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During meditation, fragrant balm from this text soothed my psyche and enlarged the sense of my destiny:

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth…the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

From the book of Revelation 21: 1 –5.

Only willingness is necessary to participate in this vision.

Yesterday’s blog touched on morphine and roused interest in this drug that’s been around, in liquid or tablet form, for a long time. Without it, my end-time would look different.

The drug has an interesting history.

Between years of animal testing, 1803 and 1806, a twenty-one-year-old pharmaceutical assistant, Friedrich Wilhelm Serturner, isolated a potent substance from opium he then named morphine. Its soporific effects, also observed in himself, led him to name it after Morpheus, one of the thousand children of the Greek God, Hypnos.

Depicted as winged, silent, speedy, he accompanied individuals into sleep and took form in their dreams. Pierre Grimal’s Dictionary of Classical Mythology (1992) resources this night-time god and speaks to his presence in the Roman poetry of Ovid.

Serturner’s discovery also revolutionized the continuing development of chemistry, including further refinements of morphine and multiple protocols for incorporation into seas of pain. Relief came quickly, as also my case when I began the drug several months ago.

Patients with decades of RA, a systemic disease I’ve had over sixty years, discover the air sacs in their lungs hardening like cardboard. The only treatment is a lung transplant, but ingestion of morphine slows down the body’s decline. 

With the continuing support of Twelve Step recovery in Chronic Pain Anonymous and of hospice support, I continue managing my twenty-four routine. I have no physical pain.

Routines are like pages in a book whose material inspires, entertains, and instructs. Skilled in the craft and art of bookmaking, authors nuance the next right word to carry their project forward, until the work is completed.

I liken the routine I follow, daily, to this process. At first it was awkward to string the components together, not knowing what was wrong who me. For several years, what I call picky eaters or symptoms, have lodged in my lungs gnawing on my limited energy and enveloping me in more symptoms, especially inertia and shortness of breath.

The eventual diagnosis, ILD with RA, set the necessary pacing and parameters for living in this aging body. I learned timely pauses interspersed among activities of daily living. I learned to accept help with personal care and meal preparation, with its clean-up. I learned to rest/sleep atop my bed when wipe-out reduced me to inactivity. Such patterned each day within the doable routine of my housebound status.

However, the progression of my terminal illness has mandated major adjustments: use of continuous oxygen, the use of a speech amplifier to increase the volume of my voice, the dependence upon my walker, longer night-sleep maintained by low doses of liquid morphine and Lorazapan, and recently, time-released doses of morphine, 24/7, to help me breathe—all within my flexible routine.  

Like authors at the end of their day, I’m glad to let go of my routine, until the following morning. It’s working, with God’s help.

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