15 May 2017

I went to visit my grandfather at the hospital yesterday.

He had checked himself in the day before due to chest pains. He was having difficulty breathing. And given how many times he had had heart surgery he wasn’t going to take any chances.

My mother called him yesterday morning and established what floor he was on, then we set off for the hospital.

Arriving in the spacious room with about thirty beds, I saw him. He was sitting on the bed, hunched over a few pieces of paper. He had not seen us.

The image struck me. He looked so vulnerable and alone. And the thing is, he is vulnerable and alone. He has a live-in helper, but that’s nothing compared to family.

He looked up, saw us, and put his papers away. My dad brought stools, and my mom and I sat down next to the bed. We sat with him for two hours, talking about this and that. My dad sat some distance away on the visitor’s bench, playing a game on his phone.

I was the one who suggested leaving. It was getting late afternoon and I wanted to sort through our DVD collection when I got home.

My grandpa was sad that we were leaving. He didn’t say anything, but you could feel it. As we walked away I looked back, and wished I hadn’t.

He looked dejected. There was no better word to describe the image that I saw. He was sitting alone on the bed, and loneliness weighed down around him.

The whole episode reminded me of the fact that I still have my grandpa, that he is alone in his house, far away from us, and that he could leave us at a moment’s notice.

I’ll call him today to check up on him. I’ll also make time to go visit him on my days off. There’s a bus I can take that goes straight to his house.

I hope for the sake of me and him that the image stays with me. So I never forget that I have one very important person I need to spend time with.

I will try my best not to forget. I really will. This is my promise to myself.

Let’s not forget our elderly relatives. Let’s love them and be with them as freely as we do our friends and colleagues.

Until next time,

A thoughtful Val

11 April 2014

My left knee hurts.

I don’t remember when it began hurting. Or rather, I don’t know. One day I was fine. Then the pain was there and I could no longer stretch my left leg.

For a person who likes stretching, this is bad. And things only get worse considering that, in exactly two days, I will be deprived of the only sports I can do that supposedly won’t add insult to an injured knee.

I’m talking about swimming. I’ve been meaning to go swimming. I don’t remember the last time I went swimming. Most likely some time in December. Maybe November. More likely December.

That’s a long time ago.

*pause so everyone can reflect on how fast time flies, and how little time we all have on this earth*

I really like swimming. It’s such a… delicate and thorough sport, for lack of better descriptive adjectives. Delicate as opposed to running, which many (including myself) would agree is one of the worst sports one could possibly practise on a regular basis given how high-impact it is, especially on the knees. (Hmm…) And thorough because you can really feel each muscle contract, and control it.

It’s an amazing feeling, tracing your movements to the contraction of your muscles, down to every exertion. I had a Eureka moment some time last year, when I’d just re-taken up swimming, where suddenly everything made sense: I realised my body was under my control.

A fact that goes too often unobserved amidst the chaos of daily life. And one worth making an effort to remember.

I would get back to moaning about my knee, but there’s one thing I must mention now that I’m on the topic of the human body: Koerperwelten.

If you’re not afraid of blood and/or corpses and/or bones, and you can only go to one exhibition in your entire life, this is the one I want you to be going to. It’s annual. I think it actually happens several times per year. But you’re going to have to check (information to follow).

It’s a travelling exhibition. Origin (you guessed it): Germany. I went in September 2012, during my most productive vacation yet in Germany (first day of Oktoberfest – check; Koerperwelten – check, check!). My German friend and host was insistent that we go (because he wanted to), and I went along with him.

And wow. Ain’t I glad I did.

It’s the most beautiful, mind-blowing ensemble of ‘things’ I have ever seen. Koerperwelten (Bodyworlds in English) is, as the website proudly announces, “the original exhibition of real human bodies”. And that’s exactly what it is.

I don’t want to say too much. I went relatively uninformed, and I think there’s a strong case to be made for seeing the exhibition with a blank mental canvas. The imprint will be that much stronger.

Here, though, is information on current exhibitions. (I didn’t know they did simultaneous exhibitions. Well now I do. One does learn a thing or two every day!) Feel free to browse. I wouldn’t Google image it if I were you (and afraid of blood, corpses, and/or bones).

*pause so you can go Google image: Koerperwelten*

#doublereversepsychology
#forwardpsychology?

Now, about that hurting knee. Possibly a result of Sunday’s morning run (6.6k) on concrete. I did go to a park, but the park was so small that the runners (myself included) elected to run on the concrete path that goes around it.

Running on concrete – not a good idea. I don’t think I stretched properly after either.

Could that be why my knee’s hurting? Maybe. Possibly.

But now, what do I do about it? Today’s Friday. I’m at the sports club. I planned to go to my Battle Beat class this evening to use up my last class coupon. Should I go to the class?

But it’s only one coupon. Surely, my knee must take precedence over 125 THB.

Maybe one hour on the elliptical… I did that yesterday. The knee didn’t hurt during, and it didn’t appear to hurt more after. So it should be fine?

So little I know about the workings of my own body. Where did all those hours of high school anatomy lessons go?

I’ll see how I feel.

I’ll see how the knee feels.

Now I’m hungry.

Time for breakfast date with grandpa.

#howcute

Until tomorrow, or maybe this evening,

Have a good day,

Val