Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Why I ask the questions I ask

Well, I was only horsing around when I wrote here that I had reservations about getting a left-knee injection because the last time I did it led to my learning that I had cancer. So yesterday morning I was at the VA and got my left-knee injection and at a later appointment with dermatology the doctor (a Chinese of course) informed me that I have a squamas cell carcinoma on the right temple. It’s a skin thing. She wasn’t very exercised over it.

“We should do a biopsy,” she said. “Are you up for it?”

“Can you do it now?” I didn’t want to have to make an appointment.

“Yes,” she said and called a nurse. They have a special room in dermatology where they just do biopsies. There wasn’t much to it. An injection of an anesthetic in the side of the head, followed by a little sawing and a small bandage. They’ll call me in a week or so once the results are in and have been considered. And there’s an appointment in 30 days or so.

Doctor Han told me that this would not make the same kind of trouble for me as the lymphoma did. Squamas cell carcinoma doesn’t often spread. I won’t need chemotherapy or radiation. Nothing dramatic will happen.

“Good,” I said. “That last cancer was a real bother.”

Doctor Han was busy with her paper work and didn’t have time to horse around.

Now the folk who front for Holocaust Inc. at Harvard and other intellectual centers around the nation will be able to use this information to suggest a reason for my asking the questions I ask. “That's what you do when you have head cancer. It drives you to ask hateful questions."

I can see the logic there.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Busy and distracted with. . . .

Busy and distracted with the fallout from the Harvard Crimson story. Busy and distracted with the restructuring of my Founder’s Page which contains most of the stories for a book tentatively titled A Personal History of Moral Decay. Busy and distracted with family business, friends, money. Busy and distracted with outreach via the Internet. Too busy and distracted to complain about much of anything.

Tomorrow it’s to the other side for two nights at the VA in La Jolla where (during the day) I will be examined from top to bottom and tested and interviewed and get an injection in the left knee. If the injection in the knee works I’ll be able to walk a mile or two three or four times a week and that will help me lose weight and be good for me generally. The last time I got an injection in the left knee the good Dr. Han found a swollen gland in the throat and sent me to the VA in La Jolla to run some tests. Cancer. So these left-knee injections can be dangerous, but I’m going to do it anyhow.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I’ve had an odd few days

I’ve had an odd few days. No sickness, no pain, nothing to whine about. But this last Friday I found that inwardly I did not want to move. There was no exhaustion. Yet nothing had my attention, nothing had my heart. In a certain way I was just there without being there.

Saturday it was the same, except that I realized that around the heart there was a kind of floating anxiety. Nothing profound, but there it was. For me, it was unusual. I’m not much taken with anxiety. Like I told one of my doctors, I think I’m too shallow to have worried much about the cancer. But Saturday I understood that I was in a state of some kind of depression. The realization surprised me. I was depressed, and I felt anxious. That isn’t me. And I was largely closed down. Standing alone, apart from my wife, my daughter, the grand kids. I was reading Boswell’s Clap, but that didn’t help.

Sunday morning I decided to tell Irene what I was feeling, anxious and depressed. She had already noticed that I was “bien lelo,” or maybe “out of it.” So Sunday morning I would pick her up at her church down the coast at Las Gaviotas and while we drove back to town I would tell her. It would be the first time in some 35 years that I would ever have told her anything like it.

When she got in the car and strapped Lil Brad in the car seat in back and we were driving north I could not bring myself to say anything. After awhile she said in Spanish, “Gordo, estas bien lelo.” I agreed, but I didn’t say anything. I had nothing to say. We drove to town and had lunch in the big, square, outdoor food court where there are clowns and Brad can play. While we were there at our table the subject of her doctor’s appointment came up. She feels something in the right breast that is not right. She’s been in remission from breast cancer for 12 years, but when she mentioned the mammogram I felt the anxiety come up. It came up very strong.

That was two days ago. Things are more or less the same. My state of being, if I can put it that way, appears to be passing through some kind of phase. I am going to suppose, I don’t know what to think, that it has to do primarily with the work. I have invested a lot of money over the last three months which has provided no new income. A good part of the expenditure was for Internet outreach. I see now that I probably chose to test the two most inappropriate lists available for such testing. I chose them as a revisionist, rather than as a marketer/businessman.

I have not talked about this stuff with anyone. Until now. I already feel a little better. Get it off your chest, Brad. I think maybe getting it off the chest helps me stay good no matter what’s going down. Usually. That’s part of it. The other part is that I don’t think about things over much. I just go ahead, do this, do that. There’s no end to the thinking. Consider the holes in or not in the roof of Krema II. Twenty-five years on and we can still talk about the holes in the roof of Krema II. With regard to life, the issue with thinking is that it’s always from yesterday, a moment ago. From memory. No thinking without memory, yet memory is never there in the moment. When anxiety passes over the heart it makes its move without asking permission, there is a moment of awareness without thought, and then it’s time for memory to kick in.


I wrote the above two nights ago without finishing it. I don’t recall now where I was taking it. But that was two nights ago. Yesterday the Harvard story broke. I was busy. Today the story was building. CNN got in touch, a reporter from The Boston Free Press, some students. Busy. Sometime during the day I realized that there was no anxiety, no depression. I’m pleasantly distracted with the work. A life of distraction. At this stage of my life, maybe that’s the ticket. I suppose that has always been the ticket. Do something. Do this, do that. It gives you the impression you’re alive.

Still reading in Boswell’s Clap. Turns out I’m not so interested in the medical analyses of literary men’s afflictions as I had expected to be. I do like the biographical outlines of the characters analyzed. At the same time it’s interesting to find how uninteresting is the madness of Collins, Cowper, and Smart as exhibited in their poetry. I can’t bring myself to even begin the chapter on the neuropathology and psychopathology of Swinbourne’s masochism.

Ober does tell a charming anecdote about Chekhov, who died of tuberculosis.

“Chekhov died in Germany in 1904. When his doctor wanted to apply an ice bag to his chest, he looked up and said: ‘One does not put ice upon an empty heart.’ He then asked for a glass of champagne, drank it, and died. His body was returned to Moscow in a train marked ‘Oysters.’”

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Boswell's Clap

I’m reading Boswell’s Clap by William B. Ober, M.D. I first started reading it in December 1990 but got distracted. I picked it up again in March, 2002 (I date the pages of what I read, sometimes) and can see by the underlining of text that I stayed with the chapter on Madness and Poetry for a couple days. Now here we are in September 2009 and “Boswell’s Clap & Other Essays: a Medical Analyses of Literary Men’s Afflictions,” may have gotten my attention.

I am aware of the sub-text here. In a small way I am a literary man, one who has a couple three afflictions. It can be kind of wonderful reading a text by a third party that is self-referential throughout, in certain ways. Boswell didn’t just have the clap, he got the clap again, and again, and again. He was perfectly aware that he was getting the clap by going to whores. He understood as did everyone else then and now that that is where you were most certain to get the clap, but for 20, 30 years he chose whores and the clap over a modest wife and good health.

I cannot say that I never got the clap. I spent years knocking around Korea, Japan, central Mexico, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Okinawa and a good part of the 48. It had to happen somewhere along the line. There was a young lady in Bangkok, very pretty, who did me no favor with her favors. Once? It can happen to the best of us. But a dozen, 20 times? James Boswell was a little crazy about the clap, in a uselessly crazy way.

Nevertheless, he may be giving me a theme that I can write about, have an excuse to write about. We’ll see.

At this moment memory recalls that even in Boswell's early years as a journal keeper there were pages torn from his journals, sometimes single leaves, sometimes bunches of pages. Someone was hiding something. It may have been James, or it may have been another who had access to the journals and got rid what they wanted to get rid of. Can’t do that here very well. Once it’s posted, it’s posted. I’ll have to be circumspect.