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Terreson Profile
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Re: This Is This and That Is That


Thanks Chris. It's okay. I was mostly thinking of you and your interest in his story. Figured you would want to know.

Tere
Jun/10/2012, 4:16 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Christine98 Profile
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It's true, I was attached to that kitty, even if I had to adjust the gender designation mid-way through the story. Anyway, it's a damn shame and I'm sad, I'll miss him. Of course I would want to know so thanks for telling me. Guess it's time for another critter to show up in your life. Didn't you say that's how it works?

Chris
Jun/10/2012, 5:26 pm Link to this post Send Email to Christine98   Send PM to Christine98
 
vkp Profile
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Poor gray cat. And you -- it is hard. I can barely imagine how a cat who survived Katrina would feel in a storm. I'm sure he had his share of them, living down where he was. I can't help wondering what the universe intended with this end for the gray cat.
Jun/10/2012, 7:08 pm Link to this post Send Email to vkp   Send PM to vkp Blog
 
Terreson Profile
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Chris, that seems to be true. Animal friends do have a way of showing up. At least, so long as you keep instinctual.

And yeah, vkp. To ride out the worst storm in American history and then be brought down by another. Gray cat's life had symmetry, n'est pas?

Tere
Jun/11/2012, 12:33 am Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Katlin Profile
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Oh, Tere, I'm so sorry for the gray cat and for you. I feel sad myself at his passing as I feel I had gotten to know him through you. Although I never met him in person, the gray cat, who wisely chose you as a companion when your dog Tory died, had become real to me. My heart goes out to you both. He will be remembered and missed.
Jun/11/2012, 7:30 am Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
Terreson Profile
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Thank you, Kat. I'm glad if I made him real for you. I had an odd moment yesterday afternoon. Stepping out I walked back to were he is buried. Potted rose plant was gone. First thought someone stole it. Then thought about the gray cat's "owner." A nice and well intentioned man, next door neighbor. When I was down following the surgery he was one of several people to make me dinner. J. happened to step out his door as I was walking away. I asked him if he took the rose bush. He said he had, wanted to take care of it until it could be planted. I got angry in a way that is not good for anyone close to me. I told him he had no right to do that. Told him the rose was business between me and the gray cat. Immediately walked away. Had to. When I got back home rose bush was back on the grave.

Guess I feel sorry I broke bad on J. But not completely. Sometimes he just tries too hard.

On a lighter note sometimes I am blinded by my own brilliance. Truly stroked by genius today. I've been scheduled to learn the art of inseminating queens at work for at least 5, maybe 7 years. But there has never been the right time or time enough. Spring and summer is when you instrumentally inseminate queens, since, few drones in fall for collecting semen and none in the winter. In spring and summer I am back breakingly busy tending to queens, managing colonies, out of the state working other bee keeper's colonies, running test after test after test. After the surgery there will be convalescence time, then light duty. But I can do this. I can sit at a microscope, collect semen, inseminate queens, even shorten the length of time taken off from work. I do love the beauty of my notion. It gives me something to look forward to, something else to work towards.

Damn smart trickster that Terreson.

Tere
Jun/11/2012, 6:53 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Katlin Profile
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After the surgery there will be convalescence time, then light duty. But I can do this. I can sit at a microscope, collect semen, inseminate queens, even shorten the length of time taken off from work. I do love the beauty of my notion. It gives me something to look forward to, something else to work towards.

Excellent plan, Tere. I'm glad you thought of it and that you will have something you have always wanted to learn how to do to look forward to. emoticon
Jun/12/2012, 9:42 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
Zakzzz5 Profile
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Read most of this & it is quality. Not sure how you are doing now. Between here and FB. Will have to check. There is the inevitability of a certain loss of independence here that you deal with, a detailing of the human being dealing with the inconvenience of it all in his own way. The shining through of the personality inspite of it all. The loss of independence, learning to deal with the problems, has a good side, a sharp side: your observational powers may indeed be magnified by the experience. All I know is that you have a great strength in this type of writing. If you had the proper agent, the proper connections, you would doubtlessly be celebrated. This type of writing -- that nurse may have been right -- that you will be discovered after you die. Which I hope is not for another 20 or 30 years, at least. Zak
Jun/21/2012, 6:27 am Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
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I agree with Zak. This and the Waffle House need to be read! By lots and lots of people!
Jun/23/2012, 9:11 am Link to this post Send Email to vkp   Send PM to vkp Blog
 
Terreson Profile
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Thanks to both of you for what you say. To be honest, surgery is 3 days from now. Not quite in the right space for thinking about narratives. But maybe you are right. Perhaps there is a story here worth telling. I'll have to see. Thanks again.

Tere
Jun/23/2012, 10:07 am Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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I can't speak for Zak, but I'm sure we all grasp that you won't be writing any books between now and Tuesday. First things first. Get back on your feet and then you can satisfy your fans.
Jun/23/2012, 10:37 am Link to this post Send Email to vkp   Send PM to vkp Blog
 
Zakzzz5 Profile
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Terreson,

I'm there with you in spirit, friend. Zak

quote:

Terreson wrote:

Thanks to both of you for what you say. To be honest, surgery is 3 days from now. Not quite in the right space for thinking about narratives. But maybe you are right. Perhaps there is a story here worth telling. I'll have to see. Thanks again.

Tere



Jun/23/2012, 11:02 am Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
Terreson Profile
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Thanks board buddies. Saw my urologist Thursday. An Old World Pole inclined to the worst case scenario. I'll need to incorporate his bed side manner into the narrative.

Tere
Jun/23/2012, 12:14 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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T,

When you get back and do that, I'll compare with some doctors in New York. They had a harder edge. Or no edge. Zak

quote:

Terreson wrote:

Thanks board buddies. Saw my urologist Thursday. An Old World Pole inclined to the worst case scenario. I'll need to incorporate his bed side manner into the narrative.

Tere



Jun/23/2012, 3:04 pm Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
Terreson Profile
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I think I can do this, bring my narrative of bladder cancer along a few more steps. Actually, narrative closing down to where the tale can almost be tied off I think. I was released from the hospital yesterday, Saturday, a full three days earlier than Dr. Z. had wanted. It would be overblown to say I had reached my breaking point. But the thought of another sleepless night in a small room with one window looking on to brick walls only and filtered sunlight was suddenly untenable. Dr. Z finally acquiesced, since, my bowels finally started to function after 10 days dormant. So I think I can make a next installment while my memory of events is, more or less, in tact. The pain is such that I can focus on the screen. The lortab keeps it managable.

The hospital stay was for 12 days. I checked in on a Monday, the 25th of June, and out on the 7th of July. SG came to town for the operation. The visit had already been planned. She had been meaning to attend an old friend's wedding in New Orleans long before we reconnected. Surgery schedule and wedding schedule coincided nicely. We had changed her flight arrangements so that she would arrive 5 days before the operation. Time was spent doing precisely what lovers are supposed to do everywhere, at all time, around the world. We played at being the world's first ever lovers. Once admitted, and but for the wedding weekend which I had to insist she attend, SG stayed with me every day and every night in the hospital. Sometimes she would go out on an errand or two. But she was never gone for more than 2 hours. When I woke she woke. When I slept she slept, which means she got very little sleep, regularly no more than 15 consecutive minutes at a time. When the pain was unbearable she was standing over me or going for a nurse or speaking on my behalf. She brought her computer and reading material with her. Sometimes I would fall in and out of consciousness. I would open my eyes to see her sitting there, legs crossed, reading or writing. Sometimes she would conduct personal business on her cell phone. No matter what she was doing I could open my eyes and see her there, close by, close enough so I could reach over and touch my hand to her body.

Here is the sum of what procedures were done to my body. Because of the pre-existing blood clot brought on, I think, by the chemo, a kind of filter was slipped up a vein to get set in the vena cava vein. Purpose being to block any clot that might travel up to my heart during surgery. That was on a Monday afternoon. Next day, Tuesday, I was on the table for four hours. In that time the bladder was cut out, prostate removed, a lumph node also removed and, I just learned yesterday, so was my appendix. At the same time a portion of a large intestine was cut out, sewn together to form a new bladder and put in place. Tuesday's procedure was finished no later than mid-afternoon. Stage set for the part I've played since the operation, mostly with tubes sticking out of my body.

Things first got interesting on Tuesday night. Dr. Z had decided on an epidural connection to my spinal chord for the pain medication. Brilliant idea and it almost worked flawlessly. But my blood pressure dropped radically. Count was something like 80 over 50. Immediately taken off the epidural. Through out all of the last 6 months or so I've joked around, saying I've always wondered what my pain threshold might be before becoming unbearable. SG says that Tuesday night I looked at her and said I finally found my threshold. She also says she could tell when the pain was intolerable. I went dead quiet. The anesthesiologist's position was that the pain would not kill me but the epidural could. By morning another anesthesiologist decided it was safe enough to put me back on the eipidural, if at a lower rate.

Tubes. Tubes in and out of my body. Two to keep the new bladder irrigated, free of mucus, one for drainage. Tube for epidural, for the IV, and one reaching from my nose into my stomach, its exact purpose unclear to me. I was on a liquid diet for the better part of the stay. Not sure for exactly how long. But the thought of the liquid diet left me without an appetite. Ate very little. The obstacle was that my bowls had gone to sleep, so to speak, which I'm told is common with abdominal surgery. Not sure but I think it needed 7 days before bowls started functioning again. when finally allowed to eat solid food I ordered many items from the menu, sampling everything on the tray. For one meal I had a roast beef sandwich. Tastiest sandwich I've ever had.

From the epidural I was put on morphine, self-administered through the IV. But I screwed up, kept giving myself less than I should until the pain got the better of my body. Then another form of pain relief taken orally. Finally the pain became bearable. Hallucinations set in, many of them auditory. SG recorded some of the more outrageous things I said. And I believe I had a conversation with somebody no one else could see. I do know the sound made by the IV machine took on a human voice that repeated the same phrase or word over and over again. I could tell I was going a little crazy. Hallucinations also brought on I think by the smallness of my room. The constraint was severe. But I'm remembering. Room changed colors and even its shape. At times I thought I had been moved to a new room. Room size was hard to bear. I walked the halls as often as I could but never for more than 15 minutes at a time. Then I had to lie down again.

When SG went to New Orleans she arranged for friends to sit with me during her abscence. Several did inspite of the fact that hospitals are such uncomfortable places. One close friend brought me flowers on his first visit. He quipped he didn't think he had ever given flowers to a guy before. Same friend also quipped about the difference between intention and application involving other friends who intended to visit but never made it happen. The friends who did visit were generous with their time in spite of their own busy schedules and the fact I constantly slipped in and out of wakefullness. Also during the weekend SG was away a sister and her oldest daughter stayed for almost three days. As for the nursing staff they were quite good. Very careful and attentive. This for the most part, even if I wasn't always nice to them. For example, I finally got tired of the constantly repeated request to quantify my pain on a scale of 1 to 10. Finally said something like the numbers are not telling you anything. My five could be another person's ten. So what could the quantification mean other than to speak to threshold again. One thing is for sure. SG's presence got me attention I would not have received otherwise from the nurses and staff.

One funny story involving Dr. Z., the crazy Polack who might suffer from that old God complex doctors can be subject to. Bandage over the pubic area had to be cleaned and renewed regularly. Incision with staples, about 6 inches long, constantly seeping. Nurses were always careful to take their time when removing the bandage. One quarter inch of gauze and tape removed at a time. So one day Dr. Z removes the bandage. He frees a corner and rips off the bandage in one swift motion. I gasp and call out. It's like he went philosophical on me, saying: quick or slow. I took him to mean there are two schools of thought on how to remove a bandage. Quick or slow.

One last item I think. Soon after the surgery I got the pathology report. My oncologist, Dr. A., visited one evening and gave me the news. She was very excited. Dr. Z would get around to conveying the information a day or so later. She said my body is cancer free. That the chemo had done its job. She said a small spot had shown up in my prostate gland but it was minor and not life threatening. Without a prostate anyway I considered the point moot. My body is now free of cancer cells. All that is left is to mend from the surgery and see to the follow up visits. While I am not yet able to lift weights and do push ups I am mending. Tomorrow one of the two remaining cathetars gets removed. In another week or two the last one will be taken out. After that my new bladder will be on its own and will have to relearn the art of pissing and holding water. As best as I can tell no nerves have been damaged. With the exercises I've been shown the chance is good I can reclaim full control over a particular body function.

Tere

Last edited by Terreson, Jul/8/2012, 2:00 pm
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Zakzzz5 Profile
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Terreson,

Glad to see you back in the saddle, as they say. Thanks for the detail of your hospital stay. It's all good information, in various ways. That Polish doctor you mentioned: we've all had one. Mine was an old brusque Greek doctor in Buffalo. It was during a bout of prostatitis many years ago. I don't think I have to go into the details.

Good to see you back. Zak
Jul/8/2012, 6:37 pm Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
Katlin Profile
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Hey Tere,

Super, super glad you are back at home and cancer free! I started clapping when I read about the onocologist's visit. That's the best news I've heard in weeks. Keep resting, healing and recovering. I'm going to keep praying for you until you are 100 percent again.

xxoo,
Kat
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Christine98 Profile
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Home and healing. That's terrific news, Tere, thank you for the field note,

Chris
Jul/8/2012, 8:30 pm Link to this post Send Email to Christine98   Send PM to Christine98
 
Terreson Profile
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SG has sent me a document tonight made from the notes she took on the day of and day after the surgery. She's clearly a writer, has the instinct. I could not have been aware of the particulars she catalogues. Seems my situation was a bit on the dire side. As was hers when you think on it. I'm chuckling now at her regard for Dr. Z. One note. The date was the 26th, not the 25th of June.

In SG's words:


~~At 6:45 or so on June 25, we said our farewells. He was being rolled off on a gurney. We kissed, he sat up partially to turn to see me as he went down the hallway. I said, “I’ll see you soon.” He said, “On the other side!”

The surgery was to start at 7:00. I was in the surgery waiting room. The woman at the desk kept announcing the starts of surgeries over the loudspeaker. T’s was never announced. At 8:30, an OR nurse came to find me and personally explain why I had not heard that announcement. I’d met her earlier and she said she knew I’d be worried. They’d been putting in an epidural for pain management after surgery. Finally, around 8:40, surgery began. I got called up to the desk hourly to hear reports of “all’s well, still in surgery.” Meanwhile I had to go to a nearby hospital unit to borrow a blanket, as did others in the room, which was air conditioned to about 50 degrees, while temps outside hit 100. Added to the sense of the surreal, for sure.

At 12:30, I was still expecting at least 2 more hours of surgery, as we’d been told categorically by Dr. Z that this was 6 hour surgery. I’d planned on giving blood that day, to pass the time, to “give back” and was reminded of my intentions when a man from the blood center came to ask folks to do so. I went down to find a crowd of hospital employees waiting to give blood. (They had the incentive of a pint of ice cream for every pint given. Mere mortals like me got nothing but a thank you and a fuzzy warm feeling.) It took awhile to be processed. Apparently, my cell phone did not work in the little room where they took me to answer questions for the second time, so it was not till I was hooked up and bleeding that I realized I had messages on my phone. One from the waiting room saying the doctor was looking for me and one from Dr. Z. Tere was out of surgery at 1:45 and it was now 2:05. That pint was collected in less than five minutes, I was unhooked. I said, “You will not get me to drink juice or eat a cookie. I just need to go.” They did not argue. But Dr. Z’s message was all good news: surgery a success, neo-bladder in place, which meant that the urethra had been found to be cancer free.

Having raced up to the surgical waiting room, I found that he’d be in recovery for a minimum of one hour. 2:45 came and went. I finally went up at 3:10 to find out what was up. “Oh,” I was told. “He’s heading to his room but won’t be there till 3:15. I was going to call you then.”

“I want to be there when he gets there!” (I was a bit miffed that she had decided to hold onto info meant for me.) I raced to the 5th floor and got to the room 60 seconds after T got there.

He was in horrible pain. The epidural had not fully kicked in. He was also mildly loopy, and shivering horribly. The cold of coming off anesthesia was making him tense and the tension of shivering was hurting. He looked at me and said, “Baby, I’ve hit my pain threshold.” Later I counted. He had 11 blankets on him – each one doubled up – from 3:15 to about 6:30.

The other thing that was haunting him was thirst. Also, he hates lying on his back and kept saying, “Do you mean I have to be on my back?” He was incredulous. To add to the fun, they were having a horrible time drawing blood. This continued for his entire hospital stay. Veins blew or rolled or just could not be made to give blood. Since the chemo, the veins have had a hard time of it.

At 10 p.m. it was discovered that his blood pressure was too low. The anesthesiologist on call was called and he ordered an immediate stop to the epidural. I was horrified. Just hours after major abdominal surgery and he was going cold turkey off any pain meds. No pain meds were considered safe for his BP.

Gradually, the pain returned till it was unbearable. Fortunately, they had already changed wet sheets and robe earlier when he was still numb from the epidural. The pain of a sore throat was the worst of it while the epidural was in full swing (he had an NG tube doing down from his nose to his stomach and was raw from the ventilator during surgery). As soon as he was off all pain relief, the sore throat vanished from his radar as the other pain was way over the top.

Nurses came in every few minutes all night to check on BP and pain. I tried to sleep for a few minutes in between each visit, and T was in such shock he was barely conscious. His pain was awful all night. Their main concern was the BP. The doctor on call said to me when I begged him to relieve the pain a bit: “He’ll survive the pain.” The implication: if we don’t get his BP up, he might not.

It was explained that the BP went down because of the pain meds, which dilate the vessels, combined with reduced blood volume. As his blood volume increased (fluids via IV) and the vessels constricted (off the epidural) the BP finally went up.

6 a.m. –8 hours off pain relief. Blood pressure staying steady. (I’m thinking the pain was partly responsible for the raised BP.) The anesthesiologist says he could have 20% of the epidural’s strength. By 8 a.m. the 20% is not touching it. Going on 10 hours of unendurable pain. A new anesthesiologist is now on duty and he says the BP is solid so he okays an increase from 20% to 60%. He knows how concerned I am about the pain, given that T’s tubes and foley bag are all leaking, as is his incision, and I know a full-on bed change and gown change and wound dressing are in order and that at his level of pain, these procedures will be agonizing. So the doctor also, in response to my concerns and no doubt pathetic expression of desperation on my face, orders a “bolus” of epidural meds to be administered all at once to begin the process. From the moment he decided to order that and actually getting it took, it seemed to me, a thousand hours. In actuality, it was far too long: it took well over an hour for the nurses to figure out how to get the dosage increased using the little machine.

Around 10 a.m. Dr. Z waltzes in and at this point the epidural is still not working properly. The nurses are still fussing with the epidural machine. I turn to the doctor and say, “His pain is through the roof.” The doctor says, “He is on the best pain management available. He can’t possibly be in pain.” Oops. The surgeon did not check the chart before coming to the room. It finally dawned on him that I was not making up stories, as he saw the nurses frantically dealing with the epidural. Though he’d made an ass of himself, he never admitted he was in the dark. He left very quickly. Never asked, “How are you?” and never asked, “Do you have any questions?” But he was quick to add that this would be “the week from hell.”

As he left, I said, “Well, good thing T is so strong.” I was pissed at him and tried to stare him down. He blustered: “This has nothing to do with strength, only patience.” I felt like saying, “You try getting your organs removed and then having no pain relief for ten hours.” Instead I said, “Perhaps a dose of each.” What I really wanted to do was punch his lights out. And I’m a pacifist.

Finally, later that morning, T begins to sleep, in and out. At this point, we are through the day of surgery and the day after. Ten to go.

A few things he said in the hours after the surgery:
“I’m sorry, ladies, for whining.” This to the nurses and me after he commented that it hurt like hell.

“I’m dreaming about Oscar Wilde – I mean the Oscars.”

“What are the students up to today?”~~

Kind of makes for hard reading. Not sure it is in me to be that honest about personal pain, being always inclined to diminish the hurt.

Tere


Jul/8/2012, 9:47 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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Something more I want to touch on here while it is fresh in my mind. I hate a cliche. I hate it because it amounts to a lie, makes truth, not always easy, easier. But it seems possible there is some truth to what spiritualists say or mean when they talk about the veil become momentarily thin between the two worlds.

I've mentioned the halluciantions, likely drug and hospital room induced. But there was more. SG tells me I had full blown conversations with people she couldn't see. She says she could tell a difference between my aimless, silly talk and rambling and these conversations that were intent and with purpose. I can almost remember them but not quite. But I clearly remember getting frequently, almost regularly nudged. Hands were touching me, pushing against my body in the friendly way. I'm certain of it because someone would tap me on the shoulder or push against a leg or prod an arm and I would open my eyes to see who was there. But for SG no one was there and she was either sitting or lying on her couch to my side. I told SG about it, commented on it when it happened. She asked if I knew who it was. Of course I didn't. But I am cetain of the tactile sensation. The body contact. The nudging.

Tere
Jul/8/2012, 10:02 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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Tere,

Having your firsthand account along with SG's makes for some very compelling writing and reading. I know you weren't sure about starting this thread back in February, but as a series of field notes, this is first rate and I hope in some way it has helped you over these past few months.

I remember when you finished chemo and said you were going to have the surgery at the end of May asking you if the surgery could be postponed until the summer when SG could be there with you. You said, no, you wanted to get the surgery over with as soon as possible, so you could get on with your life. I thought, "Well, he knows best." But honestly I was relieved when the Goddess intervened and rearranged the timetable, and so elegantly, too: right when SG had already scheduled a trip to your neck of the woods. The Goddess is still looking out for you, kiddo, and now SG is too.
   
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Terreson Profile
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Thanks, Kat, for the encouragement. Yes, I remain uncertain of the value of a field note like this. Months ago your were one of the first to suggest such a record could have value. That has made quite a difference. Whether or not the telling has helped me is a god question. If it has it has maybe been to the extent of giving me the kind of clarity needed to keep to a resolve, keeping determined to get beyond one man's personal disaster, keeping in pursuit of a certain found-again dream. Maybe so.

Tere
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Terreson,

There is no doubt in my mind that these notes are both good and worthwhile. Intrisically good. Even if only a few of us read them. Wasn't it T.S. Eliot who reintroduced John Donne to the world through some small scholarly paper. Or was it in a poetry journal? You read a lot, and so you must know there are probably many other cases like this. In the future some scholar will find your Field Notes, just in case this website doesn't survive. Surely they'll have more advanced tools for excavating and bringing these things to light, to dig deep into dead internet records. I'm thinking when we're long dead.
Which we are not. Zak

 
quote:

Terreson wrote:

Thanks, Kat, for the encouragement. Yes, I remain uncertain of the value of a field note like this. Months ago your were one of the first to suggest such a record could have value. That has made quite a difference. Whether or not the telling has helped me is a god question. If it has it has maybe been to the extent of giving me the kind of clarity needed to keep to a resolve, keeping determined to get beyond one man's personal disaster, keeping in pursuit of a certain found-again dream. Maybe so.

Tere



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I thought I was finished with my story. Not so. I've read back through to refresh my recollections. Not sure doing so was a good thing to do, but necessary. As always, here as in all things, Montaigne has been my guide. He invented the essay form with one purpose in mind. To understand himself. It has to be lost that his was a radical idea in the 16th C. Looking to map himself out he effectively created the sense of individuality long since taken for granted in the Western world. Individuality is little more than a concept, but one that enables human beings to stand apart, stand outside collective forces, and stand above instinctive, libido driven behavior. It is at the core of the humanistic. Clearly a brain child of the Renaissance.

Story's last post was made in July. Said again I thought my tale over. There is a part of the story I cannot tell as it directly involves two people, one of whom does not know the full story and cannot, since, it would cause her a considerable measure of pain. This much I can say. SG, the woman who entered my life during my year of cancer, the woman I had loved 30 years prior, came into my life to stay. We moved her and her possessions from some 1,400 miles away and we took up house. This was on the 18th of September. Two months later she announced she, in fact, could not stay. On the 28th of December I drove her and her cat in the early morning to the airport and she returned to her home environs. There is, however, something interesting I discovered while we partner danced.

I thought I had forgotten about the woman I had loved 3 decades ago. I thought this for all that time. Meeting her again brought me a discovery. It happened in a small way. I came across a poem I had made not long after our affair called 'Darkening Dido.' I had never understood the poem, neither where it came from or to whom it was addressed. Suddenly, finally, immediately I got it. It had been addressed to SG. One discovery led to another and another. Same woman. Same face. Same body type. Or maybe, sometimes, poem or prose addressed to her look alike sister. Borrowing from Jungian-speak, all those years SG had been my anima/muse whose face I had internalized without knowing what I was doing. Fascinating, another part of being human. Clear to me that, without knowing what I was doing, in fact I had not forgotten her or, to the point, what she stirred up in me. Back to my narrative.

After the surgery of the 26th of June I convalesced for about 3 weeks. I know I returned to work on the 23rd of July. I had had enough saved leave to cover my time out of work through out the year but I was running out. Fortunately the organization I work for has a program called Leave Donation in which co-workers can donate time to people on extended medical leave. Eventually I would have to participate in the program. Returning to work first it was half-time, then three quarters time. As of this writing I am still on light duty. Simply not possible to lift and carry heavy supers of honey. But I'm getting ahead of the narrative.

By September I realized something was wrong with my recovery. In a word, the biggest surgery had left me with a hernia. Incontenance and another effect I leave out of the tale. The urologist denied the fact. He said it did not show on the post-op CT scan. He didn't bother to finger probe my abdomen. Both oncologist and primary care physician made the diagnosis. They probed. The first said I would not want to submit to another surgery, get cut open again, the second said to wait. But I could not wait for long, since, my insurance has something called a catastrophic limit clause. Once a certain limit is reached financially, for that calander year all additional medical costs related to the issue at hand are covered in full. I would get the referral to the internal surgeon in November for the corrective surgery performed on the 4th of December, to the day 11 months after the tumor had been removed.

In the mean time I worked and looked to set up house in the domestic way again after 14 years of living alone. Work was hard. Still is actually. But I pushed myself. I insisted on performing work in the field, working with my colonies. Not entirely stupid, I enlisted the help of co-workers when heavy lifting was involved. Help was always forthcoming. One co-worker said I was a walking medical miracle. My reply was to say, maybe so, but the pain is general. To which he said I should have taken more of an extended leave. That would not happen. I've said this before but my trick has always been to get through the hard times working, doing. Years ago, when my only child was diagnosed with schizophrenia, for a full year I drank a fifth of whiskey a day while working both a full and a part time job. Both manual labor jobs. Clinically depressed, not once could I get drunk. I work my way through the hard times. I simply do. I've watched dogs hit by cars. Their immediate reaction is to get up and run as if trying to run out of, not away from, but out of the pain. That is what I know. Besides the pain, and even now at the end of March, I cannot walk a straight line. I see myself walking down the hall at work first thing in the morning, weaving. Same at the grocery store after work. Weaving. Finally, however, I can stand on one leg without leaning against a wall when dressing. The accomplishment makes for a morale boost.

I cannot remember if mentioning this before, which is appropriate to what I'll relate. Practically all of the physicians have failed me in one respect. They have not prepared me prior to every measure I've gone through. The urologist is especially guilty of this. I finally fired him and found a new one. But neither did the oncologist give me information I needed. For example, had I known what I now know I would not have let the profession take out bladder and prostate. I would have cheerfully taken my chances, especially since the chemo drugs killed all cancer cells in the bladder, with a small black spot left over in prostate, something many men live with well into their seventies. But I followed the conventional wisdom. Followed the advice of two close people especially. But what I'm coming to is the so-called brain effect of the chemo. I don't think I've mentioned this before but if I have, again, it is fitting. I've been subject to extreme forgetfullness. One day, while working in the field with my boss, I asked him the exact same question using the exact same words 3 times within an hour. Another day I drove away from the grocery store having left my check book, with all credit cards, on the roof of my car. An hour later, returning to the scene, I miraculously recovered all contents strewn along a highway, crumpled, driven over by many cars. Nobody prepared me for this. It seems I'll have another year or so of dealing with the effect. I notice, however, memory retention is returning in small steps. I test myself constantly. I recount recent events, no matter how small. When I can't remember something I dig at it like a miner in a cave a mile below the surface. When I do remember something without effort I celebrate what to me is not so small a victory. What this means, I think, is that right now my job is to return to being a full human being again, not just in the brain effect but in other measures as well. Frankly, that is my single biggest ambition. To be a human being again.

The 4th of December, 2012, exactly 11 months after the surgery removing the tumor. Tumor had been removed laproscopically. Bladder surgery cut me open like a pig, taking from the old movie line. Scar is a bit over six inches long. I did not want to get cut open again but bowels hung out through a large tear in my abdominal muscles. I could not see returning to full function that way. Could not see myself lifting 70 pound supers of honey that way. Fortunately the surgery was again performed laproscopically, only, a bit more extensively. Six holes made for scope, the folding over of muscle, insertion of mesh, staples used to secure mesh to the muscles. The resulting pain surprised me. As of this writing it still does. Bending over in a certain way, in one spot, I guess it involves a staple, the pain is like a red hot knife stab. By the 4th of December it was intuitively clear SG would not keep around. She was going through her own angsty pain but I could not help her. I had to see myself through the recovery. Without knowing it I started in on what I know to do in a domestic Waterloo disaster. I surgically cut my emotions from her. As the old Southern saying goes, it was all over but for the shoutin. Exactly 2 weeks following the hernia repair I was back to work. Keeping on the move again like that injured dog not wanting to end up like road kill.

Almost to the end of my chronicle. It is difficult to believe I am writing this near on to April. But there is something I came to this week, it is what, if anything can, justifies the narrative. I say my one ambition now is to return to what it fully means to be a human being. Sensient and feeling. An art historian said something remarkable about the painter, Titian. He said Titian had the supreme capacity for, what he called, detached involvement. The capacity for being fully involved, intensely involved in the moment he is depicting while, at the same time, observer-detached from his subject(s). The historian said that this capacity is what is most remarkable about artists, what sets them a little apart from everyone else. I think he was right. Neither scientists nor philosophers have the same capacity. Not even Nietzsche who, poet at base as he was, came the closest.

Not sure when it was. Posssibly some time in February. I realized I was walking around in a haze, dazed, stunned. I am intimate enough with the symptoms of clinical depression to make note even when affected. To me it is no big deal. Simply the occupational hazard all poets are subject to when circumstance becomes a bit too large. Also to me death is no big deal, not my own. Colette said it best when she said "Death has never interested me, not even my own." Naturally I assumed I had a case of the blues following SG's departure. Encounter was such that I actually believed in her. And again I can't remember when it was, maybe a few weeks ago. But one day, it was a Saturday, I noted a certain paralysis in my steps. I noted it but a couple of days were needed for the right, descriptive word to come to mind. A paralysis. I could not move with purpose. Could not step out of my apartment. Could not make a simple chore happen such as taking materials to the recycling station or go to the grocery store or take a drive just for fun. Literally I could not take a step forward in any direction. Physically simply couldn't make it happen. Somatically paralyzed while a small part of me was looking on. It was only then that I let myself register the degree to which I've been traumatized. For, what?, 11 months I stepped forward, head down, shoulders tense, feet planted, going from one procedure to the next, eye on the next objective. I think I've been in a state of shock since December of '11 when the word came down and diagnosis made. At work I've kept intellectually engaged. For the better part of 2 months I built an electronic library on the lab's shared network on the subject of nosema ceranae, a fungus, microsporidian, that infects honey bees, causing functional impairment. Using biological information clearing houses I've built the library of peer reviewed, scientific papers, to date over 100 such papers, while learning the natural history of this queer little, unicellular animal. But this post is the first concentrated, purposive activity I've committed to outside of work. Shock and awe.

This last week, 3 days ago, a Wednesday, I spent my first full day in a bee yard since last spring. Out of town, in Acadiana, cajun country, in a crew of 3 bee keeepers, introducing queen cells into splits (newly made colonies). I kept up with the others. I got into as many colonies as anyone else. By 1 PM I was hurting. By 3 PM I was stumbling. A crew needed to return to the yards the next day and find the newly emerged queens to paint them. Boss said I didn't have to go. It was clear to everyone I had over-extended myself. But I insisted. We have a term for anyone in a crew whose job is to take notes only. A data weenie. I was that day's data weenie. Standing and walking was all I could manage. But I did it. Put in a second 9 hour day. I will not be defined by the word, cancer. Just a word. I will not be defined by the blues, just a circumstance. Said again, what matters is to keep a whole human being. I might have said what matters is to keep a man, only, I learned the trick in my formative years from the 3 strongest women I've ever known and who raised me.

Tere

Last edited by Terreson, Mar/30/2013, 4:47 pm
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Re: This Is This and That Is That


Terreson,

Just read this. A tour de force. Very human. A saga. A journey. May God or the universe give you strength, friend. Zak

quote:

Terreson wrote:

I thought I was finished with my story. Not so. I've read back through to refresh my recollections. Not sure doing so was a good thing to do, but necessary. As always, here as in all things, Montaigne has been my guide. He invented the essay form with one purpose in mind. To understand himself. It has to be lost that his was a radical idea in the 16th C. Looking to map himself out he effectively created the sense of individuality long since taken for granted in the Western world. Individuality is little more than a concept, but one that enables human beings to stand apart, stand outside collective forces, and stand above instinctive, libido driven behavior. It is at the core of the humanistic. Clearly a brain child of the Renaissance.

Story's last post was made in July. Said again I thought my tale over. There is a part of the story I cannot tell as it directly involves two people, one of whom does not know the full story and cannot, since, it would cause her a considerable measure of pain. This much I can say. SG, the woman who entered my life during my year of cancer, the woman I had loved 30 years prior, came into my life to stay. We moved her and her possessions from some 1,400 miles away and we took up house. This was on the 18th of September. Two months later she announced she, in fact, could not stay. On the 28th of December I drove her and her cat in the early morning to the airport and she returned to her home environs. There is, however, something interesting I discovered while we partner danced.

I thought I had forgotten about the woman I had loved 3 decades ago. I thought this for all that time. Meeting her again brought me a discovery. It happened in a small way. I came across a poem I had made not long after our affair called 'Darkening Dido.' I had never understood the poem, neither where it came from or to whom it was addressed. Suddenly, finally, immediately I got it. It had been addressed to SG. One discovery led to another and another. Same woman. Same face. Same body type. Or maybe, sometimes, poem or prose addressed to her look alike sister. Borrowing from Jungian-speak, all those years SG had been my anima/muse whose face I had internalized without knowing what I was doing. Fascinating, another part of being human. Clear to me that, without knowing what I was doing, in fact I had not forgotten her or, to the point, what she stirred up in me. Back to my narrative.

After the surgery of the 26th of June I convalesced for about 3 weeks. I know I returned to work on the 23rd of July. I had had enough saved leave to cover my time out of work through out the year but I was running out. Fortunately the organization I work for has a program called Leave Donation in which co-workers can donate time to people on extended medical leave. Eventually I would have to participate in the program. Returning to work first it was half-time, then three quarters time. As of this writing I am still on light duty. Simply not possible to lift and carry heavy supers of honey. But I'm getting ahead of the narrative.

By September I realized something was wrong with my recovery. In a word, the biggest surgery had left me with a hernia. Incontenance and another effect I leave out of the tale. The urologist denied the fact. He said it did not show on the post-op CT scan. He didn't bother to finger probe my abdomen. Both oncologist and primary care physician made the diagnosis. They probed. The first said I would not want to submit to another surgery, get cut open again, the second said to wait. But I could not wait for long, since, my insurance has something called a catastrophic limit clause. Once a certain limit is reached financially, for that calander year all additional medical costs related to the issue at hand are covered in full. I would get the referral to the internal surgeon in November for the corrective surgery performed on the 4th of December, to the day 11 months after the tumor had been removed.

In the mean time I worked and looked to set up house in the domestic way again after 14 years of living alone. Work was hard. Still is actually. But I pushed myself. I insisted on performing work in the field, working with my colonies. Not entirely stupid, I enlisted the help of co-workers when heavy lifting was involved. Help was always forthcoming. One co-worker said I was a walking medical miracle. My reply was to say, maybe so, but the pain is general. To which he said I should have taken more of an extended leave. That would not happen. I've said this before but my trick has always been to get through the hard times working, doing. Years ago, when my only child was diagnosed with schizophrenia, for a full year I drank a fifth of whiskey a day while working both a full and a part time job. Both manual labor jobs. Clinically depressed, not once could I get drunk. I work my way through the hard times. I simply do. I've watched dogs hit by cars. Their immediate reaction is to get up and run as if trying to run out of, not away from, but out of the pain. That is what I know. Besides the pain, and even now at the end of March, I cannot walk a straight line. I see myself walking down the hall at work first thing in the morning, weaving. Same at the grocery store after work. Weaving. Finally, however, I can stand on one leg without leaning against a wall when dressing. The accomplishment makes for a morale boost.

I cannot remember if mentioning this before, which is appropriate to what I'll relate. Practically all of the physicians have failed me in one respect. They have not prepared me prior to every measure I've gone through. The urologist is especially guilty of this. I finally fired him and found a new one. But neither did the oncologist give me information I needed. For example, had I known what I now know I would not have let the profession take out bladder and prostate. I would have cheerfully taken my chances, especially since the chemo drugs killed all cancer cells in the bladder, with a small black spot left over in prostate, something many men live with well into their seventies. But I followed the conventional wisdom. Followed the advice of two close people especially. But what I'm coming to is the so-called brain effect of the chemo. I don't think I've mentioned this before but if I have, again, it is fitting. I've been subject to extreme forgetfullness. One day, while working in the field with my boss, I asked him the exact same question using the exact same words 3 times within an hour. Another day I drove away from the grocery store having left my check book, with all credit cards, on the roof of my car. An hour later, returning to the scene, I miraculously recovered all contents strewn along a highway, crumpled, driven over by many cars. Nobody prepared me for this. It seems I'll have another year or so of dealing with the effect. I notice, however, memory retention is returning in small steps. I test myself constantly. I recount recent events, no matter how small. When I can't remember something I dig at it like a miner in a cave a mile below the surface. When I do remember something without effort I celebrate what to me is not so small a victory. What this means, I think, is that right now my job is to return to being a full human being again, not just in the brain effect but in other measures as well. Frankly, that is my single biggest ambition. To be a human being again.

The 4th of December, 2012, exactly 11 months after the surgery removing the tumor. Tumor had been removed laproscopically. Bladder surgery cut me open like a pig, taking from the old movie line. Scar is a bit over six inches long. I did not want to get cut open again but bowels hung out through a large tear in my abdominal muscles. I could not see returning to full function that way. Could not see myself lifting 70 pound supers of honey that way. Fortunately the surgery was again performed laproscopically, only, a bit more extensively. Six holes made for scope, the folding over of muscle, insertion of mesh, staples used to secure mesh to the muscles. The resulting pain surprised me. As of this writing it still does. Bending over in a certain way, in one spot, I guess it involves a staple, the pain is like a red hot knife stab. By the 4th of December it was intuitively clear SG would not keep around. She was going through her own angsty pain but I could not help her. I had to see myself through the recovery. Without knowing it I started in on what I know to do in a domestic Waterloo disaster. I surgically cut my emotions from her. As the old Southern saying goes, it was all over but for the shoutin. Exactly 2 weeks following the hernia repair I was back to work. Keeping on the move again like that injured dog not wanting to end up like road kill.

Almost to the end of my chronicle. It is difficult to believe I am writing this near on to April. But there is something I came to this week, it is what, if anything can, justifies the narrative. I say my one ambition now is to return to what it fully means to be a human being. Sensient and feeling. An art historian said something remarkable about the painter, Titian. He said Titian had the supreme capacity for, what he called, detached involvement. The capacity for being fully involved, intensely involved in the moment he is depicting while, at the same time, observer-detached from his subject(s). The historian said that this capacity is what is most remarkable about artists, what sets them a little apart from everyone else. I think he was right. Neither scientists nor philosophers have the same capacity. Not even Nietzsche who, poet at base as he was, came the closest.

Not sure when it was. Posssibly some time in February. I realized I was walking around in a haze, dazed, stunned. I am intimate enough with the symptoms of clinical depression to make note even when affected. To me it is no big deal. Simply the occupational hazard all poets are subject to when circumstance becomes a bit too large. Also to me death is no big deal, not my own. Colette said it best when she said "Death has never interested me, not even my own." Naturally I assumed I had a case of the blues following SG's departure. Encounter was such that I actually believed in her. And again I can't remember when it was, maybe a few weeks ago. But one day, it was a Saturday, I noted a certain paralysis in my steps. I noted it but a couple of days were needed for the right, descriptive word to come to mind. A paralysis. I could not move with purpose. Could not step out of my apartment. Could not make a simple chore happen such as taking materials to the recycling station or go to the grocery store or take a drive just for fun. Literally I could not take a step forward in any direction. Physically simply couldn't make it happen. Somatically paralyzed while a small part of me was looking on. It was only then that I let myself register the degree to which I've been traumatized. For, what?, 11 months I stepped forward, head down, shoulders tense, feet planted, going from one procedure to the next, eye on the next objective. I think I've been in a state of shock since December of '11 when the word came down and diagnosis made. At work I've kept intellectually engaged. For the better part of 2 months I built an electronic library on the lab's shared network on the subject of nosema ceranae, a fungus, microsporidian, that infects honey bees, causing functional impairment. Using biological information clearing houses I've built the library of peer reviewed, scientific papers, to date over 100 such papers, while learning the natural history of this queer little, unicellular animal. But this post is the first concentrated, purposive activity I've committed to outside of work. Shock and awe.

This last week, 3 days ago, a Wednesday, I spent my first full day in a bee yard since last spring. Out of town, in Acadiana, cajun country, in a crew of 3 bee keeepers, introducing queen cells into splits (newly made colonies). I kept up with the others. I got into as many colonies as anyone else. By 1 PM I was hurting. By 3 PM I was stumbling. A crew needed to return to the yards the next day and find the newly emerged queens to paint them. Boss said I didn't have to go. It was clear to everyone I had over-extended myself. But I insisted. We have a term for anyone in a crew whose job is to take notes only. A data weenie. I was that day's data weenie. Standing and walking was all I could manage. But I did it. Put in a second 9 hour day. I will not be defined by the word, cancer. Just a word. I will not be defined by the blues, just a circumstance. Said again, what matters is to keep a whole human being. I might have said what matters is to keep a man, only, I learned the trick in my formative years from the 3 strongest women I've ever known and who raised me.

Tere



Mar/30/2013, 5:13 pm Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
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Thank you, Zak, for reading. I'm not sure, anymore, what makes for good literature. Once I thought I knew, with certainty, what makes for a good story. Of one thing I'm sure. Poet's lie for the same reason women, journalists, story tellers lie. It is for the self-pleasing, symmetrical story.

Tere
Mar/30/2013, 9:27 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 


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