Waking from Unsettling Dreams

In the first dream I was in and out of a bar that was headquarters for a violent motor cycle gang reminiscent of the Sons of Anarchy.   The tough men and women in there tolerated me, nobody seeming to even notice me.   I didn’t interact with anyone, I was just there, passing through.   I don’t know why I was there, I wasn’t drinking and rarely enter bars of any kind in real life.   I returned to the bar several times in the course of the dream.   

Around me fights got out of control, people were killed.  Some of the dead bodies were displayed outside the bar in grotesque positions, reminiscent of the crucified left as grim examples to others considering defiance of Rome.   At one point in our history crucified bodies were displayed in long lines, to the horizon.   It was a terrible dream, although I felt myself to be in no danger.   

In hindsight, the violence seemed virtually random, I could have been next, except that nobody paid any attention to my comings and goings.   The bar, I realize now, was set on curving, residential Marengo Street in Jamaica Estates, a place I visited often as a child.  

The second dream shook me up in a different way.   I’d invited a former good friend over, among a group of people I’d invited to my apartment that evening.  The former friend in question, I’ll call him Andy, had demonstrated to me in real life how little our friendship meant to him, how superior he felt to me and how illegitimate and pathetic he thought my feelings of hurt were.  During our last conversation he was unrepentant and even bullying, over the phone.  He may have been equally unrepentant in person, but I doubt he would have tried to bully me face to face.

This dream was unsettling to me for reasons unlike the couple of other bad dreams I’ve had where this guy shows up.   In those dreams I am shaken up afterwards by the palpable feeling of violence I experience.  He does something provocative and I react with anger, shove him, slap his face hard, kick him after knocking him down.   This shakes me up because I am dedicated to being as nonviolent as possible in word and deed (not that I’d meekly let someone attack me, don’t get any ideas).  In the most recent dream it was much different.

He’d set fire to some things in my kitchen and several of us struggled to put the flames out.   I knew at the time that this pyromania was a manifestation of his mental illness and not anything malicious directed at me.  Like with my often vicious father, I realized he could not help himself.   Others at the gathering reacted with anger, I didn’t.  When they began verbally attacking him I told them that I’d invited him and that he was my guest just like they were.   

As I was defending him he lit another fire and I took a cooking pot and banged it loudly on the wall next to his head.  I yelled at him.  I scared the shit out of him.  He disappeared.  We managed to put out the new fire.  Then I heard sirens, which grew closer and closer.  Somebody called out that someone had called the fire department. 

I opened the door and Andy was standing in the hallway, a shattered expression on his face.  He told me sheepishly that he’d called the fire department.  I took this as the best apology somebody as damaged as he is can offer.  I patted the side of his face and a fireman stepped through my front door.     I assured the fireman that the small kitchen fire was under control, he made a quick round of the apartment, signaled his colleague and they took off. 

This dream was fucked up in more ways than I can count.  

I was fairly wide awake, after very short sleep, and I succinctly recounted the dreams to Sekhnet, who was getting ready to go to work.   I mentioned to her that I had to find a new nephrologist, most likely, to follow up with the treatment of my kidney disease.   The need to find yet another new nephrologist is likely because my fucking health insurance changed in 2018.  She asked when I was going to make an appointment to see the Integrative Medicine doctor I’d spoken to months back, a man trained to view the body/mind/emotions as a holistic ecosystem [1]. 

My kidney disease, while eventually deadly, is not serious enough to inspire big pharmaceutical research dollars to be invested in it.  Its cause is unknown to science.  The specialists I’ve visited are blind men clutching the elephant’s tail, ear, leg, penis, promising the darts they throw in a dark room have a decent chance, as high as 30%, of curing what will eventually kill me, if not cured.

Maybe that’s all the unsettling dreams were supposed to do, wake me up and remind me to find a new nephrologist, take perhaps a thousand dollars and go visit this holistic doctor.   We are all heading toward death.  In my case, this kidney disease may not even be the thing that eventually kills me.   

Having this disease is enough to wake me up, though, and not want to waste time.   Writing something thoughtful every day, until I can figure out how to get some of this organized and read, and get some money for it, seems to be the most productive use of however many days or years I have remaining to me. 

Isn’t that the challenge of every human life?  Finding a meaning that gives beauty to the colors around us, music to the sounds we hear and excellent taste to the food we eat?   Satisfaction in our work, pleasure in our play.   A sense of connection to others that makes us cherish them as beings as precious as we ourselves are.


[1]  ho·lis·tic  (adjective)

PHILOSOPHY:  characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.

MEDICINE:  characterized by the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the physical symptoms of a disease.


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