Monday, June 26, 2006

6.26.06, The Lower Case Connection

[Since I posted this, below, later last night I'm going to leave it up as today's post, give people a chance to read it. I'll try to get up a Franky Scale number later on — I'm still too much feeling a sleeping-pill hangover to give you a good number now. And the rest of the day is flying back to New York, where I'll be for the rest of the week. P.S. you may have noticed I've had to turn on "comment moderation," but please don't let that discourage you. Most every comment still goes up, it's just a complicated world. -Mr. J.]

Tomorrow off to NY, a break into the cool and dry weather I love so well. Ahh. No need even for an AC. ..... uh. (even here in the emerald city i can feel my forearms stick to the desk between keystrokes, makes me think of all the random places i've tried to write something out or get something down where the weather can be accursed, granted that "humidity" here is a joke, but new york or boston, seoul, bangkok — forget about it, as they say, bloomington, rochester and ithaca, god do i hate humidity. if hell were to be catholic, there might not be flames and burning flesh but humidity and sticky flesh instead...)

Who knows at what point I will actually find a thread tonight, or whether I will, and so if its helps the sententious out there or simply the plot-driven, try to imagine this as a real-time while-I-pack post: scattered, disjointed, almost MTV-ish, the Mekons in the background, here and there at once. Reporting on a day that's almost over but also never started.

Btw, the Franky Scale was about 8 today, really pretty good, though Seattle was uncharacteristically "warm," or simply hot. Somewhere in the low 90s. For those who only need a number, you're excused ;-) (of course this is a joke...)

Sick in East: You could look for cancer links, the blog about cancer and all. In terms of food for thought I recently learned that the friend of good friend (someone on the East Coast in fact) who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at just about the time I was, has been doing really well. Caught it early, successful surgery, small tumor, and so on. You know what? I've never met this man, he's older than I am, different generation, different profession no doubt — but the thing is that I care when I hear about him and his state. I'm not yanking my own chain, it's just bizarre to me, that's all, you can hear the new agers talking about Connections now, yes capital C. When I hear he's doing well I feel better or I feel glad, genuinely glad. (We could get out the analyst's tools, sure, it still comes back around to my narcissistic needs maybe because I want to see myself in him — he gets better and that means I'll get better. Yes, Dr. Melfi. That's too easy though.) I think rather there might really be some connection, however imaginary, however lower case, that has shrunk a few places in the world, with a few certain people to be found there. And there changed to here.

Sick in West: That's the story of one person, one that's heartening, one to feel good about, one we are — or, I, am ready for. There is another story, another real person who is the friend of a friend, maybe once more removed than the man back East. This one is about another man, this one in Seattle, one whose information was retrieved for me by a another good friend. Phone numbers, email address I think was there, and one other thing, was it actually his address? Anyway, the point was that my friend and I had talked about finding someone to connect with — my own little support group — and in part, as a result of the Double Whammy diagnosis referred to previously in the blog (first whammy [sp?] being "you've got cancer" and second whammy being "oh, and, btw, you're cancer is one of the most fucked up types you can get." [dramatic pause for effect]), I'm really not interested in talking to just anybody with cancer. I of course want to talk to someone who is also apparently paddleless, like myself.

My friend found such a one here, with the same diagnosis, same cancer, and when he was diagnosed a year ago he was given even less time, "given time". . . who gives time?. . ., given less time than I was. Something like three months. Of course, I could feel good about the fact of his survival for that long so far because it can either suggest I might do better than they say, too, or simply just out of gladness for him. A year. A whole year. Like a third my oncologist has mentioned, a tough rancher in Oregon who was about 18 months past due, at least he was last time I checked about two months ago. Hardy, keeps living his life, working on the ranch, doing chemo, trying to just keep going. So far so good. You hear the inspiring stories, right? I guess the others don't get passed on. Well.

I guess it was run by him and it was all right for me to call at some point. After 6 weeks I was still kind of nervous to do it. What can I say? It's weird enough to tell anybody you're sick like this, let alone just to be sick like this, but imagine calling up a stranger: "Dude, my friend says you're gonna die from wicked bad cancer. Sorry, me too. Let's talk." Lessons in awkwardness, or just insensitivity, or maybe there's just no out. It's all a bad joke. If you'll forgive another Sopranos reference: Furio's father in Italy, dies of cancer in season 4, go figure, and Furio can only say ". . . The cancer don't respect nothing" or nobody. So I hadn't called as of a few days ago because I was, perhaps, emotionally unprepared, even though there was so much potential help there. Too, what if he doesn't feel well when I call? I know that feeling to some extent. Get to the point... The reason I bring this story up is in part because it represents the "other" of two people I've heard much about with pancreatic cancer, and because the good friend who got the numbers called yesterday.

We talked about a few different things, it wasn't like she called just to say this, but he's dead. Just happened. There is nothing to analyze about it. He got a year, 9 months of winnings. That's three times what they "gave" him. I watched Frank throwing dice about a month ago, you stand at the table, shake, throw, and wait; you pocket your initial bet and play only with your winnings. No, there is no moral to this story, it's just been on my mind. It's not an answer, Frank, but it does speak to the question you put out in one comment, a question that cut through all the bullshit, something like how long does it take every day from when you get up to when you start thinking about the Big Casino.

Time to get my bags, I always put off packing until the last minute. Why is that?

[NB: NPR junkies among the readers might have heard a story this morning about/by a journalist who is also dealing with late-stage cancer, who had his expiration date given to him, has beaten that date, and sounds like he's doing what he can, like most of us I suppose. Just trying to keep going, working as much as he can, etc. His story was solid, realistic, and so I've added a link to that blog--look up on the right side. -Mr. J.]


spacely said...

Have a nice trip. Try not to get lost in the terminal again (just kidding) ;). Wish I could have carried your bags. I love n.y.c., for just a vacation. I have always wanted to take Whitney, she'd have a blast! I still would have liked to visit you in your seattle. Since you let sheri come and not me, you must like her better. ;) Are you laughing at me yet....good! You are such a silly.
You know I called the phone company and I really can recieve text messages and phone calls from seattle!! Fancy that...and I thought my phone was broken
:) :) :) :) (is that the symbol for laughing?) Any who, have a nice trip and remember...You could be pregnant!!! Love you...ME

lefty said...

hi spot,
i just wanted to take a quickie and thank you for your hospitality while (s)larry and i were visiting. thank you so much for the place and for showing us the real deal, the underbelly as it were, of seattle. much much better than tourista. i adored gill and it was nice to just hang. it was hard to see you recieve the juice and even harder to see you quietly in pain, queezy, impatient and tired yet i could tell your mind was racing (was it?) so, thank you again. i hope we weren't too much work. you now know that we can be punctual... :P
have a safe and restful trip. i hear the weather is wet. i hope that doesn't affect you too much. it has affected a few of our clients who are on the east coast quite a bit. it will just be a good excuse to stay put and rest.
love from the Ls

tossing salads said...

spot - have a good time there in that really huge, free city. its not sticky here just so fucking hot you could fry an egg .... and its only june. as ms. spacely said, you never know what can happen. maybe she didnt say that and i did ;) i always have hope, i know im a sap. if sheri could come and visit but spacely cant, does that mean we cant come lol. i am the oldest. that should mean something. be safe and have a hella good time.

Slarry said...

Hey Mr. Jones:
Hope you had a pleasant flight and all went well.
I very much enjoyed your blog today. Helpful, informative and I think reached and helped a lot of people.
Kind of puts everything in perspective.
It's HOT here, but not humid. Thank cheebus.
Drink plenty of fluids and have a restful, productive and peaceful time.