Mood swings

…caused by androgen blocker Flutamide? I mean, I had to get into Hong Kong today and it was really very toxic…hot, polluted…and when I got back home in the middle of the day all I wanted was a nap. Intending to sleep 30 minutes I slept for an hour and then read my new book on cancer, “Cancer, The Emperor of All Maladies”, by Siddharta Mukherjee.

I want to learn as much as possible and I find medical science fascinating now but I’d also bought, new and at Dymock’s, a new history of ballet, Apollo’s Angels, and maybe should have started with that. Buying books without a steady source of income (just the savings I live on now) always makes me anxious but a book represented love when I was a kid, it represented recognition.

Ain’t getting no love other than what I generate. Ain’t going to talk about it in this venue but I think John Lennon was full of shit. The love you take is NOT equal to the love you give. Never ever ever. I gave love and I ain’t getting it back in any recognizable form.

Of course, Laura Linney’s manic-depressive brother in law in that Showtime series, The Big C, says things that strangers and acquaintances find disturbing when he’s not on medication. He violates the rules of the language game. But seriously I don’t think I do that, I just say complicated things.

Here’s an example. It made me very, very sad to learn that a hospital, at which my Dad used to practice (Ravenswood, in Chicago) is now essentially a sarcophagus, an eater of the dead. You see, a kid died 30 feet from its ER in 1998 in a celebrated incident (which got some laws passed) because the staff was told that they were not a recognized “trauma center” and were not “supposed” to do a damn thing about a kid bleeding out outside the ER with the equipment and skills they had as a basic ER.

Of course, a normal human being, like my Dad, would have said fuck that shit and done whatever he or she could have with what was available to stop the bleeding, but at about the same time I was already aware of the zombification effect that takes hold of people who overvalue a specific job and don’t want to get fired.

But it gets worse at the Ravenswood Sarcophagus. It was closed down by its new owners, Advocate Health Care, and became an abandoned building. The Lycée Francais, an international not-for-profit but ritzy group of French international schools, bought the building, turning over its maintenance to American Demolition of Chicago…which then failed to follow city law as regards securing the property.

…with the result that three punk kids entered the building at 3:00 AM and one of them, in the completely darkened property, fell several stories to his death through a hole in the floor. The family of the kid is suing American Demolition and Lycée Francais.

Well, here’s yours truly, yesterday, fighting a battle royale with the readership of the Tribune at Facebook comments attached to the article about the lawsuit. [Note: you may have to log into your Facebook to see the comments at the site, and they may be removed at any time by the Tribune.]

The default Chicago position is to decry, not the contemptuous treatment of the neighborhood by American Demolition and Lycée Francais, in which poor and lower middle class families had to put up with a nuisance property so that rich kids could have a French school, but “ambulance chasing lawyers” who think that the bereaved parents of the punk kid have a right under Tort law of negligence to sue.

I try to explain as best I can that as a juvenile breaking and entering (but taking nothing of value) the kid didn’t deserve to die, and his parents didn’t deserve to lose him, and the law, being the law, gives them money as ersatz for healing, using my knowledge of the law, and, at least in the opinion of makeup artists for Evil Angel Entertainment and other characters, this makes me the Antichrist.

I tried to explain that the kid could have been a fire fighter or police officer following to his or her death through the same hole, and the law of negligence, with its “duty of care” to the stranger the Neighbor, is meant to protect that abstract individual and not just the punk kid…but I might as well have been talking Martian, and was labeled an ambulance chasing lawyer even though I’m not a lawyer…because Tribune readers have such low self-esteem they don’t think they have anything coming, and they hate anyone, such as a father of a punk kid who’s lost that punk kid, who thinks he might.

It’s like the ugly use of the word of “entitlement” by the right wing. The fact is that when I punched a time clock in the 1970s and received a paycheck docked for Social Security, this meant that I’d invested in the Social Security fund and had an “entitlement”. This “entitlement” is under attack by the truly entitled: in my case, we’re talking maybe 1500.00 USD per month: in Ronney’s case we’re talking about a retirement income in the millions. It’s absurd, it’s heart-breaking and it is satanic.

It’s like where I wound up fighting with Chicago’s “ethics commissioner” Steve Berlin who claimed of a murderer who seemed to me M’Naghten crazy that that murderer, and not perhaps the banks that have destroyed lives, represents a nadir of evil which can be used as a reference point by all right thinking sorts. I do feel that studying the technicalities of the law might help us to avoid recreational morality where we unnecessarily judge strangers in cases where their behavior is not our business but of course, the Tribune reader doesn’t feel this way. He or she likes to feel all righteous and to read about “evildoers” and “bad parents” who are “bad” because their punk kids are out of control.

Meanwhile, my country becomes more and more unrecognizable. When I was a kid my Dad drove between Henrotin and Ravenswood and Augustana, practicing at each, and Dad even made house calls. Today access to health care is always in play, and the possibility that this access will be abused by malingerers is an unstated premise, for the very good reason that starting in the 1970s, that is precisely what started to happen: people began to abuse access to health care through then-lavish, employer-sponsored health plans because that was the deal in the “me” generation, along with “doctors” with fancy offices on Boul Mich whose practice consisted in handing out recreational drugs to all and sundry.

In this context, the white majority (which is about to become a white minority owing to the growth in immigrant, black and Hispanic population) is passing ever more Draconian voter ID laws to ensure a Romney victory and a reversion to a white male Republic of Gilead…whilst I try to figure out how to stay out of the frying pan.

All I can do is remember how fresh the air felt when I did make it outside this evening after the cleansing rain. I had a tantrum at Just Greens which ruined it, for I guiltily spent too much on prepared Indian dishes in envelopes being so tired of my cooking and had to use a thousand dollar bill…which the chinese clerk would not accept. I just lost it, loudly accusing her of racism until the owner came forward and cashed the bill.

I know that there are cultural differences but at the same time it’s tough to be a “stranger in a strange land” with health problems. Real tough.

I have to find a new source of energy. There was some in the freshness of the air this evening. I have a work permit and a job but need to get back to a full time schedule with lower overall energy in contrast to before last May when I was running and had high every day mood and energy. At the same time, I have to use the remaining downtime very, very wisely to recuperate.

Six years of full time effort turned into nothing whatsoever in 2010. A recovery from this then went south this year in May with the combined cancer diagnosis and the sciatica.

Yet the sciatica becomes ever more academic. I hardly felt it this evening whereas a month ago I had to rest at the crest of the hill I was in such pain. I have become lighter and have better posture, I use Epsom salts religiously, and have, perhaps, conquered that problem, which, if it allows me to return to running, will be great for mood and health in fighting the big weenie, which is the cancer diagnosis.

But memento mori. Prospero in the Tempest says that back in Milan, every other thought will be his death even as Shakespeare, who perhaps was suffering from the rare cancer of the tear ducts that some say was to kill him, was looking to return to Stratford to die. The love you take is never equal to the love you give and that is just going to have to be ok. I still think of how my parents gave me books to read, ergo I have to give my kids feelings TODAY that will come to them when it’s their turn to be in a shit-storm.

I like the idea of sleeping for a long time and then awakening to a world where we shall all be changed, like we might sleep on a long airline flight, or the experience I had with anesthesia during my colonoscopy, where you just forget the pain and wake up t a world which is a baloney sandwich and a glass of milk in the sunlight. But I also like the idea of having to cowboy up and get out into the wilderness and make it to where we need to go. I like the whole idea of life on life’s terms because I’ve never had a choice, not since it was apparent to me that I was avoiding life on life’s terms in a way that harmed others.

It’s amazing. For thirty years, I felt so great every day, being such an athlete, that I must have irritated quite a lot of people simply by being me. A woman in my recovery group back in New Jersey who’d had to care for a son with cancer as a single Mom really, really hated me, probably for this reason. Where did I get off?

Well, that’s all gone for now unless I can get it back and somehow, for some reason, live literally forever. Question is why anyone would want to unless by so doing they could benefit others or grow in what Spinoza regarded as the portmanteau love-knowledge of God or nature. Sure wish I could just enjoy wine vintages like a normal person, but as my friends noticed in the 1990s I drank any old swill not being a wine aficionado in the slightest.

Tired and the tumor, which may or may not be shrinking, hurts a bit as it sucks my life away, being part of my life, like the miniature black man in Lukundoo:

“I am past all help and all hurting,” said Stone. “This is my hour. This curse is not put on me; it grew out of me, like this horror here. Even now I go.”

His eyes closed and we stood helpless, the adherent figure spouting shrill sentences.

In a moment Stone spoke again.

“You speak all tongues?” he asked quickly.

And the mergent minikin replied in sudden English:

“Yea, verily, all that you speak,” putting out its microscopic tongue, writhing its lips and wagging its head from side to side. We could see the thready ribs on its exiguous flanks heave as if the thing breathed.

“Has she forgiven me?” Stone asked in a muffled strangle.

“Not while the moss hangs from the cypresses,” the head squeaked. “Not while the stars shine on Lake Pontchartrain will she forgive.”

But…please do not misunderstand. This reality being a horror is no longer something I fear. That’s because it’s real, and I’m not God, therefore it is an incomplete reality in which hope exists.

I fostered the cancer through inability to love, using junk food and tobacco. But I did NOT subject myself to sitting in a closed car filled with Mom’s cigarette smoke. That was Mom who did that. I become the Other, the black man growing out of me, in cancer. I’m not rooting for the tumor, but I do have to say, like Prospero, “this thing of darkness I acknowledge mine”.

Did I really expect to become a Lotus Eater such as Odysseus encountered, people outside of time and history? Nope, not at all.


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