Quote of the week:

“They'd have to shoot me to get me back to Illnois."

~Abraham Lincoln upon going to WDC to become president

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Back among the Living

I am finally back among the living. This last bronch infection really beat the shit out of me. Each one seems a bit worse than the last. Coughing up bloody chunks of lung just ain't fun.

And even when I'm sick in bed, life goes on--the good with the bad.

The good: Last week, I became a great uncle for the second time, against my protestations that I'm still too young to be a great uncle. My niece had another beautiful baby girl. Both are healthy.

The bad: When I was at my parents' after Christmas, as always, I went to see my Aunt Alice, Mom's oldest sister, who partially raised my Mom, so she's always been more like a Grandma. Her Alzheimer's is progressing rapidly. It's hard seeing her decline. She knew me, which has been a fear of mine for the past year or so, since I don't get down to see her more than 2 or 3 times a year. She's been in a Seniors assisted living facility. Other residents said of Aunt Alice, "we can tell she WAS a really caring compasionate person." Hearing her referred to in the past tense when she's not dead is strange.

Monday she had to go to a nursing home, after a short hosptial stay last week. This fucking disease is a theif. It has stolen her life. Antithetical to the last sentence of the previous paragraph, She is no longer alive. There's no quality of life. She's a body that is rapidly losing its soul. IF there was a god, 'he' would take her to her glory, as the bible thumpers are wont to say. She worked hard all of her life. This is not how it should end. It should have ended before reaching this point.

My love of cooking, and skills thereof are a legacy of my Mom and Aunt Alice. She could cook for 3 to 300. She ran a restaurant when I was little, and later was the cook at the my grade and high school cafeterias before she finally retired, to care for my uncle, who had Alzheimer's before he finally died, not knowing any of us. Fucking cruel universe.

Monday, January 5, 2009

For those keeping score at home

...Get out your calendars, and magic markers. Start the office pools. I had nearly two full days of health in the new year before getting sick. My first bronch infection of the year arrived on January 3rd. I'm now coughing up chunks of lung. I figure tomorrow and Wednesday are going to be the 'peak' days, when it's at its worst. At this point in history, the anticipation is almost as bad as the actual peak of sickness...almost. My next infusion isn't until next week, so I should be at a decent IgG level--especially since this hit last week. I better be in good health when I go to San Francisco at the end of the month or I'm going to be extremely pissed.

I was not able to get in to my PCP today, so I'll see him tomorrow, proably get a shot in the ass, and put on oral antibiotics.
I'm enough of a regular now, that I have the little playful banter with much of the staff. If "T", the hot little tech comes in with the bottle and syringe, I ask, "Do I need to drop trou?"
He says, "yes."
I reply with, "OK, but you first."
The ice is broken. If only dating were that easy.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


After Christmas, I was able to visit my friends Jeff and Lynette, the same who were part of the group of friends I was with when I did the Polar Bear Plunge as written about here
Jeff was the first person I came out to (after my shrink at the student counselling center). At the time it was difficult for Jeff (though he didn’t show it). In addition to being my friend, Jeff was also my minister at the Church/Foundation I was involved with at the time. My coming out was a slap in the face of the theology he adhered to—that he and I both grew up with. Knowing me as well as he did was incongruent to what I was supposed to be in/with the church. He had to rethink and recalibrate his theology and what the church was saying. The night I came out to Jeff, he told me it didn’t matter, that it didn’t change how he felt about me, which wasn’t totally true, but those were the words that I had to hear at that moment in time, and that much he realized, and realized how a negative reaction would have devastated me. He came around. His theology changed (as did mine), and while he helped me through coming out, I was his friend and confident while his marriage was falling apart, and a new relationship was materializing. We were each in our own closets and self and societal imposed hells, in tandem. Before he was willing to admit to himself (or others) during a Christmas break work trip working on a Habitat for Humanity Project, I took him outside one day and said, “Jeff, I expect to be your best man when you and Lynette get married.” That blew him out of the water. –for the record, I was his best man at their wedding(s) the legal one at the court house and the ceremonial one a few months after for family and friends. But that’s another story. Jeff ended up leaving the church. So, in addition to being a godless homo heathen, I can claim some role in taking a hetero minister out of the pulpit. They became Unitarians. I became an eventual atheist, with Buddhist leanings. But I digress, yet again.
Jeff and Lynette have a beautiful teenage daughter (M), (along with Jeff’s son (F) from his first marriage) whom I have watched grow into the incredible young adults they are. They are the closest I will ever get to children of my own. I’m closer to them than I was my nephews and niece growing up (due to geography and strained familial relations for some years.) I have always had a special connection to F & M. M came out to her family about a year ago. She’s currently dating a girl from school. She really wanted me to know about it, and wanted to tell me about it. But I needed to initiate the conversation. I had to get cues from Jeff, as I wasn’t sure how much I was ‘supposed to know’. I didn’t want to say or ask too much, to embarrass her or anger her at her parents for telling me family stories outside. At one point, Jeff & I walked to the kitchen. He said, “M is dying to tell you about her girlfriend.” That was all I needed to be able to go back to the family room and make/find an opportunity to ask M about her gf. I was honored that she wanted me to know.
Jeff and Lynette live out in a beautiful wooded area. It’s like a retreat for me to visit them. Birds, deer, wild turkeys, and other kinds of woodland wildlife are right outside the windows. On Sunday afternoon, Lynette, Jeff and I took a walk down the road(s). It was a bit too wet, icy and treacherous to tromp through the woods. As we tend to do when together, we conjure up ‘Another Olde Lang Syne” and reminisce with wonder about where the years have gone, how gray Lynette and I both are (Jeff barely has a dusting of S&P at his temples and he’s the oldest!) While on this walk, Lynette thanked me for asking M about the gf, and the manner in which I did so. Then, Jeff thanked me for being who I am, and for teaching him so much as it made all the difference in how he responded to M when she came out to them. I was so blown away and so deeply touched. We have been strong, deep friends for almost 25 years. To have this added dimension—to have been able to have this kind of unexpected impact on all of them is the cherry on the sundae, the icing on the cake--choose a metaphor. It’s really an honor. For many people in my large circle of family and friends, I have been their ‘first gay’. Over the holidays and ‘season of reminiscing, others have told me how much knowing me has impacted them and taught them. It’s sort of like my own version of being Jimmy Stewart in “It’s A Wonderful Life”. They are great reminders to receive, and important for the times when I contemplate my worth and value to the universe. I know that there is a legacy that is mine, that will remain after I’m gone.