Saturday, September 8, 2012

plague vessels

Good morning, everybody.

This post is related to this entry in my dream journal.

There are a lot of references in this dream to broken fluid vessels. I'm pretty sure that this relates to my mother, who is having some bad trouble with her arteries. The part in my dream where I imagine the red hose hanging from the roof of the building is obviously very indicative of an artery.

Just as a quick aside -- I find it odd that I "imagine" so much in my dreams. I'm always seeing things "in my mind's eye." I mean, I daydream all the time in waking life. So I suppose it's natural that I daydream in dreaming life as well. But it still strikes me as funny.

So, on the one hand, it seems like the broken vessels stand for my worries that my mom's blood vessels are going to burst. It's a scary thought, and one I hope is far from actuality.

To reinforce this idea -- I just remembered the fragments of another dream I had last night, where someone was putting plastic blood vessels in my body. But we had to go to a blood vessel store to get all the vessels we needed. The vessels all hung on display racks on the walls.

The vessels got smaller and smaller, down to capillary size. Each vessel size had a different product name. Some of the smallest vessels would be extremely tricky to put in, and putting them in the wrong way could cause me a great deal of pain or even death. I woke up considering this death.

So I can see from that dream that I was thinking of blood vessels all night long. But the strange thing about the vessels in the "black hair" dream is that they all seemed to leak gunk -- muddy gunk or maybe even fecal gunk. I think this has to do with my bad eating habits lately. I've eaten basically the same meal day after day for days now. I'm not sure why. It's pretty disgusting, though. And I'm sure my stomach hates me for it. So I think my own plumbing, so to speak, is coming back to haunt me in my dreams.

But I also think the image of the cabin, the fainting man and woman, and the congealing of the mess into the humanoid and then into a man has something to do with the Hantavirus.

I'm sure everybody has heard about the Hantavirus issues at Yosemite Park by now. Over the summer, a few different campgrounds, including some high-end campgrounds with cabin-like tents, were infested by mice carrying the Hantavirus. One of the main effects of the Hantavirus is that is causes severe congestion of the lungs, which leads to severe pain, constrained breathing, and even death. News reports have said that about one-third of all people who contract Hantavirus die, and that there is no known cure for Hantavirus.

Hantavirus can be passed from mice to people, news reports say. Contraction of the virus usually occurs through contact with the urine or feces of an animal carrying the virus. But in dry places like Yosemite Park, where soil is as dry and potentially airborne as dust, when an animal urinates in the soil and that urine dries, the virus itself stays in the soil and is just as potentially airborne. In enclosed spaces, chances of breathing and contracting this airborne virus are even greater.

So Yosemite, to be on the safe side, has assumed that everybody who has stayed at the campgrounds infested by the infected mice is at risk of having contracted Hantavirus. The good thing about being on the safe side is that, even though there's no known cure for Hantavirus, being able to start therapy processes at the initial stages of contraction gives people a much greater chance of surviving through the illness.

So Yosemite has issued warnings to anybody who stayed in the infected areas. The unfortunate thing is, there were about 10,000 to 20,000 (based on some reports I've read) people who had been in the infected areas.

Hantavirus, odd as it may seem, has a connection with my life. About ten years ago, I worked in a National Park in the Southwestern United States. Hantavirus was a pretty normal thing around there. People didn't catch it because they were careful. It was pretty much assumed that all mice had Hantavirus. But it wasn't a huge worry.

But Hantavirus was big news in the region when I first arrived. A few people in the region, but not in the park I'd worked at, had caught the virus. Some died. Some lived to tell the stories of their agony. But after a month or so, the incidences and news flurry seemed to vanish.

The thing is, it's pretty easy to avoid getting Hantavirus. You keep your space clean and dust-free. To remove dust from a space, you wet it down, maybe even with a cleaning solution, and wipe it away. Most of the stuff people do in everyday housecleaning is enough to keep the virus at bay. And you stay away from abandoned houses and places where you see a lot of evidence of mouse activity.

But, of course, my mind ran a couple of doom scenarios. The first was that humans, acting as carriers of the virus, would pass the virus all over the world through their own urine and feces. This is kind of silly, I'd think. In most cases in the United States, human urine and feces goes through a treatment process that would kill the Hantavirus pretty easily. The virus is pretty nasty when it gets into a body. But it's pretty weak outside the body.

The second doom scenario my mind played out was that mice would travel home with people, hitching a ride in luggage, on cars, and so forth, and spread Hantavirus to other mice in other locales, thus spreading the disease beyond those initial sites. But, again, there have been Hantavirus outbreaks in the past. And the mice could just as easily have caught rides to other places in the past. They didn't. And the outbreaks have passed away. Just like this one will.

The doom scenarios, however, were in my dream a factor, I believe, in creating the Swamp Thing figure, who then became the annoying man. The Swamp Thing would in one sense be the embodiment of a pestilence.

I believe that in medieval times the Plague was often embodied as a figure. And I might have taken my understanding of that idea as inspiration for the Swamp Thing character in my dream as well. The fact that this body is walking among a huge crowd only underscores the idea of this Swamp Thing character being the embodiment of a pestilence of large-scale effect.

But I'm not sure why the dream is connecting a Plague of Hantavirus -- which obviously will not occur in waking life -- with my mom's artery problems. Both things have a risk of death associated with them. And so maybe I'm trying to keep the Plague of Death, in the figure of the annoying man, away from my mom, who doesn't look at all like the leader woman of my dream but could be related to her anyway, by telling the annoying man that the leader woman doesn't exist.

Again, I seem to end by not knowing how to make any connections. All I ever seem to come up with are starting points.