when I’m enraged or hittin’ the stage


I write to you wonderful people from Columbia County, NY tonight, in the tail end of an old farmhouse, a paradise of air conditioning in a night of tropical swelter. Frankly, it has been hard to follow up on the last blog, because it put quite fine a point on it, leaving me very little wiggle room for a while.

However, life is for the living; one of our defense mechanisms is that we gradually forget the dead. So if I plan on being remembered a bit longer, I have to scoop myself off the thrumming ground and put myself in the way of things happening again.

Commenter SWF said something striking on the last entry: “I dare say that for most of us reading this, had we gone through the same harrowing experience, would not have found literally hundreds – if not thousands – of souls reaching out to lift us up.”

First off, I hope that isn’t true, and that any one of you going through the same thing would have a similar experience. You can bet I’ll be one of them from now on; one of the first things I told Tessa when I regained sanity was that I wanted (or really, required) to be of service to anyone else who came close to the same darkness I had.

Secondly, I’ve used SWF’s comment to be a rallying cry for my own bones, to get the fuck out of bed, and to believe there is a community greater than the one any of us see every day. It’s awfully easy to complain about Facebook, and god knows I’ve done it for years, but that ends now -the brother-sister-hood we’ve got is to be cherished regardless of source.

I’ve talked about the price you pay for skirting mortality, but there are benefits. Like Michelle H’s fingernails, there are things I find I just don’t worry about anymore. But the greatest gift was receiving the achingly beautiful words from strangers and partial-acquaintances who would never have written if it weren’t serious. We act on nightmares, not daydreams, but when we do act, it’s truly amazing.


Before I kickstart my heart again, I’ll just mention how things are going. Right now, the pneumonia – however it came into me – reminds me of the Hale-Bopp comet in late April 1997. Long past its peak, one could still see it in the early evening, retreating into its oblivion, now wispy and powerless.

Likewise, it’s the nights that still leave me a little plagued, and I cop to a low-level ZZZQuil (Benadryl) addiction so I don’t wake up every 90 minutes not knowing where I am. Staircases are hard, grabbing something off the floor is bizarrely exhausting, and I occasionally feel like I fall through emotional trap doors I never see coming.

So it’s like being young and full of big ideas, then suddenly turning 93 every few hours. I can live with that for now. But enough about me, ladies and gents, how are YOU doing?


17 thoughts on “when I’m enraged or hittin’ the stage

  1. Caitlin

    Fantastic to hear you are feeling better. So very glad to hear.
    I’m up late writing consult notes, so busy but in a good way. I’ve seen some amazing cases this week. Typhoid fever, and liver abscess, and syphilis, and a guy who came in with a rash on his arm… and turns out to have the worst case of shingles I’ve ever seen, and AIDS, and a fungal infection of his brain, and hep C. For starters. Hospital is crackling with energy and anxiety because the new interns started Monday and they have NO idea what they are doing, and it’s our job to make sure they learn quickly and don’t hurt anybody.

  2. Cindi L.

    I am thankful you are feeling lifted up by so many. Your gifts are immense and I am also thankful you are sticking around to continue to share them. And no doubt your family is the most thankful of all!
    Community is one of my favorite words. Whether it’s a community of the moment — strangers who pitch in to help fellow humans — or lifelong communities with decades of shared experience. Without communities we just can’t function.
    So glad you see and feel your community lifting you up. Hold on to that. Rest and don’t overdo it.

  3. killian

    Happy happy happy you are back. Love your brains, your heart, and the community this blog affords us. Thank you.
    Here’s to exponential health progress!

  4. Diana

    Glad to hear you are on the mend Ian! I thought you might be interested that the trial I wrote you about finally ended late last week, 4 1/2 weeks later than expected. Luckily, the jury returned top count convictions for Enterprise Corruption against several defendants, including ring leaders. It ended up being quite a circus with defense counsel referencing my brand of handbag in their summations and the judge allowing comments like this and on my shoes to be a permissible part of the arguments. Happily, the jury saw through the personal attacks and did the right thing. Stay on the mend and have a great summer.

  5. Alyson

    I’m glad you’re back, however slowly.
    Today is a pretty good day. I’m blown away by the Court’s decision and my daughter blew me a kiss this morning.

  6. Julie

    So so glad to hear that you are feeling better. I wish my husband could say the same. More tests, all coming back negative for whatever the doctor was looking for. Hopefully some forward progress will be made soon. Other than that, the summers are always busy with various camps and swim team for the boys. This year we have an added component – baseball All-Stars. Who knew how time consuming that would be??? But the kids are having a good time, and that is what counts the most!

  7. kevin from NC

    Glad to get the update.. I had assumed it was the boring getting your strength back thing. Nobody talks about it but it takes longer than we expect.
    When you lose a lot you are thankful for the small things.
    Things are okay now… I have a gf now and we see one another on the weekends which is great! Most of the married folk I talk to are jealous of the arrangement.
    I work for the man now and it is not cool. Too much unfocused drama and finger pointing.. it all reminds me of my pre-bike shop days. If I could find a better job fit, things would be about perfect….
    I cannot complain however.

  8. Annie

    Thrilled to hear a new report from Old Sour! Thrilled to be seeing you next week…thrilled to be in Carrboro…and my website is launching in a week…and, of course, the DOMA ruling. Feeling little other than joy today.

  9. Salem

    I’m sure the last half of your post was brilliant, but after “kick start my heart” you just couldn’t break through the Mötley Crüe tunes in my head. :)
    It was the Kick start my heart tour we saw at the Dean Dome circa 1988-89

  10. CM

    I am doin fine. Compared to what you went through, any of my issues are just white girl problems.
    The talented producers who want to turn my book into a movie are still kickin’ it on kickstarter, and it’ll be nice if it happens. I could use something life-changing like that; couldn’t we all?
    It’s too hot. I hope you are enjoying yourself on the farm and basking in the love from so many of us who think you’re great.

  11. Salem

    So, Ian. I just made a below average coffee with my new Bialetti. Howz about sharing your recipe for the best Bialetti brew? I need the nuanced version. If you were wearing panties when you made your best cup, I need to know what color.
    Love ya

  12. Laura

    It’s 102 in Austin. I have invented frozen bananas. Maybe some people already had them but I didn’t. When eating one stops helping I may fill the bathtub with them and lie in it.
    Also, Joss made a Shakespeare movie in his backyard and I get to see it tonight.
    I score that as two wins, not even counting SCOTUS.
    Also also, my awesome kid passed his belt test with flying colors. (In case you have any memory of my Letter To Mrs. Z)

  13. Salem

    So, Ian. I just made a below average coffee with my new Bialetti. Howz about sharing your recipe for the best Bialetti brew? I need the nuanced version. If you were wearing panties when you made your best cup, I need to know what color.
    Love ya

  14. Anne

    Ahhh, so lovely to read these words from you, Ian. Three summers ago I had pneumonia — nowhere near like your ordeal; I never had to go to the hospital but was very sick at home — and it took me the better part of two months to feel anything like my true self again. So, take it nice and slow. It’s good to be up and around; not so good to exhaust yourself.
    Stay cool, stay healthy, keep writing when you can. And… please do some more drawings, or shared some you haven’t posted yet. :-)

  15. Layton

    A heap of love from Singapore.
    Pneumonia seems to be everywhere in my life. I have the walking variety right now, which I had last year for 6 months and it has decided to revisit me this past week. Nothing severe, hence the name. More like being a smart phone whose battery never charges beyond 60%. (Not so smart.) And as I wrote to you before, my Mom died swiftly of betastrep pneumonia in 1984. I know pneumonia, I suppose. But your journey, Ian, has given me hope and faith. You are strength.
    I read Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander last week and found it deeply important. Your writing is the same. If love from others to you is a source of energy and motivation to keep telling stories from your heart and through your eyes and with the magic of your mind, then I am going to double down.

  16. susannah

    Well, Ian, I’m doing okay. In transition but not stuck. Lots of big changes in my life. Gave up the house to my ex in the settlement and became a renter after 13 years of homeownership. Difficult with a capital D has been sorting through all the things I have accumulated in my 45 years of life and deciding which things to trash, donate, give away or hold onto. Downsizing is HARD. And rehashing the last 20 yrs is emotional.
    Now back to you. Your sharing this experience has been helpful. Reminding me how lucky I am to be healthy and that my life is not that bad. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your own woe-is-me crap. Thank you again for your raw honesty and genuine writings.
    I’ve always liked you and I’m glad you’re gonna stick around and continue to entertain and inspire all of us thousands of your buddies.
    Love to you, Sus.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.