Log 7 pm 5 July 2012

It is strange to take care of yourself when you’re sick. I have been recovering from a siege of nausea caused by my not knowing how to handle prescription painkillers, especially members of the “opioide” family and the nausea of Tue which sent me to the Queen Mary Hospital turned on Wed into utter exhaustion and no-appetite, and a dramatic weight loss noticed on Wed morning.

I have cleaned up after myself, flushed my toilet carefully using our water-saving Chinese system (in which you have to hold it down for a complete flush) in order to get rid of the weird urine smell caused by the cancer drugs. Drawn water for Epsom salts and dragged it wearily across my flat, thinking what a disaster it’d be if I dropped the water. Brewed tea, for me, and me alone.

It’s almost as if my Self has divided because of this cancer drug, hormone therapy meant to zap my testosterone creating a female self. I watch ER and cry dammit. I get out of myself like a ghost in a movie and fix myself tea and Epsom salts.

My helper is great…but she’s paid as a cleaning lady not a nurse. My neighbors have been great but they have families and are heading back to England for a vacation in some cases. Therefore insofar as I’m able, I need to take care of myself in the field here.

Perhaps this is as it should be, for a servant taking care of a master is exploitation, isn’t it? Anyway, it makes me feel better.

I got my shit together for a walk into town and food. This last survivor of the garrison nonsense stops now, so I showered up, shaved carefully, brushed, flossed, after-shaved and put a bespoke jacket despite the heat which isn’t so bad today. Nobody’s going to help me if I look like a street person whereas the fact that people have been coming out of the woodwork to help is based on the fact that I am known on this island as someone who dresses nice for work and has been hauling ass for years.

The dramatic limp, however, can’t yet be helped. I grip the strap of my laptop bag, which is now lightly loaded and hangs completely from my right, non-sciatica side, like a carbine and I march or die, mes enfants.

The thing is that owing to what Adorno (yes, dammit, Adorno) called pseudo ownership (of feelings portrayed and expressed on film and popular songs) we have, as I have pointed out elsewhere, lost true ownership of our feelings in a social sense. Because people are brutalized by the fictional witnessing of crises (“what’s he to Hecuba”) far in excess of the past when theater was an annual festival, we tend to chastise each other for being “dramatic” and playing to the gallery.

Which we are being because we learn how to act from films. But the crises are real, and in the USA which until this week’s hopeful Supreme Court decision concerning the Affordable Care Act was turning into a cruel circus as regards “health care”, “drugs and alcohol” have probably been over diagnosed because (1) most members of my generation, including the rich and successful, have abused drugs and continue to do so, and (2) they find “drugs and alcohol” a convenient anodyne, not only in themselves but also to deny care to the poor.

My use of prescription painkillers could turn into an addiction but has not been addictive: I am down to six Panadol (Excedrin?) equivalents a day. But the Nepenthe was real. My “pain log” from April shows me in agony every night with pain levels at ten, listening to Enya, falling asleep at 4 AM and sleeping until eleven. This seems to have gone and may be gone if my gait and use of the leg has adapted to the sciatica. So it appears that behind diagnoses of addiction to these prescription drugs is the absence of ability to help pain sufferers with natural endorphins, which during the worst of it I learned are real. If people had, for example, a legal right to go to the beach, a lot of this pill head shit would not happen. If you’re paying medical bills by working at a stand up job, all you have is opioides.

And…the thought did occur to me that pain medication and Jack Daniel’s would be a hell of a ride, followed by the horselaugh of God at such a silly notion which first I heard in Kowloon on May 25.

Opioides do bring Bosch and Breughel to life. Croak not black angel!

Hurts me to say it because I can’t stand Jimmy Wales… but thank god for Wikipedia. Before April I had no idea what an opioide or anti-inflammatory was. Wikipedia allows the solitary sufferer a shot at accessing information from home. I think that today, PCCW got around to shutting my service off because I haven’t made it to the Central office to pay, but I can get into town to access wireless and will try to restore the home service tomorrow on a (planned) trip into town.


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