Ambulatory Note:
Dithyramb
4 February 2019

Ever since coming home from the hospital, about three weeks ago, I’ve been acting on the assumption that I ought to keep my right (infected) foot elevated whenever possible. I don’t recall that anyone actually told me to do this, but the proposition seems to be confirmed every morning when I get up and see that a night in bed has greatly reduced the swelling. But there’s more to bed than mere elevation: I am also asleep, and sleep, I think, works its own magic. In any case, keeping my foot up during the day, mostly on a hassock that is very nearly the height of the seat of my reading chair, appears to accomplish nothing. This morning, in fact, my foot seemed to swell a bit while I sat reading the Times. I take it that most of the daily swelling is a kind of edema, rubbish-bearing fluid pooling in my foot (and no longer in my calf or ankle) whenever I am upright. The actual infected bits are a little swollen, too, but less and less every day. It’s not difficult anymore to distinguish one kind of swelling from the other. 

Nevertheless, I try to stay off my feet, and this only makes me more aware of being on them, again and again throughout the day, as I tend to this or that bit of “necessary” housekeeping. I do a great deal of standing in the kitchen, just like anybody else who cooks, and I think I can tell that it is more taxing than sitting at the computer (with my feet also on the floor). But what bothers me most is the getting up and down all the time. For all intents and purposes, I feel altogether healthy, better than ever thanks to the alcohol cutoff, and it’s boring to the point of physical unpleasantness to stay seated in my chair when there are “things to do.” I manage to do a great deal while seated, but, whatever the task, I have to fetch what I’m going to work on (a disorganized drawer, say) and then put it away when I’m done. Bear in mind that one disorganized drawer yields from three to six or more piles of sorted crap, quite aside from whatever remains in the drawer. These piles have to removed from the area around my reading chair and put somewhere. A lot of getting up, walking, and standing around is involved in all of that.

Then there is the forgotten item. I sit down at the desk with everything but — my phone, my water bottle, a paper towel to use as a napkin, something. I have to get it and bring it back. I feel as though I am always on my feet, that sitting down in my reading chair with my right leg propped on the hassock is itself a kind of walking around, up-down, up-down. I am left with the strong impression that my life is amazingly disorganized, or my living, perhaps I should say. My perambulations, taken each by each, are not very productive. 

This is yet another thing that computers, and now smartphones, ought to be good at. You ought to be able to let them follow you around for a couple of days, after which they ought to provide you with more efficient itineraries. Sadly, though, our digital devices are still manufactured more to be sold than to be used, and we’re still behaving more like children at Christmas than as adults on Labor Day. 

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