March 22, 2010
I wasn't surprised that I broke out with poison ivy towards the end of the week. I had spent some beautiful days in the yard pulling weeds, clearing out the accumulated fallen leaves, and generally looking for excuses to hang out like a contented river otter soaking up the sun. I hadn't seen any poison ivy, but that doesn't mean that it hadn't seen me.
I was, however, surprised that my poison ivy rash looks a lot like the imprint of a curled up Teddy, right in the lappiest part of my lap (easier to explain a dog-shaped patch of poison ivy on the front/inner part of your thighs than some other spots you might have a rash). I have noticed that I can actually function taking one benedryl before bed and one when I get up (not too sleepy, not too itchy, not too grumpy. . . in fact, not really any of the seven dwarfs at all).
The benedryl has had one unwanted side effect. You may remember that the current (and still continuing) book in the mother/daughter book club is The Arabian Nights. I've made it up to the "Tales of Sinbad, the Seaman" (although apparently he is also sometimes Sindbad the Landsman, depending on whether he is home or away). Anyway, I have experienced the same thing reading through each of the seven voyages of Sinbad as I used to experience watching "Leave It to Beaver" or "The Wonder Years." Every episode (every tale), you just want to put your hands over your eyes and say "No, Beav/Kevin/Sindbad! Don't do that! That's big trouble!" Believe me, you don't get very far reading if you cover your eyes, AND if you cover your eyes after you have had a benedryl, just forget progress.
I booted on Sinbad last night to tune into C-SPAN to watch the health insurance reform vote (I know. I know. Where are the Esquire photographers for my "Girl Gone Wild" photo shoot?). Having watched the whip count on various websites for days, I had a good feel for what would happen, but I watched partially as a tribute to Erin. Kim, my friend from New York, wrote me this morning, saying that she was sure Erin was smiling after the vote and had probably made an elaborate table with the pros and the cons of the bill to make sure it all went down the right way.
I figure Erin would have taken it a step further, like she did on election night, and put together her own whip count charts to supplement the published ones. I suspect she would have even done a little whipping of her own (and probably would have squeezed at least one more vote into the yea column). Health care has been a divisive issue for the last many months, but I know my friends in the pediatric cancer world no longer have to worry about reaching their life time maximums or about their parents being locked into untenable jobs because they are virtually uninsurable with that pre-existing condition called neuroblastoma. It doesn't solve the big problem presented by their diagnosis, but this bill promises to ease the stresses in their tough lives a little.
I also thought of Erin and how much she would have approved of President Obama's final pitch to the Democratic caucus on Saturday, when he said:
“Every once in a while a moment comes where you have a chance to vindicate all those best hopes that you had about yourself, about this country, where you have a chance to make good on those promises that you made ... And this is the time to make true on that promise. We are not bound to win, but we are bound to be true. We are not bound to succeed, but we are bound to let whatever light we have shine.”
Paul Krugman, my favorite heartthrob, Nobel-Prize winning economist puts this passage into context in his column "Fear Strikes Out." He writes "on one side, the closing argument was an appeal to our better angels, urging politicians to do what is right, even if it hurts their careers; on the other side, callous cynicism." In the end, he concludes "a vicious, unprincipled fear offensive failed to block reform. This time, fear struck out."
Today, I muse on the many lessons Erin taught me. One (that I needed to review before last week) was to stay away from poison ivy. Another was to put aside fear and work (and play) on and let our light shine.