Reasoning with Madness
"This is a barbaric yawp, and it will be sounded over the roofs of the world."
There are artists in this world and there is the paint by number crowd. America is mostly a paint by number scenario now. Stay in the lines, don't paint the wrong color.
Every thing must be able to be built on a conveyor belt conforming all art toward replication and mediocrity. The only judge of success in America is the almighty dollar.
There's little room for outside the line painting and there's even less room for big bold vision unless it can make a shit ton of money.
All these prebuilt paths to success make it very difficult for the true artists out there to find any success, because success in America means money or power.
Artists need "followers" and "fans" to be "successful" in America. Because those followers and fans are humanized extensions of money and power. So in order for the artist to survive, they must adhere to the paint by number formula.
But what the paint by number folks don't realize is that without the artists, their prebuilt portraits, their prebuilt paths don't exist.
People will say, "the true artist is rare" but they are not as rare as you think. What these people are really saying is "the true artist who conforms and becomes a success in the paint by number world of homogenization is rare" because it is.
There are many true artists. They are all around us. You are probably one of them and you just didn't realize it or you were never encouraged to embrace that part of you. Maybe you just didn't have time, since most of our reality is simply trying to survive. I get it.
But the true artist need not focus on success, but of the creative impulse within, the yearning to participate and channel true divinity. Tuning into the divine channel, the god realm, and letting it move through you.
Art should never be measured by these paint by number standards of "success". In fact, it should never be measured at all. It should not be held in that light. It should simply be embraced for what it is: An extension of a human's soul. A brief tribute to our divinity.
The artist thrives on creative impulse and tapping into the muses around them, making art from nothing and exposing the true essence of this reality in ways that the paint by number crowd could never achieve.
The true artist does not care if what they create generates money. That is not why they create. They create because they must. They create because they can. And they create for themselves and for anyone interested in what they create. Perhaps it has some intrinsic value outside it's mere creation, perhaps it simply exists.
Sending love to all the artists in my world who struggle with this paint by number world we live in. Especially now when the paint by number scenarios are being destroyed every day and that crowd begins to get uneasy without their guidelines. I see you. I hear you. I appreciate you.
Also sending love to the folks in the paint by number crowd who are waking up to the truth that they are actually artists and painting in the lines isn't and has never truly satisfied them.
Tap into your soul, into your muse, listen to that voice within and from without and just create. Don't worry about making money with it. That should never be the goal. Just manifest and create. Shake off the discomfort of embracing your art and just let it happen.
The exciting truth of embracing your art is where it can take you, how it transforms and manifests not your bank account, but your soul. And that creativity begins to permeate the rest of your life too.
Whether it's surviving a pandemic or just making the mundane routine pattern of your life more bearable and meaningful, becoming a true artist is the greatest gift you could ever give yourself. It will last a lifetime and it will never let you down, it will never stop.
Listen to it. Listen to yourself.
This is a difficult time for us all but I hope that it gives rise to a new generation of artists and art, in whatever way it unfolds.
My mom passed away on St Patricks Day 2020 from multisystem organ failure due to multifactorial caridogenic, hemmorrhagic and hypovollemic shock.
Significant conditions contributing to her death include: Toxic metabolic encephalopathy. Acute GI bleed. Ischemic bowel. Hypertensive emergency. NSTEMI. Cerebral Vascular Accident.
These were the reasons listed on her death certificate. But it is becoming clear that what triggered all of this was COVID-19. My father also fell ill with similar symptoms - pneumonia, respiratory and heart failure - and nearly died too. At one point they even shared a hospital room.
Neither were tested for COVID-19. The doctors were mystified by how sick my mother was and how it kept getting worse. She suffered for 6 weeks, traveling to 3 hospitals and one life flight helicopter trip to her final destination of OHSU in Portland, OR where she died.
She was in ICU for most of February, in Lebanon, OR and Corvallis, OR, only briefly regaining consciousness for a few days and transferred to a PCU in Corvallis. Doctors neglected her for three days, as her health deteriorated into brain damage from strokes, shock, and more. She was transferred back to the ICU and was flown to OHSU a day later.
She suffered horrifically. My father and I were by her side during her final days and I was right next to her as she took her final breaths. This all happened as COVID-19 ramped up across the country and the world. No one was prepared, not doctors, not government. This took down our whole society.
We have not been able to hold a funeral or memorial for my mother. Her ashes rest in a bamboo urn on my dining room table. I can't even bring them to my father. She was supposed to walk me down the aisle this summer for my wedding. A wedding that has sadly been postponed.
In addition to my mother being slaughtered by this virus, I am one of the millions of Americans instantly devastated by the hellish economic damage that is being wrought on this nation.
A week after my mom passed, my work closed their doors and furloughed most of the staff. I was fortunate enough to keep some hours, but they are not enough to cover my bills. I have not received unemployment yet despite filing nearly 3 weeks ago, nor have I received the $1200 that Steve Mnuchin said should last me ten weeks.
We are watching the destruction of every industry from healthcare to manufacturing to retail to well, take your pick. Tens of millions are immediately out of work with no help but a mingy $1200 and maybe some unemployment. If they can get it actually filed.
So many businesses shuddering staff and closing down, some forever. Heritage staples of communities, legendary restaurants, pillars of cities, gone forever. Poof. Like that. How many shattered dreams? How many families are and will lose everything?
Had our president acted properly when the alarms were going off, much of this could have been avoided. We could have braced for this better. But we all know that's not what happened.
My mother's death has been a tragic blow to me and my family. And the reality that it was most likely COVID-19 that caused her horrible death is another layer to our agony. But we may never get confirmation. You can't test ashes.
As I learn more about this virus, I realize it did many of the things to my mom that it has done to many of the elderly and immune compromised. It rips through the vulnerable like a typhoon, from the brain to the toes, every part of the body is attacked. Lungs are flooded, the brain is shredded, the stomach bleeds, nerve endings are eaten, kidneys break down, blood pressure tanks and skyrockets, fevers rage, pneumonia never goes away, the heart collapses, blood starts to clot, all organs fail from catastrophic shock.
The fact that our nation's response was so slow means the medical staff wasn't even thinking of this. It just wasn't on the radar in any significant way. I asked every hospital and none of them took it seriously. One nurse in Lebanon even joked early on as my mom fought a fever, that, "at least she doesn't have corona virus." Yet the medical record doesn't reflect that. In her only lab results, way back in Lebanon, there's even a note to make clear she was tested for all strains of corona virus. Except for the current 2019 novel corona virus.
From there, no further tests were done, despite a bizarre pneumonia that mystified the OHSU NICU doctors. A sickness that did not end or respond to antibiotics that seemed to spread throughout her entire body, through every system, destroying her piece by piece. Ruthlessly.
Had it been clear in January how serious this coming threat was, when we still had time to prepare and the government could have acted appropriately, perhaps the hospitals would have the ability, the foresight and the tools to fight this. But they did not. And in many cases, they still don't.
And sadly, my mother also faced the tragedy of neglect during a crucial time in her hospitalization. Her medical records expose this quite clearly. For three days in the PCU in Corvallis, OR following a lengthy stay in ICU in two hospitals, her health deteriorated rapidly while her doctors practically did nothing to address it.
It wasn't that they couldn't figure out what was happening, it was that they didn't even admit something was happening. They considered her failing cognitive functioning, her inability to speak, form sentences or swallow anymore, they considered that to be her "baseline" functioning.
It took crucial days for the medical staff to agree to do any basic tests, as they grossly assumed my mother simply had dementia, a disorder that develops over years, not days. They were hesitant to perform even a MRI that ultimately showed the storm of strokes in her brain that exploded during that time. We begged them to do this test. The nearly blank medical record during these crucial days in the PCU speaks volumes.
By the time the medical staff decided to take any action to save my mother's life, it was too late. While they ignored her, her brain was collapsing worse by the day and her vitals were failing, her fever came back and a slew of bizarre health concerns became very apparent until it all culminated in respiratory failure, sepsis and shock. We sat helpless watching as nurses made limited efforts to help my mother as she was dying.
It was clear my mother was in serious trouble and for days, our begging of the doctors to do anything went ignored. It wasn't until I filed formal complaints, threatened lawsuits and media coverage with the hospital administration that they took the situation seriously. Keep in mind, this is before any hospitals had any cases of COVID-19, so there was no reason she should have been neglected at this time.
The afternoon my fiance and I met with patient relations and laid out our concerns, which patient relations agreed were grave and serious, my mother's health collapsed into shock. That evening she was rushed back to the ICU.
By then, the damage had been done. On Ash Wednesday of 2020 my mom was life flighted to Portland, but it was merely her body that went. Her mind was gone, destroyed from the army of strokes and seizures that took her sight, her cognition, her ability to swallow and ultimately her life.
I share my story hoping to put a human element into all the stats and death rates that get shared. My mom wasn't a number. She was a beautiful, kind soul who loved kids, flowers, comedy, reading, cats, Native American and Egyptian culture, vikings, aliens and the paranormal. Born and raised in Florida, she loved going to the beach.
She was an old shaman of the 60s, a flower girl hippy with the soul of a rock n roll sage. A piano player and lover of music who never complained even as she lost the ability to perform, as she suffered crippling pain from multiple disabilities throughout her life, only to succumb to something more horrific and brutal than anything she ever suffered throughout her entire life.
My mom lived for hanging out with family and friends, going out to eat (so she didn't have to cook she would say). She was always the heart and soul of all holiday gatherings. Everyone loved her.
Carla Sundberg was only 66 years old.
She was a mother of three. Grandmother of six. Wife of 47 years to my father, who is now a widow.
I haven't even been able to visit him since she died as I don't want to risk getting him sick or causing his death. He turned 72 a week ago and we all celebrated on chat.
I miss my mom tremendously. I miss my dad. This new reality has been very difficult to comprehend and adjust to. But we're trying.
I don't know what's next but I wanted to share my story. I have been in a very dark place for some time now and I feel like me, my family, and millions of others have similar stories.
We need testing. We need to help our healthcare workers. We need supplies not just for them, but for all Americans. Masks, gloves, etc. should be easily available to us all.
We need to pay all essential workers a living wage once and for all and we need to pay all of them back hazard pay for every hour worked during this time.
We all need time to regain our financial footing. The federal government - not the state or local government - needs to put an indefinite moratorium on ALL bills until we can go back to work safely again. Not a forbearance. A total hold.
Also, double the check amounts to Americans and pay that every month we struggle. Or offer expanded SNAP to all families. Federal government can prop up state and local govt under national emergency measure to ensure regular services continue.
Add the months we couldn't pay our bills throughout this time period to the end of the loans, spread the cost of utilities of the missing time out over 2-5 years of slightly increased rates (a few bucks on top of the bill) and no one will feel the pain.
We could weather this storm. There are solutions. But we have to make them happen. If our elected leaders cannot do it, we must fire them. We elect new leaders who can and will do the right thing.
November is coming. The ghosts of the dead will be in every voting booth, on every ballot and in every heart that votes. I know for a fact my mother's death will be behind every one of my votes. She will be guiding my family's votes. We will make sure her death is not in vain. Her voice will be heard. And we will not be alone.
Learning that my mother may have actually caught COVID19 as well as my father, both of whom were on their death beds at the same time battling pneumonia and heart failure and breathing problems. My dad won the battle and survived. My mom did not. My dad was never tested. My mom was in the same hospital. I was told she received an older test version of coronavirus which didn't actually check for the covid19 strain back at the 1st hospital in Lebanon when her symptoms were severe and somewhat a mystery to the medical staff. They couldn't get her to wake up so sent her to Corvallis where she did wake up in ICU and was transferred to the PCU room where my dad was fighting for his life. My mom's doctors neglected her for multiple days (verified by her medical records) then lied to the family about her condition and refused to do testing that we requested. Other doctors did those tests to find exactly what we expected before her health took a horrible turn for the worst and she went into shock after she seemed to recover from a brutal strange case of pneumonia. But at this point, we've yet to find any records of her getting tested for covid19 by anyone, anywhere. I don't know how to process any of this right now...
Finished that tiger show. Initial thoughts did not change through the season. Aside from three of the workers on the "zoo" - two of which were missing limbs and the other just a burnt out shell of a guy - Fuck all these monsters. I hope they all rot in hell. Especially Carol. You know she's a murderer. I thought that before they said her husband was missing. She's a monster as much as the rest of these hideous fucks. They ALL capitalized on the torture and imprisonment of wild animals. I pray that all these freaks end up in the cages they made their living on. What was funny at first became monstrous and gut wrenching. What a perfect metaphor for the sickening times we live in. That show is America. Full stop.
Well today I join the 6.6 million in the unemployment line. We will see if next week is any different. Luckily I've got a meager rainy day fund built and fully stocked kitchen. We shall see if that $1200 ever shows up. Not everyone is as lucky. Sending strength and love toward all my fellow human souls going through these dark times. Many of us are going to struggle, many of us already are, but we will overcome. May you and your loved ones and your friends survive this plague. And for those we've already or may lose from this horrific virus, may the afterlife be worth the pain they were dealt on this planet. And may their families find peace.
Who Am I?
I am Ahab.