Search This Blog


Sunday, March 29, 2015

How Can You Tell

How can you tell you’ve been married, all these decades, to your soul mate?

1) Upon exiting Chemo Land, after a long day of doc visits and infusions, we simultaneously broke out in Tomorrow from the musical Annie. Now, neither of us are now or have ever been fans of Broadway musicals. Never. Ever. Not in this lifetime or the next. So then, 'the fuck? Got us hangin'. Possibly, at the core of our beings, we're actually bright, shiny, Pollyannas. Nah.

Just thinkin' about
Clears away the cobwebs,
And the sorrow
'Til there's none!

When I'm stuck a day
That's gray,
And lonely,
I just stick out my chin
And Grin,  And Say,

The sun'll come out
So ya gotta hang on
'Til tomorrow
Come what may
Tomorrow! Tomorrow!
I love ya Tomorrow!
You're always
A day
A way

Yep, you can bet your bottom dollar.
2) As we road down the elevator in the Bigelow building of MGH yesterday, almost 24 hours after being ambulanced in to the ER, we turned to each other and, in concert,  uttered one word. Cake.

We’d hit Saint Fratelli’s on Friday morning to pick up some YEA, Chemo’s Working! celebratory pastry. There was still half of that yellow and blue pastel butter cream rose festooned beauty left and, boyhowdy, we were having dessert before dinner last night.

And we did.

How do we pass the long hours, the endless hurry-up-and-wait of our hospital days? I take walks, exploring odd, old corners found within the mobius strip-like corridors. TAB demonstrates the different ways to hold the ball if you want to, fer instance, throw a knuckle ball. We read. We nap. I people watch, offering up my usual mix of acerbic and/or appreciative commentary. Gotta say, the MGH ER has some awesome folkscopin’. We play scrabble. We breathe deeply in our attempts to meditate and release stress. Sometimes that even works too.

And we dream of cake.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Vampire Bob

Nota bene: the pic at right? That ain't me babes and we aren't there (Nantasket), drinking in the glorious, endless ocean view. Nope. It's another Saturday on MGH's ER observation deck.

Last night, right after our evening repast, The Amazing Bob was feeling, first, big time indigestion and then heart pain. NO, it wasn't my infamously wretched cooking. We were having left over Chinese food. Honest!

This has happened, only more so, after two other chemo infusions. The first time was at the beginning of February's Blizzard-a-thon. The second time was during another, more weanie-ish, big ass snowstorm. So, we've done this before. We know the drill.

Though TAB's pain was beginning to chill the fuck out, I made the executive decision to get the rescue squad in for a visit. Better safe and alive than not. Ya know? I knocked on Jen and Oni's door, they made the call and, seemingly seconds later, our wee cottage was swarming with those magical, muscled, calm, gracious, talented EMT dudes.

We're now familiar with the ambulance teams. Wonderfully nice chaps. Last night's crew was the same one who toted Jen off to hospital when she had the VERY SAME chest pains after her chemo infusions. Jen and TAB--pretty sure they're genetically, not just spiritually, related.

In any case, by the time the lovely MGH ER docs and nurses got hold of my beloved, he was doin' grand and groovy--happily feelin' no pain. Still, they couldn't just send us home without checking things out. No, they could not. Did my handsome man have a heart attack or what? Tests had to be done so he had to bunk in for the night.

*sigh* This tune ALWAYS goes through my head when TAB and I are apart.

The verdict this morning? NO--my TAB did NOT have a heart attack. YEA!!! What the fuck happened then? Em, not sure--deaf here, not following all the docs are saying. What I do know is that he had chest pain, not an attack and they're giving him a blood transfusion now because his own didn't have enough oxygen in it. Huh? Like I said--deaf here, not sure of all the tech details. After TAB finishes sucking down a gallon of Tru Blood or so, we get to go home.


So then, why this image accompanying a hospital post? C'mon! Please! For as lovely as all the MGH folk are, we'd rather be there (duh) with the appropriately meditative schtick it's got goin' on. Wouldn't you?

Mother Nature in Action

Dame Nature's inna house and she's doing that thaw trick that she rocks so beautifully.

At left? That's our wee yard on February 10th seen from the porch above. At right is Grand Master Shovelling Man, Oni. Yes, the snow was up over six feet deep.

Below? That's how it looked last night, after a day of rain and near 60º temps.  

Deliquescence happens. Spring is on us big time and it's a beautiful, MOST welcome thing!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Flowers in Winter

Haven’t seen any crocuses (croci?) yet but I suppose it’s early days yet. These particular  beauties, at right, didn’t pop up until the second week of April last year PLUS there’s still a thick blanket of snow over our yard.

And what about the tulips in the Public Garden? What up there? Mind you, they aren’t normally in total, full bloom before mid April so there’s still time. Maybe I’ll head into town soon to, ya know, see how they’re doing and murmur encouragements into the air.

Eager for color? Oh yes indeedy! 

I came across another sort of chroma on the eighth floor of the Yawky Building at MGH—Tibeten style prayer flags. I suppose this, seeing them yesterday, brought the tulips and croci to mind.
Colorful, handmade flags brighten the halls of the Yawkey 8E hallway at the Mass General Cancer Center. In the tradition of Tibetan prayer flags, they carry messages of compassion, strength and wisdom from their makers — patients and their families. 
“The project provides patients and their families with an opportunity to share their hopes and feelings, including gratitude for their caregivers,” writes Director of Chaplaincy Michael McElhinny, MDiv. “Patients, visitors and staff are moved and uplifted by the flags, which transcend religious, cultural and spiritual boundaries.”
As I’ve already laid out, I’m not religious and I'm not a fan of formalized religions in general. But neither am I an atheist. That also relies on a belief in something which can’t be empirically proven. Having said this, I rule nothing out because, hey, I’m a good little agnostic!

The point of the story here is that a lot of folks say “I’ll keep you in my prayers” or “I’m praying for you.” That’s swell and I thank them. They’re thinking/wishing good fortune in my direction and that can’t hurt. I don’t share their beliefs but appreciate the positive energy sent my way.

nascent koi
What would light my sparkler even more is if someone created one of those prayer flags for me and my tribe.

from Wikipedia:
Traditionally, prayer flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. The flags do not carry prayers to gods, which is a common misconception; rather, the Tibetans believe the prayers and mantras will be blown by the wind to spread the good will and compassion into all pervading space. Therefore, prayer flags are thought to bring benefit to all.
OR channel that hopeful energy into art, music, your morning run or trike ride, your baking, knitting or whatever buoys your day. Funnel those good vibes into a form that’ll make yourself, folks around you and the focus of your “prayers” smile.

Just a thought.

Me? I’m painting the house but maybe that’s more about nervous energy. I think, were I to make one of these spirit flags, as they call them at MGH, it’d be Rothko-esque. My thoughts, feelings, energies are best expressed in color. I can get happily lost in a field of yellow.
Orange and Yellow, Rothko

Thursday, March 26, 2015


We saw The Amazing Bob's cancer dude, Doc Abramson, a little while ago and got the word on his PET scan results. Boyhowdy and lemmejusttellyou, progress is happening! The cancer is responding beautifully to the chemo drugs. It's shrinky dinky-ing. It's going bye-bye. Hitting the damn road! My man's turned the corner on this stupid, no good, fucking, asshole disease and the future's looking klieg light bright!


I'm doing the extended form happy dance which, by the by--just in case you've not witnessed this spectacle live and in person--can be a bit annoying. I'll attempt to tone it the fuck down. Yeah, good luck to me with that.

Also too, the doc assured me that TAB's two pound loss over the last three weeks is nothing to get my panties in a twist over AND his low energy is par for the course. Once this chemo-athon is over (first week of May) he'll begin feeling like his old, pre-lymphoma, gorgeous self again.

My beloved TAB is now infusing (AND eating lunch! Such a talent his is!)--my mind is resting a whole shitload easier.


Impossible Crankitude

Oni's G&T
Jen's sauvignon blanc
When Jen arrived home from work, here to Valhalla Central, Oni was cookin' up their evening repast The Amazing Bob was watching the news and yours truly was doing the dishes, cleaning up after our din-din. Sounds positively Rockwellian, don't it?

Except, except, we were all lost in the high Crankies. Warum? Eh, work crap, nasty-ass homeward bound traffic, the fact that today is Chemo Infusion Day Four, home repair headaches and, did I mention this yet? Chemo.

TAB, Jen and I leave in a half hour for another long day at our home away from home, MGH. We'll start with labs and a meeting with his oncologist. We'll likely get the results of Monday's Beach Boy Scan plus I'll quiz Doc Abramson as to why TAB's mega tired, much more so than before, AND what's up with the poor appetite. They gotta fix this!

'scuse me, I gotta go slop our herd of cat, pack a bag, wake TAB and get dressed.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Martian Dreams

Had a dream the other night where I was a soldier in the Peloponnesian Wars. Instead of Greece circa 431 BCE, they were being fought now, 2015, on Mars.

What was I doing? Paperwork. I was running around the barracks chasing after everyone’s DD1172s,  SGLV Form 8286s, DD2648s, etc., etc. Lovely. Spectacularly scintillating, no? Also too, camo is not a good color on me.

Two nights ago, I dreamed that I was interviewing Liam Neeson and Jack Kerouac.  After the chit chat, Willem DeKooning joined us and we went off to a party happening on a tug in New York harbor. We lacked invites so had to sneak on board and climb up a ventilation shaft to join the fun on the main deck. My perpetually simmering claustrophobia was screaming.

Last night I was a secret agent at a big outdoor summer fest. Newport maybe? Seems likely as we were all in appropriately floaty, long, floral print dresses. I had to surreptitiously return to the local spy base in order to give my report but before I could get away, a new “friend” insisted I share a drink with her. We were in an old, sorta beat up white Victorian kitchen. She poured me a tumbler (!!!) of Jamo. It gleamed in the sun streaming through the window. My last thought before waking was “oh my, very tempting but perhaps it's laced with truth serum or knock out drugs.” Cue the ominous foreshadow music da-da-DUN.

Who was I spying on? What was my report about? Got me hangin’.

These are just the latest entries in my Odd Dreams Catalogue.
Over the Town—Marc Chagall

The Opening of the 5th Seal—El Greco
I’ve had dreams where I was flying. Haven’t we all? In the one which stands out most, I was soaring over some Eastern European shtetl with my mother, father and sister Celeste. Everything and everyone appeared in a Chagall-esque style.

I’ve had other painterly dreams. In my 20s, all dream people looked like they’d been sketched by El Greco.

I used to have a lot of train dreams and NOT the train-entering-the tunnel variety. No, no, these were all Ya can’t get they-ahh from hee-yahh phantasms. I was eternally lost or in  the wrong place and perennially running late.

I could discern the meaning of those. It seemed pretty clear. These new ones though? Paper pusher in an ancient Greek by way of Mars war? Interviewer of hipster artists? Hippy spy?

What do any of these dreams mean/represent?  Damned if I know. They’re odd, odd, odd but entertaining. I’m fine with that.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

PET Scan Boy

Valhalla sky as we left for MGH
The Amazing Bob had a PET scan yesterday morning. I kept thinking “oh damn, we left Coco and Rocco at home. Should’ve brought them in too.”

And then I read the helpful poster which explained that
A positron emission tomography (PET) scan is an imaging test that uses a radioactive substance called a tracer to look for disease in the body.
 PET scans can be used to diagnose a health condition, as well as for finding out how an existing condition is developing. PET scans are often used to see how effective an ongoing treatment is.

This was TAB's halfway-through-chemo check up point. I imagine we’ll get the results on Thursday when we're in for the next infusion. Jen, our resident cancer vet, tells us that the test measures how the cancer has, to date, responded to the chemo drugs. She assured us that, if the meds aren’t doing their job, there’s no need to fret. The chemo chemists (AKA Magicians) will tweak the cocktail until things are zooming along successfully.

OK. I’ll keep my fear and panic down to barely perceptible fireworks...for now.

We were in the same department where Pedi Imaging are done. I thought Huh??? Are these:

1) Scans of the feet as in “having a mani-pedi done?”

Ahhhh, no.

2) Do pedophiles undergo computed tomography here to see what makes them so bizarrely, horrifically maladjusted?


I wonder if an MRI would show that a pedophile’s brain is wired differently? There was the small study done at Germany’s University of Kiel (handily summarized here) which says yes.

What could this mean? What would be the application? Will we all have exams done at 12 or 14 to see whether we’re incipient criminals a la Philip K. Dick’s Minority Report? (an awesomely scary, creepy story and movie, by the by. WELL worth reading and seeing!) And then, if you’re poor, you’re locked up? If you’re from money you get treatment?

As uzh, I digress.

Perhaps this Pedi scan is:

3) specifically for children—a pediatric scan? Ding, ding, ding! We have a winnah!

Yes, yez, I do indeedy get distracted by all manner of everything while having a stressful MGH day (and what time spent at MGH isn’t stressful?).
The Beach Boys—Wouldn't it be Nice