Sunday, March 2, 2014

Three Weeks in Beijing

    No, I did not actually go there. Of course not. In the computer age, and living where I do, I think of travelling as a complete waste of time unless it is absolutely necessary, and it was not at all necessary for me because what I needed from the unique genius of Beijing I already had in Nelson, albeit somewhat shape-shifted because the Oriental half of my medical treatment was primarily Ayurvedic, with a little Chinese phys ed thrown in.
    You see, I had a heart attack, or if there is a subtle difference, congestive heart failure, something I had actually never really heard of. As I said to our GP, except for literature on fitness, I've never been fond of medical studies. I thought what I had, after a profoundly unusual  and painful physical attack two years ago, was something called bronchiolitis, inflammatiion of the bronchial tubes, a situation that invites water into the bronchial tubes, thus interfering quite substantially with one's oxygen supply. I lost about a third of my habitual efficiency for striding up and down the hills of Nelson. I did not learn this from my doctor, I learned it from the Net, and it seemed to answer my questions even unto its return the next year and again the next. I never even thought of going to my doctor, because as  mystic in the seventh and final mansion I assumed that the extreme pain of the two full days' exercise was simply part and parcel of my spiritual life. The 48 hours of agony had immediately followed a lengthy discussion with a young Jehovah's Witness person, dealing with that religion's teaching that the Cross was simply a single stake, and lacking the cross-piece.
    Also, I was aware of the stigmata that was given to Francis of Assisi and Padre Pio, from whose order, the Capuchins, comes our present bishop, John Corriveau, once a year at least, a most welcome guest at our dinner table. When I first read Jorgensen's Life of the medieval saint, in the 58-59 winter of my conversion, I totally believed not only in Francis' affliction. but also that there was no problem at all with getting the same thing myself. It was not that I could think of myself as that holy - far from it - but I had only weeks before been given the spiritual experience of being drawn into the spiritual womb of the Blessed Virgin. I prayed mightily that God would leave my hands alone, as I was a guitarist and folk singer and could not see how the stigmata could in any way improve my musicianship. To this day, bless Him, God has listened to my prayers. In fact I am at the moment designing the opening segments for fretted instruments on Microstation Minstrels, simply because I had such a triumphant first lesson ever on the five-string banjo with my grandson Nathan when he was here with his parents last weekend, come down from the Cariboo to see how I was doing. I don't think we're going to see any blood.
    It turned out that my oldest and her husband and son were and essential part of what we can now call the Beijing Experience.
    About a month ago Marianne had made up her housekeeper's mind that it was high time that the eastern wall of this very study, covered by a very loaded bookshelf, should get the hell out in order to make room for the Concept 2 rowing machine. When she heard that Mon and Matt and Nathan's young adult muscles were showing up the weekend after I got out of KLH, she decided to take the bull by the horns, or the rower by its fly wheel, and have the Concept 2 moved to the study, a much warmer and convenient place than the attic. 'Twas done between breakfast and lunch on the Saturday morning. A ton of books went to the attic, and the rower came into its own. It was on the following Monday morning, after reading from Drs. Michael Murray and Julian Whitaker, that I - and the Holy Spirit - took myself off the prescription drugs.
    I do not exagerate the importance of the rower.  I had a problem with sporadic irregular  heart beat until Thursday night or so. A little scary admittedly, but the rower has definitely been part of the solution. I possibly put on more Henleys than I needed to (a Henley is the rower's equivalent of 2 kilometres, or 105 calories), pushing for four or five Henleys a day,  or rather a night, as that is when most of them are done, but the evenings with the radical heartbeat are gone. I am now a nice, steady, 80 at rest, which means I can keep up a modest 100+ on the machine. I row in 15 calorie reps, taking lots of time to read in between segments.
     And as the first Chi Gong exercise Marianne showed me as soon as I got home from KLH was basically Looking Back at the Moon, from The Eight Brocades, which is fundamentally a massage for the heart, I was able to realize that rowing is also an excellent, natural, massage for the heart, just like bending foward from the waist while sitting and reading the Summa or MT's spanking new Douai-Rheims Latin/English Bible.
    How do we know about that hospital in Beijing, where they have the western medicine side-by-side with the Traditional Chinese? Because it so happens that the aunt of The Economist's Beijing correspondent is a business woman in Nelson and mother of a former girlfriend of another grandson. Ted's wife own's the hospital combo.
    As I said, living here, I don't need to travel.
    I'll deal with MT's wonderful herbal medicine and diet solutions in Part Two.

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