The Cuckoo's Nest: Ain't Dead Yet
I got a phone call several days ago from one the angels on Eschaton. Folks noticed that I hadn't dropped by there to chat and hadn't posted anything here in weeks. She called to see how I was doing. Needless to say, I was deeply touched. Human kindness always warms my heart, especially when it is headed in my direction.
I assured her that I was doing fine, at least when all things are considered, and I am. No, neither the diagnoses nor the prognosis have changed. I'm still dying, although a little more slowly than any of us expected and (to be frank) than I had hoped. But that's OK too. I am not exactly suffering.
What pain I do have is eased by some mild opiates. My lungs are scrubbed often enough to keep me breathing. I'm pretty much dependent on oxygen all the time, save for the times I go out and have a few puffs on a cigarette. Thanks to another drug (Prednisone), my appetite has returned and I've not only stopped losing weight, I've actually gained a little, putting me back over the 100 pound level. I get all the food I want, and a sweet friend keeps me supplied in chocolate. I get spoiled by the staff on a regular basis, and that has become more necessary as my energy levels have dropped and become shorter-lived.
I do, however, still have enough energy to walk, using my wheelchair as a walker. I still am able to feed the birds and the squirrels, although my funds are getting a little short in the bird and squirrel food account and I've had to resort to spreading dried bread and crackers on a few occasions. My critter friends have been very understanding, as have the meal servers who sneak me the bread and crackers.
Although my energy is low, my brain is still working, and that's very important to me. I've taken to memorizing things, like song lyrics and poetry and biblical passages which seem to have a deeper message for me now. I shouldn't have worried about the Alzheimer's curse. It hasn't really taken root yet.
I do have difficulty getting the connection from my headbone to my hands to work reliably, which is why I haven't been on line much either at Eschaton or here. I seem to be doing better the last couple of days, and I do hope it continues, especially with election season at hand. Lots of great cartoonists are already sharpening their pencils and lots of pundits are already making predictions.
So, I really am doing fine, sustained by friends and caretakers and the sense that I am exactly where I am supposed to be (literally and figuratively) doing what I am supposed to do. For that I am grateful. Each day is a blessing for me, and I appreciate all the beauty that life holds for all of us if we will just pay attention. Since I have plenty of time right now, I'm doing just that.
And when it's time, I'll exit and be grateful for that as well. I'm not afraid and haven't been since I got the news that my life was going to be a little shorter than I anticipated. None of us have been guaranteed immortality. In fact, getting that news was a well-timed kick in the butt. It enabled me to wrap us some things I'd been ignoring, like appointing someone to make decisions for me if I became too ill or too screwy to be rational, like making it clear that I did not want any heroic measures to keep me alive, like sending my body to the nearest school or lab for taking tissue samples and useable organs via an organization which would then cremate me at no cost (I selected ScienceCare.com, but there are others), and like saying "thank you" and "I love you" when it was appropriate.
I'm not going to give you any New Age-y or evangelical baloney of what comes next, because, frankly I really don't know. I'll find out soon enough, and that's good enough for me. The only advice I would give you I saw on a tee shirt a fellow resident wears on occasion: "Live each day as if it were your last ... one day you'll get it right."
And that's just what I'm doing.
For those who would like to assist in any fashion, the only thing I need right now is a little cash for the critter food fund, but even that's not crucial. If you're in the mood, just hit the donation button above.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to watch the doves and house sparrows come down for breakfast. It's a great way to start the day.