Night thoughts on a diagnosis


Foulant la boue sombre, vont les képis blancs, and I make no excuses for using a military model. This is a serious matter and I need to get squared off even to surrender and let go.

The GP I have been seeing said “I do not have good news”. I’d noticed two lumps on my shoulder which are, according to Dr, lymph nodes, so I had a test on Wednesday. At this point this appears to be a metastasizing form of lung cancer, she said. 

However, I now must see an oncologist at Queen Mary, using our public option and my HKID, because her diagnosis is ONLY preliminary. Although I have been a heavy smoker I have recovered by using Nicotine Gum (nicotine is not a carcinogen, just addictive). The Xray did NOT show a lung tumor. The doctor, who’s very good (she’s worked on Mick Jagger) is a GP who doesn’t consider herself qualified to fully diagnose this problem.
The tumor MAY be located in my spine which since March has been acting as if I have a herniated disk with considerable pain. The cells in the swelling are the product of a carcinoma but we need to find their source. Circumstantially this is the lung since that’s the closest organ but we don’t know. Going to Queen Mum is the key here, as is renewing my right to stay in Hong Kong, which expires on 5 June.
I probably will be inpatient and in a multi person ward which will be mostly Chinese guys. That’s cool, I can learn more Cantonese. 
I could go back to the states but would then lose my father’s legacy at the billing rates obtaining there. Far more important, and apart from the fact that one wants to see one’s children, I have a “family” here of close friends which I never had as I traveled around the US taking different jobs so that my children could grow up in a community I’d wanted to live in.
I’d prepaid for three months in Sicily in an arts studio and I bought airline tickets. I have traveler’s medical insurance. Depending on what they say I may still go.
But right now I am trying to stay positive and force myself to eat a bit more. I’d self-disciplined down to ideal weight but shed too much while acting in Glengarry and recently through depression induced by sciatic pain. I have sworn off soda and replaced coffee with tea. I also plan to eat far more fresh vegetables especially leeks in memory of Fluellen.
My spiritual response. Well, first of all, I cannot drink over this. I mean, it’s absurd. I was walking to the Cultural Center in Kowloon through the trees and spring blossoms, and listening to the St Matthew Passion. I thought, well, I could just go to Wanchai and booze it up with losers from all parts of the world, and pay some long-legged beauty to bone me.
For Man is free.
But I thought, that’s fucking nuts. I was looking at the blossoms, really seeing them, seeing God all about me. God or nature, deus sive natura where Sprinoza used the Latin word “sive” instead of the more usual vel (inclusive or) or aut (exclusive or), and “sive” means, the one or the other, ask me if I care, Baby. Is the St Matthew Passion religion or art? Ask me at this point if I care, sugar.
GE Moore said in response to “idealism”, the world exists independent of my will, I mean, get a clue, the distinction between my mental contents and reality (the reality, interestingly enough, that shall persist after I die) is not only obvious it is the ground of our ability to reason and more importantly, communicate knowledge and love: to be able to love another is to believe that she exists separately from you and isn’t something you ate.
Likewise Moore said in response to question “the goodness of the good” that it’s pretty darn obvious what’s good: conversation, Bach, zydeco, friends, Giselle, dancing alone or with others, and of course babies. If you relabel the good as the bad systematically you’ve either done nothing or you’re fucked up and cannot be trusted. You’re a gork on a gurney at County, babbling of private wants and rages. In the name of my father I have always preferred to engage hospital staff in a classy fashion, talking to them civilly and as an equal.
Now the problem here is that although I am facing mortality with what seems equanimity this may shatter at any time; my serenity is a daily reprieve. The loss of another affected me more, both my first love in 1968 and my wife in 1981. I dealt with this poorly, by never, after 1981, loving anyone new. 
I dunno. There’s something missing here. I love my kids, but shouldn’t I be on a plane to Chicago and not Italy? What manner of man am I? Do I know myself?   
I cannot decide all this tonight. I have both Stilnox and new pain meds that are stronger so I am hoping for a quiet night. The sciatica’s out there but behind a legal and prescribed codeine fog. Ah those little Anodynes:
The Soul seeks pleasure first
And then, release from pain,
And then, those little Anodynes
That deaden suffering
(Emily Dickinson)
I need to be careful with medication, for I suffered terribly from Demerol withdrawal in 1978 and drove my wife nuts. I do look forward to coming home from work, in pain, and watching ER on DVD (it’s a reassurance that today’s medical science gives me options that weren’t given to Bette Davis in Dark Victory), popping a Stilnox and retiring, hoping for joyful dreams which I have been having, like Richmond before Bosworth.
O thou, whose captain I account myself…

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