Dear Fellow Diarists, Priests (Failed and Otherwise), Hypnotizers and Hypnotizees:
I had a number of feelings I wanted to discuss tonight, most of them bad. That’s usually the way it is before I start writing something, I go into an emotional trough, and then I start typing obsessively and beyond the necessities of the communication moment during an email draft afterward. My friends, loved ones, remote acquaintances, and medically necessary and politically unnecessary relationships inspire me and are the initial beneficiaries of the process, whether they want it or not.
Right now, though, I’m not even waiting for an electro-human simulacrum to serve as an inscriptural jousting dummy. I woodenly plowed through all my usual internet anaesthetics: political websites, archaeology (including Mike Tyson knockout compilations on YouTube), a little soft porn. Tonight was so bad I started watching killer croc and hippo battle videos. Normal putatively but not actually healthy American fare, in other words.
It was a pretty shitty day. I couldn’t sleep, so I got up early enough to meditate and do some chi kung before I left for the hospital to get radiation treatment for my lymphoma. Then I kept wondering where my ride was, and called the abjectly undependable Vermont Current, our public ride agency for the disabled. They told me the driver had come to my door and knocked, and I got logged as a no show when I didn’t come to the door. I cried out in frustration that I’m hearing impaired I need them to call. Well I should have called the night before if I wanted to know who my ride was, and at this news I disgustedly threw down my phone in a rude hangup.
I normally don’t get that uptight about the Current’s inconstancy, but radiation therapy sucks even worse than dialysis, and dialysis is supposed to suck: a half a liter of blood per minute goes through the plastic cannulae and the dialyzer. In the radiation chamber, a faded plastic back-lit forest garden transparency covers the fluorescent lights in the ceiling overhead. This undoubtedly is supposed to engender the same feelings of calm that beautiful impressionist reproductions provide during root canals, but this time it didn’t really work out that way. The transparency is so faded, and the garden scene is so contrived it seems more like a half-assed effort by a secret government agency that’s poised to turn your corpse into Soylent Green. Half-way between the ceiling installation and your face hangs a two-foot diameter brushed steel facing plate surrounding the radiologic aperture whence the beams, assuredly only deadly to incarinogenated tissue, are emitted. The machine has three enormous arms that swivel menacingly around an eight foot diameter treatment theater, humming in a frequency that autonomically incites a strange fear of oncoming martial activity in my hearing: the sound of guns mounting. Then comes the feeling which I can’t quite feel, that a private and vital corner of my soul has been abrogated that should never be touched by the agency of another human, much less a heavy equipment manufacturer.
This was my third radiation treatment, so I knew some of what was coming. This one left me feeling much more wasted than the other two somehow. Even before the wasting feeling came, the damage seemed to have reached a new level. I normally don’t just start spuriously spewing the factual bases for the impossibility of the lunar landings to unfamiliar medical personnel, but I trapped someone named Erica in the operator’s cubicle, behind a bank of terminals and keyboards, a bad sign. I soon realized I was pretty badly out of balance and had attempted to offload some of my spiritual abrogation onto someone more or less an unsuspecting bystander when I passed Erica a half hour later in the cafeteria. She reciprocated my greetings with that wooden posture that lets you know future pleasantries with your new acquaintance are in doubt.
The wooden feelings began to petrify while I waited for lunch service to begin. By the time I was looking at the catering pans of fish and roasted fennel, I had started to feel like a disembodied spirit watching Elric Stealer of Souls slay the mist giant in a far marsh of Dragon Isle. I really knew I was in for a hard day by the time I got to the mung bean sprouts at the salad bar, which were completely slimy with decay. This slime I was not imagining, so I didn’t think I was merely having a momentary fantasy enchamberment.
Well, it was that bad all the way home and then trying to recover all night. I had some kind of restless leg situation in the car. I stopped at the parking lot for a state preserve hiking trail so I could take my shoes off and drive home in my socks, which helped a little.
It took me until about midnight until I started feeling a little bit myself again, until about 2am before I had a functional moment. And now I’ve got to sleep to get up again for dialysis tomorrow, or today, however you would calculate that. So I haven’t got time to give you color commentary on the topical homeopathic creme I used, or meditations on the possibility of a trip to Price Chopper for mushroom raviolis in fifteen degree weather.
But I can tell you I am here and planning to get here more tomorrow. Each day as I recover from one treatment or another, I am battling that baseline feeling of being half-here and half-not-here that comes with my personal brand of ADD. I meditate, exercise, realize, take two steps forward and three backward, or occasionally vice versa on a really good day, and live to once again electronically accost my relationships with the high-end documentary product….. well, with product, anyway. Kind of like any one of several sausage-shaped quality items offered by the Colonial Meat Corporation.
What I get, I give.
Hasta la vista, baby.