Last night I had a spinal tap in Berlin.
Y'know, it didn't actually hurt that bad. I'd heard the people that made the movie This is Spınal Tap picked the name because it was supposed to be the most painful medical procedure. Apparently the fictional band said they wanted a name that represented dominance and pain. And when a doctor gives you a spinal tap he's dominating you and causing you pain.
It hurt. But it was only a little worse than the usual jabs you get from doctors. If you want to know more about what a spinal tap is go here.
The reason I had my spine tapped is because that illness I told you about last time just kept getting worse. The main symptom was a massive headache. My friend Jan took me to the local emergency room. He said that I should expect to wait there for four or five hours. Luckily it was a slow day and we got in within a few minutes.
They drew some blood and saw that I had a "massive infection." They kept repeating this diagnosis throughout the evening. I want to call my next band Massive Infection.
Since the only symptoms I had were a headache and fever, the doctor was extremely concerned I might have meningitis. Oh dear! I kept thinking, "second rate Buddhist author Brad Warner, who was never nearly as good as Deepak Chopra or Eckhart Tolle, died in Berlin of meningitis during a largely unsuccessful tour of Europe."* That's just what I need as an obituary. "Warner was known mostly for making fun of much more important Buddhist masters by using a sock monkey."
Anyway, the spinal tap showed no signs of meningitis. And I am not paraplegic, which was one of the risks of the procedure listed on the form I had to sign before it was done. So that's good news.
The bad news is that I had a buttload of tests. Gosh only knows what that's gonna cost me. They even did a CT scan. And in the end they couldn't determine where the infection was. I suspect it's a bladder infection from my previous stuff and it just wasn't showing up on the tests they gave me. With all this I was in the ER for around eight hours. Mostly waiting.
They wanted me to stay in the hospital for about three days while they did more tests. But I knew I'd never be able to afford that. They gave me the option of taking a general antibiotic. The doc said he was 80-90% sure it would be effective. So I went with that. Now, about 12 hours after taking the first dose, it certainly feels like it's working.
Because of this I had to cancel my appearance at the German Buddhist Union's conference on sexuality. This was a huge disappointment because that was one of the ones I was really looking forward to. But God will not be mocked. And when he says you're not gonna do something you'd best listen.
As for zazen, I gotta tell ya, it's hard to do that shit when you're sick. I've managed to do a bit here and there. Finally this morning I got through a half-hour sit. It's not a miracle cure, but it helps.
I always go with what's most practical. If my body is screaming "lay down!!!" Then I'll skip zazen until things improve. You shouldn't do zazen if your body is crying out for bed rest.
But last night when the intensity of my headache made it impossible to sleep, I got up and did a little zazen. Oddly enough I started getting sleepy! Which was a very good thing. So I went back to bed after a little while.
I'm not a generally sickly person. But this unsettled lifestyle is doing me in. So I will not be touring again like I have been in the past. Maybe this is God's way of forcing me to set up some type of center where people can come to me instead of me always coming to them. I'll still travel. But I'll limit it to single events.
For now, I'm still planning on seeing most of the rest of this tour through. Although I may cancel a few events to try and limit my travel. Those of you who ought to be contacted about this, will be.
Once I'm feeling up to it.
Enjoy some rare Spın̈al Tap I dug up on YouTube:
* Just so you know, I don't think this tour has been unsuccessful at all. I just imagine that's how it might be reported.