Chapter Eighteen: Crash and Burn
That spring I spent about four hours a night hacking up garbage out of my lungs. I thought at first it was grass pollen but am confident now it was particulate from the air in India. I had taken a respirator with me and wore it when I was riding in the auto rickshaw. I was so concerned about my lungs I made a doctor’s appointment, and he x-rayed my lungs, and it came back that I had COPD or Chronic Obstructed Pulmonary Disease. I shared this with the LA Woman, and she essentially said I was on my own. This was partly since she had acquired a therapist through her Medicare and no longer needed my cyber companionship. She sent me a few more messages on Skype that I did not respond to. When she asked about it, I told her I had moved on. Which is what she kept telling me I needed to do.
It was January 2020 when we were in India. There were already reports coming out of China about the deadly virus circulating. People were already getting concerned, and when the practice at the Shala was over for the season there were several women from China who were stranded as their flights home had been cancelled. I shared a rickshaw back from Sharath’s Shala to Gokulam in the afternoon with one woman several times. She was already wearing a mask which is not uncommon in Asia. On the flight home about 20 percent of the passengers on the flight were wearing masks. This was early February 2020. When we got to Dubai people were intuitively social distancing in the terminal and on the trams. I stayed in a pod overnight at the terminal and the attendant was wearing a mask. On my flight from Dubai all the way to SeaTac an elderly Indian woman slept with her head on my shoulder. Neither one of us were masked. When we got to SeaTac and went through customs there were no precautions, and I was shocked. No one was taking temperatures and we were not asked any special questions. For that matter there was no social distancing.
While I was in Mysore, I was only able to do primary as I could not stand up out of backbends. A few weeks earlier I had been doing the Intermediate practice but was losing strength fast. When I got home, I continued to practice, but my body was rebelling. Sharath started having Zoom Led Primary’s and I participated in the first couple with my camera on. Then I practiced in a few with my camera off. It finally got to the point where my body felt worse after doing a practice. I had kept shortening the practice until I was only doing a few Sun Salutations and then I had to stop altogether. My last attempt at practicing was March 11, 2022. Oddly enough this was the Yoga Teacher from California’s birthday.
I continued to do my morning sitting practice, but it became increasingly difficult. For one thing it almost became impossible to quiet my mind. I was so angry for getting myself into this situation I just couldn't stop beating myself up. At first, I could get into lotus and bound lotus but that gradually slipped away. I could do Siddhasana, but even it became impossible. Then it got to where I could sit on the floor, but only with my legs straight. Then gradually trying to work my legs towards being folded into a sitting position. It was getting harder and harder to get up off the floor once my hour of sitting was up. I would have to have two yoga blocks and put my hands on them and try and raise myself up.
I have not been able to sit in a squatted pose for a long time. My legs will not cooperate. This is really disheartening as I have been sitting that way all my life as that is how my father would sit and I would imitate him. It is even getting to the point where I cannot get up out of a chair without using my arm and hands to raise me up. Even getting out of bed in the morning is becoming a real chore and I can imagine a point soon where it is going to become impossible.
I ordered an apartment sized washer off Amazon as it was too much of a chore to walk downstairs and do my laundry. I would have to take a load down, throw it in the machine, walk back upstairs, wait until it was finished, walk back down, put it on the line, and then go down and get it off the line when it was dry. I am just unable to do this anymore.
I really think I am going to have to go into a rest home. I have sold my property at 5th and Hilda, and I have 6th and Walnut on the market. The market crashed right after I sold Hilda, and it looks like I am going to have to lower the asking price. It is going to be difficult to sell Woodford because I have so many belongings and I’ve got two guys living downstairs. There are absolutely no communications between us. I need to bring a mower over so the one guy can mow the lawn, but I am just not able to get it together to do it. This is really a sad situation that I have gotten myself into. I really don’t know what I am going to do.
I just can’t believe I was so irresponsible to get myself into this situation. I should really have not been so dense and seen it coming. It was absolute delusion to think I could become a Gay Ashtanga Yoga Teacher.