Wednesday, May 10, 2006

5.10.06, A Day in the Cancer Life

A Day in the Cancer Life, first part.

You wake up and feel the fog, a kind of Ambien glaze or hangover--I feel this everyday though they say “You shouldn’t feel any ‘hangover’”--how did they know? Psychological suggestion and psychosomatic reaction? And this is not so pleasant, yet the fact that the drug can push me into sleep, hold me down there, for close to eight hours, eight hours I really try for every night, outweighs the hangover side-effects. The first change in my relation to life now is that almost every choice I make seems to be a balance analysis--are the benefits of this act worth more than the potential side-effects? Surgery. Chemo. Water and food intake--when you have no appetite and your stomach feels tiny. Running. Another pill--any round of pill-taking might be 2 to 8 pills, not every one is necessary you see, I have to go through the cost-benefit analysis every time. Phone calls. Paying down certain bills. This list has no end.

Why is Protonix Man called protonix man? Because it’s the first drug of the day, to protect the stomach--my dosed doubled as of today--and it lends my superhero name. I love the people here (“here” in my world of family-friends that spills into the blogosp-here) too--I just got the silliest and most hilarious custom-made teddy-bear, or teddy-cat, doll which was made to be Protonix Man, or rather my sidekick--very cool in and of itself, but more than a sidekick I finally got my goddam cape!! No shit--I will wear it sometime and post a photo. Another genius earlier sent homemade cookies, which were great, but better still, they were in a box that now holds my dozen or so prescription bottles--all the ones Rush Limbaugh has wet dreams for--that has a custom-made “P” on its top. Now I have box, cape, a double-prescription of Protonix, and a stuffed sidekick who can’t really be called P-Man, since that’s me, so I’ll call him Screwman instead. (Provenance is too hard to explain, but it is pronounced as it would be in Utah, the final “a” in “man” should be said like a schwa or shwa, represented by the upsie down "e," that “everyvowel” or between-everyvowel; other words same sound, “Newman” in _Seinfeld_ or “Carman” in _South Park_.) Protonix Man and Screwman. You can imagine the kind of trouble they’d get into.

After this, coffee. One of the lowest days of my whole cancer experience came the day after Frank left, not a result of the leaving since we’ll meet up again, it was that I went in groggy to fill the coffee maker, put in the filter after the secret fold that forces the water through just that much slower so the coffee gets that much stronger, pull out the grinder, & fill it with beans. Then, the silence of death! Coffee death, I mean. Fucking grinder dead, after somehow squeaking by long enough to make coffee for Frank’s last day, but in my Moment of Need, in the valley of the shadow--nada nada nada. Oh me, oh cruel life! Anemia, so what; impacted bowels, well, kind of serious; fevers, I’ll live through. No fresh coffee in the morning--that is Shakespearean! Next day I bought a new one--strange how purchases now have warrantees that will likely outlast my own. Shopping that makes you go “hmm,” new meaning The Clash song “All Lost in the Supermarket.” On every ordinary morning, coffee, black, then feed the cats, flip on NPR, move coffee to laptop next to my downtown-Puget Sound view, and I kind of settle in.

Settle in? Emailing and coffee drinking and writing--all now structured, however, in a pain-in-my-ass manner around protonix time, food time, watch the clock and then chemo drug time--it’s too structured and confining. What you go into academia to avoid. The Clock. Now, though, it’s my life. The “normal” activities of email and/or writing are mixed between work and personal, tenure-track and non-tenure-track; and I will not lie and say that I think a great deal about the former so much anymore. What I do think about ? “Don’t lose your job so that you don't lose your insurance.” That is all there is. My job or my Appointment was renewed (the yrs before tenure at here are split into two three-year “appointments”) recently, and if all were to go smoothly… and I do have an academic book manuscript, nearly done, however it sits under an increasing pile of dust near my desk. As other books, papers, medical bills, thermometers, drug literature, and articles on GTX and the like, etc. pile up, the academic MS gets slowly pushed farther and farther from desk, further and further from the mind. One of these days I won’t be able to find it any more, that’s my guess. _Politicizing the What…_ Part of the daily calculus is how much do you value such a book, how much do you value another book in progress--on a different topic, essays, non-fiction, poems, fiction--what is it you want to do when you’re feeling fit enough to do it? The life-coaching question gone horrifically wrong: “Imagine you have six months to live, what then do you want to accomplish?” “Uh…..” Polish poems, push publishers to get out a book of translations that has also been gathering dust for months and months, a chapbook that also waits. The daily calculus--and I suck at math, but not at mixing metaphors.

The average time spent on this blog each day by each reader/viewer/voyeur has gone up to something like 6 and half minutes, in light of which, maybe I should cut this entry here. That’s most of my morning/s, the rest can wait. Frank’s guest blog is still on it’s way--right Frank?--and there’s more extrajesus on Thomas for later, still gestating, growing.

Franky Scale: 8.


piss & moan ** said...

i knew if i had big ones that screamed "here we are!!!-party can start now" like the aveda gals in all of their "coolness", i'd get a response. shit.
sorry your grinder broke - i'm with you on the "no functioning without my coffee"...
sent you something in c/o the university...(since i didn't hear back from you :P)...i'm on a roll, baby!!!

spacely said...

It just made me smile all day to know you laughed for atleast 25 minutes. You will always be my protonix hero bro. luv u :)
P.S. screwman really cramped my i'm going to have to out do myself.

Slarry said...

cudos to spacely for P Bear. May Mr. Jones wear his cape while gestating, creating and writing. Maybe new, and hiden powers. : )
glad you are laughing, spot. always a nice sound.

tossing salads said...

thanks spacely for making p-man laugh. do luv his laugh.

am waiting for the pic. spot in a cape, almost as hard to belive as some other clothes you used to wear. ;)

matt is in the playoffs. lost to alta yesterday, playing riverton next. im just working my fucking ass off. too many sick people, im taking as good a care of them as i can. think about you while doing it. hoping that "they" up there are doing the same for you.

you are my hero bro. loves and squeezes,

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Metaphor Martini

(You know the contents!)

Shake and pour!

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