POSTCARD#293: New Delhi: Packing has started here, the rental agreement comes to an end 18th December, and we stay with our Japanese friends until 22nd December, then it’s goodbye everyone, we’re on a flight to Chiang Mai via Bangkok. Gone from India with all our possessions, after nearly seven years here. Gone too from this sweet little apartment – I want to have something to remember it by… steal some cutlery or a bath towel? Can’t do that, relinquishment… accept that that part of my mind where it once was, is now claimed by new tenants who walk around these rooms, saying; well, this is nice, thinking for a moment, who lived here before we came? Territorial self kicks in and it’s gone, bearing a new identity.
Gone is gone, but the PHN headache is with me again… a buzzing old fluorescent tube light that needs to be fixed but never gotten around to doing. Under the influence of powerful pain meds then, you could say, I’m writing to my future self about living here, in order to open a window on this thin slice of time, and revisit these rooms, the conversations and all that was said here, received, held, seen, nurtured… noticing the tendency for a particular memory to be displaced by the next moment of remembering… and on and on until sadly, the whole thing dissolves leaving no remainder.
But that hasn’t happened yet, events are still unfolding. On 26th December I go to the Pain Clinic in Bangkok to see the headache doc about a date for the next electrical pulsed needle into the right occipital nerve in the scalp. Until then, a malaise of discontent rules; flashes and flares in spurts and sparks nearly all through the day and waiting for me to wake up in the morning for the start of another day of jostling push and shove, tug and pull. Not writing much, only the wild lightning flickering of illegible words scribbled in notebooks, keyed in just before the crash and burn, and assimilated into the whole as it forms.
The present moment seems as if it is forever waiting in the transit lounge on the brink of becoming future time while engaged in contemplative pondering over the past. The present moment is always underway, and even if it feels like I have to hold it, tether it and adhere to it in single-mindedness, there’s no need because the present moment is inclusive of all of that too. I’m the one falling into and out of hypothetical mind states, spinning across the ceiling in speculative conjectures; a runaway from frightful things unforeseen – disaster movie showing it crashing through the restraints of planning; too much for the flimsy structure built to keep it in place… and I’m suddenly back in the present moment again.
We’re always only part the way through anything, anyhow and anyway at any time; here, there, or anywhere it’s always somehow incomplete, never reaching the end, letters I’ve written, never meaning to send – how could we reach that final completion and know what happens after that? Nobody ever came back from What Happens After That to say what it was like. All we can say is that the world, as we know it will come to an end eventually, collapsing like a dead star, matter reduced to an atom and gone in a flicker, a spark, pftt…
Or maybe it’ll be slower; bits start to fall off, clink, clatter, crash – you hardly notice it, and there’ll come a day when the Final Ending and all who sail in her begins to fall in on itself, as do great empires that have spanned the centuries, like castles made of sand, tumble to the sea eventually… but surprise-surprise, in another kind of temporality, the Final Ending rises with the waves on to the surface again and we can continue where we left off. It makes good sense to say that everything is subject to change, anicca and in the end there is no ending.
“We are like the dreamer who dreams and then lives in the dream.
This is true for the entire universe.” [Aitareya Upanishad (Inland Empire)]
Hi T, it’s always a pleasure to read of your comings and goings and your impressions with and without. I wish you the best as you traverse the next few weeks to Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Beyond. Again I am struck by the similarities we share with headaches. I was diagnosed with occipital neuralgia in May after some horrible ocular migraines. I was taken off all the asthma and migraine meds I’d been on and put on gabapentin as I believe you have been. I’m taking 900mg daily now and haven’t had a serious headache since. My condition supposedly originates from inflammation causing a pinched nerve in the neck. The gabapentin stops much of the inflammation that caused asthma and migraine, as well as other problems. I’m so glad your treatment helps, despite its obvious disruption to your life. Be well, my friend. My thoughts are with you.
Hi Sunny, good to hear from you again, yes it’s the beginning of the end in a manner of speaking. The countdown has started, 10 days to go and we’re on the plane. It’ll be a sad time, India has this entanglement with those who know it for a short time, like being a member of the family and hard to let go.
We’re on our way to Chiang Mai, ‘Bangkok and Beyond’, yes who knows what, after that. Bangkok is so different from Delhi – engaged with small things and you can be certain of the Thai response where you wouldn’t, in the same way with the Indian. It’ll be a relief for me to start the process with the Pain Clinic there where they know me from previous visits. The PRF procedure with the nerve will be in early January, so there’s not long to go.
I can’t remember if you said you’d tried PRF with your occipital neuralgia, the doc showed me a print out from the screen showing the inflammation of the nerve and explained that she was able to identify the optimum position of the electrical pulse that doesn’t destroy the nerve only stuns it. Anyway it sounds like things are fairly stable with you so far so good, and taking 900mg a day I’m on at least double that. The flaring of pain is like being hit by lightning and I have to take an extra dose on top of what is prescribed for this mumbling grumbling of headache going on all the time (that’s with the gabapentin) so much so that sometimes I can forget it’s there.
Gabapentin has a curious effect, treats other things you’d never expect it to, interesting that it stops asthma. So I’m glad there’s a medicine to treat PHN, can’t imagine what it was like to go through a single day without it. The weight gain and sleepy state is a side effect and that goes, as soon as the PRF treatment is done, here’s hoping it’ll be as effective as it was last time.
Thanks for your good wishes
Yes, great to read this as we say goodbye to upstate barn hopefully after some things ironed out legally. A roller coaster ride and my health gives way with each new shock wave. The migraines are minor compared to chest pain making shocks to the system. So caught up in the dream. Seeking an ending to the pain and as you say there is no end. Will reincarnate where we left off. I wish I could send you the marijuana oil that is legal here, the one available on Amazon. GABA was another suggestion to me for pain but the doc said people need higher and higher doses of it. Don’t they have medical marijuana available there?? Thinking of you as I try to get my strength back.
interesting that we’re both getting ready to move, you and the upstate barn, me in the rented rooms in Delhi. It could be any day now and with the proximity to Winter Solstice and the end of the year, your lawyers will be motivated to clear the desk before the end of the year. Astrologers would say it’s an auspicious time, the rest of us celebrate Christmas, and I don’t really pay much attention to it. Not impossible that I’ll have the PRF treatment on Boxing Day! If that is successful it’ll be a great relief, also to get away from the GABA. Medical marijuana is not available here or in Thailand, I suppose I could get it by other means but not as interested in that as I would have been a few decades ago.
In the end there is no ending but only if there is an openness to it, with pain everything closes down. Sorry to hear things are so much up and down for you, take care.
Thanks for writing
Sorry your headaches have returned. Wishing your relief comes soon.
Thanks for your good wishes Eliza. I had a few good months this time and hoping it’ll be like that again with the next PRF treatment.
Thinking of you T as you deal with the pain and the move. Stay strong. Stay real. May you find relief once more. 🙏
Thanks Val, ‘stay real’ is meaningful advice. It’s now more than 2 years of strong medication and I sometimes think I’ve forgotten how the everyday ‘real’ used to be.
A big wow for this one. Definitely one of the more poetic post of your I’ve read. Not staying current with you so well, but hoping you get to feel a little more settled soon. If you’re in CM, you know how to reach me.
May pain-free be your holiday gift. Third Noble Truth. _/\_
Thanks Gary, for the assurance that there is a way out of Dukkha, knowing this brings it alive, makes it possible. Now in CM until 2nd Jan. Busy with guests for a while, I’ll be in touch.
Hendrix. The past the present for a moment.