*** I wrote this blog entry this weekend in Spokane, and now I am back in L.A. I read the comments on my last entry and I'm so happy that here are other Bravo reality show junkies out there! I am into Make Me A Supermodel too - even though I really, really hate that show. Mulan is the one who makes me watch it. (See how I blame her?) Anyway, here's my entry today **
I am in Spokane, visiting my mother, who is recovering from a surgery to her foot, and she is in a wheelchair. My brother, who broke his back last summer after falling backwards off of a tool case while changing a light bulb, (hospital for months, five surgeries, walks slowly with a cane now and still recovering) is living with my mother and caring for her. My mother got MRSA while she was in the hospital – which is that horrible Superbug that is mostly anti-biotic resistant, and she has to be on this specialized super-specific-anti-biotic drip for an hour a day and my brother Bill is administering the drip. He’s gotten good at it. That’s because while he was in the hospital in Seattle, he also got MRSA (!) and had to be on a drip for several months. He also had to have many surgeries where they opened him up and put these anti-biotic beads right on the infection (in his back – ug!) Now he’s taking care of my mom. MRSA is really scary. For example, more people die from MRSA infections in the U.S. than from AIDS. (Now if I were online right now, I would go check if that were true, but my doctor told me that.) Not all hospitals test for it when patients arrive. I know Cedars does, in Los Angeles. According to my mother’s nurse who was here when we arrived in Spokane yesterday, it’s not contagious unless someone actually touches the open wound, or if the person has MRSA in their lungs, which means they could cough and someone else could get it that way. While I had the flu last month, I did a lot of reading about MRSA. I’m tell you, MRSA is so frightening.
So, we can’t do much, because my mom is in the wheelchair. But we did manage to go downtown to the movies last night. Mulan and I saw “Horton Hears A Who.” My mother saw “The Other Boleyn Girl” in the theater next door. We wheeled her in, and I am so appreciative of those wheel chair spaces now – for parking and for movies. Mulan and I absolutely loved “Horton.” She was laughing so hard – truly guffawing, big deep belly laughs. It’s really a great movie and adults will like it too. I would see it again. And it looks fabulous and it moves along and it’s really funny.
This is what I’m thinking about on the religion front lately, which is this: how it’s so useful and why it evolved. Well, I guess I’m always thinking about that, but I am turning over a certain aspect of it now. I think that’s because I have been marveling of late over the migration of humans. Michael, Mulan and I all had our DNA tested by this National Geographic migration of humans thing (you can find out about it on their website.) They test the mitochondria of your dna – which runs through the female line, mother to children – the father’s mitochondria doesn’t get inherited. This way they can follow a path of migration from Africa, through the world, through the mother’s line. (Men can get their Y chromosome tested, too, as well as their mitochondria.) Anyway, I found it to be really interesting and since we got our results back – all of ours were typical and no surprises for our race or heritage – I’ve been thinking about humans on the move.
As a species, we are so migrating-y. I’ve been musing about how many people, in the history of our species, picked up and left and never saw their parents again (or friends or loved ones) and how did they do it? Just think of how many generations of this – pre-phones and pre-mail, and pre-knowledge even of what was ahead. The terrifying decisions to setout, the millions of times this has happened, the slow and random and deliberate and desperate and determined journey. And they would never see their loved ones again. And likely die along the way because there was so little knowledge of what lied ahead. I mean, a lot of the time.
I have been thinking of more recent history too; and about my own genetic history, which is predominantly Irish. So many of my relatives left Ireland, never to see their country again, never to look in the face of their parents again. And how typical that really is – how traveling we (as a species) are, how daring and brave and probably stupid too. And anyway, I have just been thinking about that a lot.
And then that made me think about faith and belief and I imagine that if you believed you were going to see your loved ones again, somehow, someway, after death, in some enlightened place, well, the leaving would be much, much easier. If we didn’t believe in reunions after death and fate and destiny and all that – well, we might not have traveled all that far.
I have been reading a lot lately about those recent experiments – about the placebo effect in regards to the price of painkillers. They gave patients with pain two pills – both of which were sugar pills which did nothing at all – and one pill cost a low price and one pill cost a high price and the high priced pill gave significantly more relief than the lower priced pill. This kind of study – while its results are not surprising to me, are deeply unsettling. It makes me ask questions of myself – like about my own skepticism. I am still on the fence over whether it has really enhanced my life in some ways. In some ways it definitely has – on balance it is a great thing. But believing in something – which this study proves is real – can deliver real physiological effects. And, well, it all just makes me think about, well – all of that.
Today we are going to go to a tux shop to rent a tux for my brother for the wedding and we are going to the carousel downtown and probably to Auntie’s Bookstore where Mulan wants to get a book about dinosaurs. And it’s the St. Patrick’s Day parade today here too.
Okay, I wrote that this morning. Now my mother and my brother and I are in a big discussion about generic drugs. My mother says she believes the name brand drugs do work better. She really believes they do. She thinks that the name brand drugs come from companies that are more reliable and care more about their products having the accurate, quality ingredients. And so naturally she feels they work better. Hmmm… I don’t know if that is an elaborate excuse or a good reason to get name brand and not generic.
I can say this, believing is useful. So, the question becomes, how far do you want to look into something that is working for you if you believe it? It’s not just about religion, it pervades everything.