  Smart flies.  Who knows what was in that mantra?  But the neuropathy stayed.

And I had nothing against mainstream medical care.  I went to a total of four “top-rated” neurologists.  They diagnosed MS, Parkinson’s, arrested MS, idiopathic peripheral neuropathy (this after precise testing of neurons and muscles), and atrophy of the walking capability because we live in car country now.  All through these dark diagnostic clouds, the neuropathy persisted.

Evangelical Christian friends prayed for me with all their heart.  Nada.

Even my co-religionists prayed.  Nada.

I saw four different physical therapists.

And a past life therapist.  Need I go on?  You get the picture.

Then last September, at the Ontario, California airport, Jerry went to ask for a wheelchair for me.

“What’s wrong with your wife?” said the dispatcher lady.

“Neuropathy,” replied Jerry.

“Oh.  My husband suffered from neuropathy for years and he’s been greatly helped by a treatment that’s only offered at one hospital in the whole country: Loma Linda Hospital in California.”  Then she was gone, to help other customers (or to unfold her wings and fly back to her Home On High?).

The treatment has only been offered in a clinical setting since June of 2017.  So, short of sending Someone to tell me to take up my bed and walk, the Lord had no earthly instruments available much earlier than the date, two months later, when we first heard of it.

I won’t go into the week of five treatments from which we just returned.  For reasons irrelevant to the treatments, it was a week filled to the brim with close calls.  Here’s one, just to give you the flavor.

I was trying to put together a sandwich on the gluten-free bread to which I am now restricted, with filler ingredients supplied by the workers behind the store counter.  For hygienic reasons, they do not use any bread not supplied by the management, which was why I had to assemble the sandwich myself.  As I opened their tiny tube of mayonnaise, it squirted all over my French windbreaker jacket.  The jacket is the kind you see in old, grainy French movies with Michelle Morgan and Gérard Philipe.  Nobody makes ‘em like that any more.  It’s irreplaceable.  Although Jerry has once again proved his love by finding a dry cleaner with the skills to restore its temporarily-lost glory, I of course couldn’t know that as we set forth.  We hadn’t boarded the plane yet.  It was the first day of our trip.  You get the idea.

 The whole week was like that.

It’ll be a slow, uphill climb, involving strenuous home exercise and a number of return trips to Loma Linda.  

I am getting better.

But I am all shook up.

About Abigail

Abigail Rosenthal is Professor Emerita of Philosophy, Brooklyn College of CUNY. She is the author of A Good Look at Evil, a Pulitzer Prize nominee, now available in an expanded, revised second edition. Its thesis is that good people try to live out their stories while evil people aim to mess up good people’s stories. Her next book, Confessions of a Young Philosopher, forthcoming, provides multiple illustrations from her own life. She writes a weekly column for her blog, “Dear Abbie: The Non-Advice Column” (www.dearabbie-nonadvice.com) where she explains why women's lives are highly interesting. She’s the editor of the posthumously published Consolations of Philosophy: Hobbes’s Secret; Spinoza’s Way by her father, Henry M. Rosenthal. Her next book project will be Conversations with My Father, the "Genius" Among the Giants. Some of her articles can be accessed at https://brooklyn-cuny.academia.edu/AbigailMartin . She is married to Jerry L. Martin, also a philosopher. They live in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
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