THE GUILT AND THE REGRET

 

 

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It has suddenly dawned on me that I only have a week left, not two, before returning back to work. That this is over. That a period of almost six months, a big, unprecedented chunk of time to get over the major knee surgery I had back in March (that feels, in ‘reality’ more like six weeks – it has passed so quickly I can hardly believe it), and which I thought would feel like an endless, half year sabbatical during which I would achieve all kinds of wonders –  but failed to – is coming to a close as the summer ends, and autumn approaches, and the teaching begins, even though I am not remotely ready for it to do so.

I am not even, by any stretch, fully recovered. I had assumed that I would be walking pretty much normally; would be embarrassed by the fact that I was breezing into work all physically and mentally buff without the aid of any walking sticks, making it appear as though I have just been skiving off work without any reason, to the envy of my Japanese co-workers who have been slaving it through the summer and who cannot in a million years even imagine two weeks away from their jobs ( even when sick), let alone half a year, when the arrogant foreigner comes slinking back to his desk as though nothing had happened, with a sigh and a heavy heart nevertheless, because in his heart of hearts he wishes that the convalescence, and the freedom to do absolutely nothing, could have gobe on indefinitely, forever.

At least, then, I will still look like a vaguely pitiful, half-baked cripple. They will have visible evidence in front of them that I have, in fact, been through the wringer. Just from seeing the way that I walk. The pain from my swollen joints. The fact that my knees still ‘give’ on occasion and I stumble. The odd gait. My winces. For although I have undoubtedly made a great deal of progress since my ‘bilateral, closed wedge high tibial osteotomies’, eight hour surgery (for those readers not familiar with all of this) that required the breaking, cutting and rearranging of my legs so that I would have to learn to walk again from zero, or minus more like, because initially, they weren’t even really like legs, when I woke up, just bleeding, bruised, swollen and paralyzed appendages covered in ice packs that I felt no connection to and which I couldn’t move at all and which let me feeling helpless and inconsolable and full of regret that I had even gone through with it (it was only later that I realized in fact what a major undertaking this all has been : it is very rare for people to have both legs operated on at the same time, particularly with the more painful and complicated ‘closed wedge’ procedure that I had to sign up for – most hospitals only consent to perform the surgery on one leg at a time, at yearly intervals ( what was I thinking?!), and if I look back at myself in March, and April, and then see my situation now, able – at home at least – to move around by myself without sticks, I cannot argue with the fact that I have made a great deal of progress indeed, relatively speaking. Undeniable. I went from immobile and paralzyed, to wheel chair, to slow walking frame, to sticks, to being able now to walk around the house; a flamingo with no support at all.

At the same time, by the half year mark, a good percentage of osteotomy patients (according to the ‘internet’, and therein lies the danger), are playing tennis, walking normally, even jogging, supposedly, yet here I am with all this pain in my joints, deteriorated muscles in my thighs, calves and ankles that I am still trying to strengthen with weekly or bi-weekly physio sessions at a nearby hospital, definitely not the slimmed down, fit as a fiddle, legs like tree trunks September teacher that I thought I was going to be, one who would have spent this long, long hot summer fruitfully, maybe one who had even started writing that book, who had really achieved something, the Bionic Man. Instead, the time has just slipped by, like sand through my fingers.

Then again, when I have talked about this to the people I know – it has been a very sociable and friend-driven time, with hospital visits and stays at our house galore, lots of sitting about and talking and drinking and watching films on the projector, or meet ups in Tokyo, most people I have spoken to about this have said that I am actually being way too hard on myself , that the only thing I really have needed to be focusing on, in fact, for the entire duration, is my recovery, and that to even think about trying to ‘achieve’ other things, in my circumstances, is unrealistic, still languishing in my painkiller cocoon and the heaviest heat of July and August. My mother knew that this would be the case all along. That to even be able to walk ( but why isn’t it more painless? and smoother? and less fraught?) is a great achievement in itself. And I suppose it is. I see severely handicapped people walking on the streets, sometimes, twisted and contorted and with great determination in their eyes just to move forwards, and I feel a lot of gratitude that I am not personally in such a situation. It has, I suppose, been a success, and the entire purpose of the six months off from work recommended by my surgeon was simply to recover from what was essentially a very traumatic experience, the only foreigner in a Japanese hospital having my legs snapped and sliced up then stuck in an in the middle of nowhere Yokosuka rehabilitation ward for two months while the wounds healed, my slow and tentative physiotherapy began, and, where like a baby, I literally learned to put one foot hesitantly, and painfully, in front of the other.

I think the real guilt, if I am truly honest, comes in the lack of guilt I feel in the knowledge of how much I have actually rather enjoyed the whole experience. As readers, you will be the judge of how depressed, or not, I seemed in hospital, as I was expressing myself to you there quite frequently live to you raw and in the flesh, attempting to paint pictures of my time there in sensorial detail, the complexities, and the truth that there is beauty everywhere and anywhere, even in the bland confines of a private hospital room. My mad torrent of impressions that I posted on the last day of my stay, ‘Seventeen things I have realized in hospital’ surprised even me in its sheer length and passion: ironically, or perhaps predictably, I don’t know, the sheer stimulus of, or the reacting against, the institutionalization I was gradually succumbing to brought some muscle and some vigor to my writing that melted away once I flopped into the perfumed, sybaritic environs of our house, where I had no schedule any more to pitch my time against, and where I awoke to the bliss each morning that I had nothing whatsoever to do except get on with my exercises while watching films and documentaries ( heaven !) or playing records ( ditto) or reading the New York Times ( the same ) while drinking coffee ( nectar!); that it was summer, which I love far, far more than the other seasons combined, and most importantly, that I didn’t have to work.

I know when I go back next week (nooooooooo!!!!) that there will be plenty of abnormally workaholic Japanese colleagues who I work with who will be bewildered and uncomprehending if I admit to them shyly that I managed to ‘get through’ six months off from work without getting bored (not one second); that I was able to satisfyingly occupy my time ( absolutely); that I didn’t require outside interference and imposed structure in order to feel stimulated, useful, or worthwhile as a human being (why would I?) True, I do feel quite lazy. Incredibly, unbelievably, shamefully lazy, or indolent, or decadent, or just outrageously, insultingly self indulgent, but my job – though enjoyable, stimulating, and definitely good for me, in the long run, because it keeps me in society where I can do something good for people, for the youth; prevents me from becoming a total Queen of Sheba lying prostate and luxuriating in the moment and the sunbeams while sipping red wine from golden chalices ( we literally have some ) and dangling grapes into my far too active, orally fixated mouth as I smear myself unctuously with unguents and perfumes and sing along to the music –  is just that : a job, work; something to bring home the bacon and keep me alive and not ending up on a park bench, essential: but ultimately, at the end of the day, though theoretically it pains me to admit this,  I have no work ethic. Yes, I care very much about each lesson, how it goes, and how the students are actually doing, my reputation, the school’s success rate, so I try and do my best whenever I am teaching (there are few things more depressing than a bad lesson, trust me) and I really do need the money ( right now I have none – I am living off Duncan, like a parasite ), but as for working for the sake of working, like a rat on a wheel, I truly, at the end of the day, can’t be arsed. Given the choice, I would not.  I have already been teaching for twenty five years, a quarter of a century. Is that not sufficient?

Work have been actually very good to me. Long gone are the Bubble days, when English teachers, ‘foreigners’ were treated like gods and paid like kings for just speaking their own language. I arrived after this time, but even then, conditions were good, and there were plenty of escapees like me just making a living, evading the realities of their home countries by immersing themselves in the incomprehensible exotic, hanging out with each other partying, just having another adolescence, really, because they couldn’t really think of anything better to do and were just living for the moment until they saw a light at the end of the tunnel or a different opportunity. Still, the economy changed, many fled after the earthquake, and attitudes towards them hardened. With the country far more inward looking and less internationally minded now in my opinion (yes, despite the coming Olympics, there is no doubt that the younger generation is more insular and Japanese in many ways); in spite of the need for the country to produce more competent English speakers- really, the general level of spoken English here is really quite embarrassing compared to surrounding Asian countries- the ‘eikaiwa’ teacher now often works in quite appalling work conditions and I am actually extremely lucky to have the position that I do. I certainly don’t take it for granted. When the company that both Duncan and I originally worked for went bankrupt after a scandal, several years ago, there were reports of teachers having to beg for food because they were not getting paid; lesson by lesson, by the hour pay contracts, no benefits, no holidays, quite undignified with no future prospects. And definitely no paid leave of absence ( I was given three months just out of kindness, even though it wasn’t part of my contract) or keeping your job open for you, nor genuine concern for your well being. I am fortunate.

Still, I feel some worry, if not exactly guilt, or regret, about what it is going to be like when I skulk back into the teachers room at one of the schools I work in next Tuesday, my first day back after all this time. Although the teachers at the university entrance exam section I mainly work in were solicitous and kind to me before the operation, giving me a big good luck card and a portable DVD player for the hospital, and several of the teachers also came to visit me there, the high school entrance exam section, far more basic on every level, were quite vexingly blase to almost an inhuman degree. I was furious with them on my last day for the total lack of interest in what was going to happen to me. I am not narcissistic enough to assume that my tedious health issues should be great cause for other people’s attention, particularly seeing how busy they always are, plus with all the paid holiday I get compared to them (as a yearly contract worker I get the holiday, which is precisely why I took the job and why I can write this blog and actually have a life, unlike them), but not the bonuses, the pension, the health insurance, I suppose they just assumed ah yes, there he is, the hoity toity Englishman, off from work again, the unindustrious bastard, so perhaps there was some kind of resentment towards me I don’t know, but even though everyone knew that I was in a lot of pain and that I was about to have some quite scary sounding surgery, no one, except one very cultured man I get along well with and who came to see me after my operation, said so much as a good luck, a hope you get well soon, or even a grunt of human decency as I tidied my text, took my things, and walked out of the school.

Which is why, when I then got an email saying that the entire office of that very same high school section was going to come and visit me in hospital after the operation a few weeks later, I flipped and said no way, because the idea was completely intolerable to me.This is actually a very big faux pas in Japanese society; things are done a certain way and you have to abide by these rules, but I was so infuriated by the hypocrisy of the situation  – people only doing something out of duty when they don’t even particularly like the person involved even though they had the opportunity to show concern a long time before, that I told my boss that I didn’t want visitors and wouldn’t see anybody. I weighed up the situation; accepting something just to keep the status quo, having a motley bunch of bad smelling worn out slave teachers filling up my hospital room and going through the motions with them, but at that time I was so fragile and neurotic I knew that no matter what happened I couldn’t possibly bear it for even a minute, let alone an hour, and when I get like this I will do anything it takes to prevent something intolerable from happening to me, no matter what the consequences. I become a total nutcase. I don’t regret it, exactly, but even so, it will be quite embarrassing having to face these people; the incident will create yet another level of enamel, or plaque, between us, yet another barrier preventing me from ever getting close. Still, I only have to teach in that place one day a week, and the other schools are far more sophisticated and welcoming. Wednesday should be a totally different situation altogether.

I regret, quite a lot though, that I am going back in such bad shape. Not spic and span, ‘fixed’ with my brand new shining legs. Is it my fault? It’s hard to say. How much responsibility does the patient have for his or her post operative progress and rehabilitation? I did everything that I was told to do. Perhaps I was just too in love with my young physiotherapist to be listening properly to what he was saying I should do at home as my post-operative exercises (this I feel a lot of guilt about, if not regret; it may have hurt Duncan, how much, who can say, he never would  – he has had his own crush in the past, a harmless, unacted upon one, just like this, but still; though I knew that nothing was ever going to come of it, which is why I wrote about it, to kill it in sunlight, and it was probably just some form of Florence Nightingale Syndrome, when sheer dependency and vulnerability can make you feel so emotional, in retrospect I feel that it was mutual; not the deep geological strata that I have with my loved one – and it has been a full on Summer Of Love in recent months – but more like a shallow lake of beautiful clear water shimmering near the surface that I had to wrench myself away from, just because. Still, it may have clouded my judgement about how good exactly he was as a physiotherapist when I think about it now; both of the people that treated me at that original hospital helped to get me back on my feet, so I am intensely grateful to them, of course, but the lack of a clear post-hospital programme once I got back home – I was just given generic exercises that I don’t think were sufficient to strengthen the muscles that needed strengthening – and in full disclosure, was I even doing them all diligently enough in the first place? You know my innate laziness… I don’t know…..)

Whoever is responsible, something isn’t working right; the x-ray displays perfect growth of the new bones, but it doesn’t show the muscles, and the tendons. Maybe I have wrecked my knees with my stupid, grotesque, Burning Bush dancing?

 

 

 

 

 

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I was finally able to attend the most recent screening of Duncan and Yukiro’s comedy horror film Girl Goned on August 11th, having missed the premiere and other showings while I was in the hospital (even if I did watch it on my phone as the events unfurled live on my screen). It was fantastic to be finally out in Tokyo again, with a whole group of friends, most of us dressed up in costumes, me as my character/ alter ego, Burning Bush who is the foulest villain of the movie, and walking through Shinjuku in that get up at 2am in the morning, bathed in neon, stopped and photographed and smiled at by random strangers was surreal and peculiarly liberating after all these times just stuck on the rented kitchen bed at home like some down on his luck geriatric.  Recently, I have just felt so encumbered and ungainly with my walking, like Frankenstein, and though this character also was using sticks, they felt more like props that just quite nicely set off the whole get up to even more amusing effect. In this picture (is that really me? I think I look like a mix of Madonna singing Like A Virgin; a zombie, and a pint size little rag doll, mainly because the drag queen standing next to me was just so very gigantic.)

 

Nevertheless, I shouldn’t have been ‘dancing’ as I was at the film party (but I was just so glad to be back…..); not dancing, exactly, but on sticks, moving about a bit – did I damage the tentative healing of my legs in the process? Should I have been just staying in at home and doing the exercises the entire summer, like a good little ogre, or should I also have been training myself to get out and about? To learn how to get on the escalators in the station, on and off trains and buses (all quite difficult at first), to get myself back into society when I knew that by September I had to be totally ready for it? There has been just so much conflicting advice and opinions from so many different professionals, that at times I have just felt like giving up or chopping them right off – go on the bike, don’t go on the bike, go up stairs, don’t go up stairs, do this exercise, don’t do that exercise, that it is impossible to know how much activity I am actually supposed to have been doing. At times it has all just been overwhelming.

Which leads us to another thing that I definitely do feel guilt and regret about – not losing weight. This, obviously, is a major way to make the burden on the knee joints much lighter, and leading to less pain (and less bullying at work; yes, I am writing this sentence quite seriously: Japan can be quite appalling, really cruel when it comes to such things. People never hesitate to tell you when you have put on weight here). In hospital, on that wan, repulsive rice and fish diet, even supplemented by smuggled in choco, I lost quite a bit of weight, much to everyone’s delight, as I am considered by others (but not by myself) to be this morbidly obese shadow of my former self. But anyway, sadly, greed, gluttony, inactivity and boozing, though, have put it all back on again and more; I bought an exercise bike precisely for this problem and was working hard on sweating away those extra pounds while watching Netflix on hot July mornings and quite enjoying the endorphins but my newest physiotherapist (very good; thorough; rigorous, experienced) doesn’t think this is good for my inflamed and swolled joints right now, so again, heeding yet again the latest advice, I have stopped.

Do I regret all this? I don’t know. I don’t think so. We’ve had such fun. A blurry, and memorable few beautiful months following the initial stress of the surgery and its aftermath, which at the time was exhausting for us both (and for you readers, too, I imagine – I think this is the last time that I am going to talk about any of it for the time being). It’s been so lovely just sitting together on the tropical balcony upstairs having beers and settling into a gorgeous sunset dream state, or sinking into the new Twin Peaks series, stoked on Sicilian red wine. Nice dinners, spent out on the town. A summer of just living in the moment; being oblivious, or trying to, with the world the way that it has been; poised in the membrane somewhere between reality and somewhere else. Content. Happy.

31 Comments

Filed under Antidotes to the banality of modern times, autobiography, Depressed, Psychodrama

31 responses to “THE GUILT AND THE REGRET

  1. Another amazing post. Could read you all day. You cover so much so deeply, thoroughly, succinctly, engagingly. And truthfully. There is a lot here. I continue to appreciate your self-awareness and your honesty.

    Your Burning Bush beside that very tall man: you look so fragile, doll-like (in that particular innocent/decadent way) and young.

    Although it sucks to still be getting your mobility back, it’s currency for your return to work among your colleagues, as you point out. I was with you all the way about everything: that shallow lake of beautiful clear water, your indolence, your ambivalence, that confusion of mixed messages from the professionals about physical therapy, the Japanese, all of it.

  2. MrsDalloway

    Wishing you and your legs all the best. Booze is a curse, I think. I’ve been trying for five years to give it up for good; most successful period was five months. I’m just healthier and happier without it (and am rubbish at light occasional drinking) but then the lure of the mindslip tempts me back. I’m not technically overweight, but heavier than I’d like; when I stop the weight just steadily goes but as soon as I start, it’s back again. But I know I just have to stop and stay stopped, and even the occasional craving will eventually go – I never want a cigarette these days. Weight makes such a difference to joints – hope going back to work helps.

    • Weight most definitely makes a difference to joints, and I really have to try and lose some in order to give my knees a break. As for booze, although it can be a curse, I think of it more as a blessing. Really. I was not drinking for three months because of hospital and recovering afterwards, and it was quite nice in a way – calm, I felt more solid (but stolid, also) but also bored. In Vino Veritas – there is obviously something in that saying, and there is no doubt that even just a couple of glasses of something open things up, release you from your own skin and brain a bit, let the overthinking upper regions of the brain have a break, pierce through social membranes, connect. As you can see, I am a fan. Too much is not good, obviously, and proper alcoholism a nightmare (and both me and D can sometimes overdo it), but we humans have been drinking alcohol ever since we discovered it – all societies love it- I actually think it’s a kind of holy respite, a natural gift from the earth, and I would rather be heavier and able to drink, than skinny and a pure teetotaller.

  3. WOW, what a post! My head is still spinning. You are quite the writer. When I read your posts, I feel like I am in a film. I am thinking that perhaps going back to work may aid in your rehabilitation. A daily routine, although not exciting, may put things in sync. In any event, I wish you all the best.

    • Thanks, Filomena.

      I totally agree, actually. Just HAVING to get on with the day and be busy and not having time to be so self-obsessed will make my legs move more (although my physio says it will be much more painful at first as I am not used to it); my biorhythms will speed up a bit, and the sheer adrenaline of it all will kick my currently gloriously listless self into Japanese action.

  4. Hello Neil. I have come into your readership (as a lurker) this summer, during this uneven time for you.

    Your hedonism isn’t simply a greedy thing; it nourishes all of your readers, who live far distant from you. Often when I am watching something onscreen, I wish I could taste and touch and smell what I merely see. Through your writing, I feel that I can. You’ve cracked the code to Smell-O-Vision. I especially enjoyed your post on Schiaparelli’s Shocking. There’s a genius to your blog, and I consider it a work of art.

    As for complete healing, although I haven’t endured cataclysmic sufferings, I’ve always found it takes three, or four, or five, or ten or twenty times as long as “the internet” and “the professionals” say it will. But then I live on slow time. I am quite as lazy as you; at least I’ve been accused of it since childhood. Maybe we just care about the wrong things: we aren’t productive lemons enthusiastically offering ourselves up to be juiced into lemonade.

    By the way, I received a sample of Amouage Bracken—yes, it is bathroomy! I didn’t have the Toilet Duck association because I grew up in the US, but apparently sanitary fragrance trends are equivalent across the Atlantic. I only sniffed from the vial; I haven’t tried it on skin yet. Today I’m trying out Papillon Salome, and I find I smell like I just had sex wearing Narcisse Noir. Which is really TMI from a first-time commenter.

    Good luck at work! Don’t let the (ever-so-polite) bastards grind you down.

    • Hello Rebecca

      You probably don’t realise how much this comment means to me, but it really does. Pretentious though it may sound, I do sometimes think of The Black Narcissus as something of an art project, not just a ‘beauty’ blogger’s scent site, and if that sometimes comes across to people reading (and looking at) it then I am absolutely delighted. Thank you.

      I love your lemon analogy. And I totally agree. I think that the fact that I think, and always have, means that I am fairly unjuiceable. This laziness isn’t actually just laziness, in a way it is a kind of zen. It is a reaction to the world, to all the consumerist, capitalist brainwashing; the culture of severe masochism, or even sadomasochism, in Japan, where a person basically has to suffer and exhaust themselves on a daily basis just to appear worthwhile in the eyes of others, to the whole American Dream bullshit of working working working just so you can buy new appliances and ‘better yourself’, an ethos I abhor; while I definitely am lazy (just ask Duncan), on the other hand I am lucky in being able to genuinely BE; I am capable of absolutely living in the present moment, almost all of the time, not consciously, just naturally. I can sit, absorb everything around me with all of my senses, and feel absolutely and utterly alive, in tune with myself and my surroundings. I don’t know if that comes across as pompous and over thought out, but there are so many people rushing around with agendas that were forced upon them by others, who live unquestioningly, who snatch ‘relaxation time’ when they can (which means it is not in fact actually relaxed), who are living, especially in Japan, as though they were on an inexorable conveyor belt that ends with their cremation and funeral, that also done in a pre decided, almost automated, manner.

      I may have some regrets (but not really, in truth), but honestly, if I were on my death bed tomorrow I would just feel blessed that I have been given the capacity to enjoy my life, people, and all the stimuli of the world the way I do as I know that there are so, so many people who don’t have this gift, who fall prey to the ‘winner/loser’ ‘somebody/nobody’ dichotomy (so wrong! so unnecessary to think in that way!).

      I have written about this before, but I think that perfume is the perfect adjunct to this way of thinking/living/being, because it provides a kind of living record of it, almost a soul soundtrack. It punctuates and lines different experiences and time lines, and makes them retrievable. I am pretty sure that the perfumes from these last six months, even the ones from the hospital, will be extremely emotionally suggestive to me in years to come (although who knows what the future will bring).

      I hope you will not lurk any longer and be a regular commenter!

      (love the sound of that Salome by the way).

  5. David

    I don’t know how this will sound, but if I were in your shoes (or on your crutches, sorry!) I would sooooo take advantage of your rehabilitating legs to gain sympathy/empathy and admiration from your co-workers and students. Yes, admiration: when you go back to work, they are going to admire the hell out of you. The poor gaijin who valiantly braved hospitalization and convalescence, who still struggles to recover fully. You are the living realization of “ganbatte.” Use this as you will. I’d certainly use it to my advantage. (Like a perfect get-out-of going-to-the bonenkai free card).
    I’m glad that you enjoyed your summer. Sure, you have regrets. When I start feeling regretful or guilty, I give myself 3 minutes to do so. Then back to regularly scheduled programming. You know, cooking, reading, watching Netflix, living a life.

    • David, I do the same thing. I have many regrets and survived a horrific event/incident/experience (I never know what to call it because I never call it was it really was) done to me by someone who I had loved very much. Through my healing process (which was a very physical thing) I was determined to compartmentalize what had happened to me and just concentrate on healing. After healing as much as was possible, I decided to change my life. As I could not change my address for lack of funds, I decided to change my social life and ventured into another part of my City where live music was abundant and found a friendly little place where I spend most of my weekends listening to live music, dancing with myself, talking with friends and strangers alike. Music is healing to me as when listening to it (at least live music), it puts me in another state where only the music matters. Just like perfume is also healing to me. It wasn’t my limbs that were affected by what happened to me…it was my eyes. Neil has the talent to write his feelings…and he does it so beautifully. I have no doubt that he will go into that classroom and will be welcomed by all his students who have been anticipating his return.

    • David : I am actually very similar to you: if something bad has happened (like smashing a precious bottle of perfume, for example), I have a short time afterwards of sheer rage and fuck fucks, but it never lasts very long. Life is literally too short to be holding on to such feelings.

      As for the crutches at work, I agree with you 100%. We know the psyche here, and even if I HAD been recovered, you know what, I probably would have taken my sticks with me anyway for precisely the reasons that you mention here. I am quite psychologically Machiavellian at times and manipulative when I have to be (and quite a good actor as well), and I intend to fully milk it.

  6. Zubeyde Erdem

    I don’t know where you are “plugging into”yourself ( a parallel universe, your karma or what ??!) but at certain cases you become a maestro and play with the words as you like. No doubt about it ! you can magnetized us at any time you want ( or feel ??!!)
    I’m totally agree with Rebecca.
    Overall it was quite difficult to decide which was more pleasurable to read your post or your answer to Rebecca.
    Thank you very much, I’m learning to much from you .
    👏👏👏👏👏🎉🌺

    • From me? There is nothing to learn.

      • Zubeyde Erdem

        Nope ! There is too much to learn. I was saying that I’m feeling myself like ” uma no basha” ( I don’t know how to explain it in English, horse of the cart ??) to one of my Japanese friend two days ago. And, you mentioned how it was important to slow down the life and enjoy the moment, As a matter of fact, I have to take some serious decisions about my future life ( I guess you have some idea about my health,work and legal status) After reading your post, remembered how I was fearless against to life once upon a time.

      • That is wonderful to hear x

  7. Amy

    I’m another lurker come out of hiding to say no regrets; although I loved reading you write into and away from them. But what your body’s been through, it needs time to heal and to be able to enjoy the things you do while that’s happening is the real thing. I can spend days and days semi-mobile, reading is my sin. Not for any purpose, not to write about it or teach it – although I do both – but just because I take pure pleasure in being taken into another person’s mind. Perfume is a more recent pleasure for me. Something that, like music, engages other senses. All happily in the sofa or in bed or outside on a lovely chaise. I too teach and dread the end of summer and of non-required reading. All best to you as you reimmerse.

  8. My dear Neil, I feel I have neglected you! I do hope that you see a glimpse of light on the progress front. It sounds like major uphill struggle. Be kind to yourself anf never berate yourself for truly living and, as you put it, “being lazy”. Quite the contrary, it sounds like you were blessed with the chance to get off the hamster wheel, look around and breathe in. Your poor colleagues sound like they’re racing each other to the grave.

    Wishing you love, light and happiness (not hoppyness)
    Sam xx

    • Thanks Sam. I appreciate this!
      Yes, we Brits will never understand their kamikaze work spirit. I just don’t have it in me. We had proper holidays as kids, as hopefully yours do now: to us it is entirely natural. For Japanese people, longer than about five days at any time, anywhere, is virtually unimaginable!

  9. I think you have handled your whole situation, surgery, recuperation and rehabilitation, quite valiantly. You should never feel as if you were lazy or unproductive for just relaxing during the summer, that is what your body and phsyche needed. I do love that Burning Bush was able to make a guest appearance during this time, it must have done you well to have some release.
    During the coming school semester you will be happy that you took time slower during the summer and just enjoyed being, instead of doing. You should definitely feel proud of your recovery up to now, do not feel you could have done more, you did what you could.
    Just remember to be gentle with yourself and keep moving in a positive direction.

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