Briefly, I faced down the whole neurology department of a hospital here in Boston that is one of the great teaching hospitals for Harvard University Medical School—I did this only with the support of my husband in my corner—and stood my ground and ended by leaving the hospital (with MD approval) with scripts for my choice of med levels, not the doctors.’ In short, I left the hospital yesterday with scripts giving my med levels of the medicine Keppra as 500 mg (3 tablets in AM, and 3 tablets at night). This was a victory for me. In only three days (I have been at this level for five days), I have recovered enough from my former med levels to allow me to go out of the house three times yesterday, one of those being a trip downtown (all the way to the other side of the city), on two buses and three trains, walking half a mile to the hospital pharmacy, who actually had the med prescribed to me on sale at the proper level, AND I feel good enough to be able to write you a letter (which, I can feel in my bones) is going to be one of my old letters, not one of those notes that I have been trying to pass as letters in the last year or two. So, I feel triumphant. I fought them and I won. Now, having a seizure does not invalidate my argument. You must not think that. I have gotten at least two of these neurologists to agree with me that it is impossible to make me “seizure free,” the goal that my own neurologist (as distinct from the hospital staff) insisted was her goal. I told her that “seizure free” was being bought at the price of turning me into a zombie. They can make me seizure free only by making me comatose. I refused yesterday afternoon, and I won. Let’s hear it for brains! The future may include seizures, but it will also include brain activity that is important and satisfying and mine. Rejoice.
Neal Katyal is a lawyer and former Department of Justice lawyer from California (I think), a frequent legal commentator on Chris Hayes, and I think I have fallen in love with him in the last year. He actually wrote the original law which created the “Special Counsel” (Mueller). When he opened his comments tonight, in his first sentence, he commented on “the mess” that the Attorney General has made of the rollout of the Mueller report. He actually used a stronger word than “mess,” but I have not recovered (see above) enough yet to be able to remember what it was. It meant “mess” but the word was more colorful, more messy. Everybody was careful (because it may end up happening), but what they were all talking about was impeachment, the first thing I thought of when I heard the news at 7 pm. It’s would be the first time since John Mitchell that a cabinet secretary is impeached. On the issue of South America, Rachel Maddow is saying right now that it is clear the State Department and the Secretary of State don’t have any idea what they are doing. Apparently they didn’t have a plan for what might happen in Venezuela. The commentators on cable are saying, “Just incredibly embarrassing that the United States has no idea what it wanted to happen in Venezuela.”
This news from Venezuela fought for public attention last evening with the Attorney General’s prompting the Special Counsel’s letter, published by the NY Times yesterday afternoon. For the AG to mislead the public in this manner is, in itself, an impeachable offense. “You can’t lie to Congress,” Pelosi said, “That’s a crime.” The part of all this, at least to me, that is most interesting is the way reporters and commentators manage to refer to the past—the deep past—in their responses to the breaking news. That is, they make fairly frequent references to “the King.” Or “kings” or “the sovereign.” Listen to one of these commentators long enough, and his discourse becomes Shakespearean, which, as you probably could say of all Americans, is all any of us over here know about British history. The centuries-long struggle between sovereign and parliament, surviving only for many of us in Black Rod and his pounding on the door of the House of Commons when the Queen sends to the House to attend the Sovereign in the Lords for the State Opening of Parliament. We see in that brief moment, the huge drama of centuries of struggle, which we here in this country are in the middle of at this moment. I have been watching the news for hours, and I have heard various commentators just simply drop the words “the King,” into whatever they are talking about, and the echoes of centuries of blood suddenly sound. Those words refer not to their original referent but to Trump or to the presidency or to any executive power on this side of the Atlantic. Of course, Trump is too little read in history of the UK to know that he should be happy he lives in the 20th and 21st centuries rather than in the Seventeenth, when kings got their heads cut off instead of the President having his Attorney General forced to give his sworn testimony before Congress. Because in the great struggle for supremacy, despite the three co-equal branches, it is the people who have the final say. Given the very last moments of Charles’ life, a comparison between Trump and Charles I shows that they are— both of these men—subject to the law. Even our memories are connected—the UK and the US—and most particularly, it seems, our nightmares.
Letter to a friend in the United Kingdom, May 1, 2019, posted here May 2.