10 October 2011

Flooding, Rains, and the Ailments of Aging

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The recent severe flooding in Thailand only gets worse. Entire provinces are complete disaster areas, people have been killed or have had their homes destroyed, and the great historical temples and museums of old Ayutthaya up-river have been overflowed. Here in greater Bangkok, our worst high water will peak around 16-18 October when the main water volume flows south to us. Yesterday, Tuk and I were in a taxi coming home, and the driver made a bad navigation decision; he took us into side streets in a heavily flooded area, and I could both hear and feel the water hitting against the underneath of the floor of the taxi. It was slow going but we made it. Our house still appears to be safe. But in the other danger areas I have seen more people filling sandbags than I’ve ever seen since Hill 55 in Vietnam in the autumn of 1969.
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The monsoon rainy season is supposed to be over, since the official end of the monks’ three-month Rains Retreat is the full moon of Wednesday the 12th, Pavarana, marking the traditional end of the wet monsoon in South and Southeast Asia in a tradition going all the way back to the Buddha almost two and a half millennia ago. But it still rains. I must admit that a hard downpour adds a brief respite to this constant god-awful heat. But there is too much water!
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As for my personal health, today’s hospital visit confirmed that thrombosis is the diagnosis for my ongoing leg problem for the last six weeks. The ultrasound spotted a few clots down in my ankle area, and I am seeing a hematologist in a few days for a follow-up. I am back to almost normal, with no pain, and I can walk quite fast and far. Stay tuned.
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My father-in-law has been sick lately, but has bounced back somewhat. He fell on a wet slippery cement slope – twice – and his hip and leg cause him intense pain. He was hospitalized for a couple of days for tests (no broken bones) and for treatment of a spike in Blood Pressure, which was perhaps related to the pain. He is now staying at Tuk’s brother’s house, but Tuk is the one most concerned about seeing to his care. I checked his B/P today with my own B/P cuff, and his reading is now much better than my own normal B/P. He is still in pain and still lame, but we are finding equipment to aid his ability to move around. I was amazed to see him sit in a half-lotus meditative position with the foot of his painful leg resting up on his opposite thigh, and this was most comfortable for him when sitting up! He is a wonderful man, a true sage. As a lifelong Buddhist, he knows that all of life is Dukkha and he takes it philosophically, but if anyone on this earth deserves to be free from suffering, it is him.
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This coming Friday, both father-in-law and I have medical appointments at the hospital. Tuk will be taking us there, worrying perhaps more than she has to. We old guys still have a lot of fight in us.
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-Zenwind.
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