Cranium

Cranium: (n) the part of the skull that encloses the brain.

 After nearly six years of living in a vegetative state, unable to communicate, in what appeared to be constant discomfort and pain, my son, Joshua, died of pneumonia.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

We were traveling at the time, and found ourselves in the state of Washington. The state law required an autopsy. I was in no mood to object. I certainly did not want to interrupt my grieving by arguing over a body that had long ago lost its impetus, and now was finally granted rest.

After a couple of days, the coroner called me on the phone and told me I could come in and meet with him to go over the results of his findings. We had a lovely chat.

When I arrived at the surprisingly small facility, he invited me back to the morgue where he was working on a murder victim who had just come in. I don’t know whether I was supposed to be there—if it was legal or proper, but I think from our conversation on the phone, the coroner had developed some tenderness and empathy, and felt like we could talk.

Shortly after I arrived in the room, where there was a body covered with a sheet, the coroner was beckoned to take a phone call.  I sat in a chair, waiting for his return, trying to mentally gain perspective on the past few days.

I was peering around the room when my eyes suddenly fell on a skull sitting on a shelf. A cranium.

For some reason, even though there was plenty of light in the room, I felt all alone and frightened. I wanted to run away. I had no business being in that room, and certainly not in my present broken condition.

When the coroner didn’t return, I stared at that skull. That cranium. A bony case which once held a brain—a mind filled with millions of thoughts, feelings, connections, purposes and perhaps a poem memorized at age five.

It was surreal.

How could we humans be so alive, so full of wonder, inspiration and creativity, and then, with the removal of blood and oxygen, turn into what appeared to be a cheap prop from a horror flick?

I cried.

Part of me was crying for my lost son. But some of me was weeping for us, as humans.

How noble our creation.

How fragile our pose.

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Anti-septic

dictionary with letter A

Anti-septic: (adj) of or relating to substances that prevent disease-causing micro-organisms.

They put a sign on my door.

Apparently, my condition was common enough that these signs were readily available for ordering from some medical supply house.

The sign read, “This patient is septic.”

Nurses and doctors started walking into my room wearing gloves and masks. I felt like I was in a horror flick and had unfortunately been cast in the role of “the horror.”

What they discovered was that I had an infection which had spread throughout my bloodstream, and therefore every excretion from my body, including my sweat and spit, was toxic.

It was weird.

It made me appreciate the term “anti-septic.” Because when I was anti-septic–completely against the concept–people liked me a lot more and didn’t have to bundle up like mummies to be in my presence.

They put me on a treatment and within a couple of days they were able to remove the sign and my practitioners stripped themselves of all necessary protection.

Now…without becoming too philosophical, we can be septic in many ways, including emotionally, spiritually and mentally. All “septic” really means is that we are poisonous to those around us. It would be good to engage an anti-septic at that point, don’t you think?

So when I am emotionally septic–in such a bad mood that I’m not fit to be a caretaker of snakes–I quarantine myself so as not to spew unrighteous feelings into the air to infect the general populace.

When I’m spiritually septic i spend some time thinking about how blessed I am, and then, with tears in my eyes, apologize to a generous Father in heaven, who is waiting for me to come to my senses.

And when I’m mentally septic–promoting my own prejudices instead of truth–I allow myself the grace of shutting my mouth until some healing can happen in my thoughts.

Anti-septic is a good thing. Because septic kills.

And we certainly have too much of that going around, don’t we? 

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Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix