I get a lot of my blog ideas from what is going on in my head and many more from what I read. But some come from other strange places. Like television shows. Like "House", which I just started watching now that its over.
In a recent episode, lo and hehold, one of the key characters had cancer which looks it's going to get him. His name is Wilson and he himself is an oncologist and Dr. House's best (and only) friend. He is trying to come to grips with the idea of dying and having a hard time with it, so he reaches out to one of House's old team (13) who has a terminal prognosis and asks, "Does it always have to feel so surreal? And I immediately realized that this was the word I was looking for when people asked how it felt to be dying. I would say confused, depressed, detached, disconnected, like living two lives. But none of these seemed to capture it quite so well as this. It does feel surreal. There is a strange reality to each and every day that I find myself trying to reconcile - I'm dying but I'm alive. If I were stronger, perhaps I could focus more on being alive, but the disease that will kill me has taken much away from me such that I don't have that physical strength and, as such, I don't really have that choice to make. That's my reality. So surreal it is. It works for me and I hope it helps you understand this strange existence just a little bit better.
In the same episode, one of the doctors quoted the results of a post-911 study that determined repression was a better coping mechanism than wallowing in grief. Now, I don't know whether that study was real or whether I've interpreted it correctly, but it's an interesting thought. Some things are just too big for us to handle and perhaps the idea of dying is one of those things that, while we can't escape it, perhaps we can repress it enough to get on with living for awhile. Is that even possible? It goes against the grain of everything I represent but, just as some people deny that they have cancer as a way of coping, perhaps they can deny that they are going to die from it. Denial. Repression. I couldn't do it and wouldn't want to. But maybe some can and maybe it works for them.
Anyway. Some interesting thoughts from an interesting source.
So long, House.
PERSONAL HEALTH UPDATE
I realize now just how sick I was this past week and how close to death I was. When I first reported on it, I was focused on the fact that I had sepsis and what a terrible thing that was. But then I discovered that I had lost 2 days, some of it completely and some of it in sickened haze where people came and went and where Dianne ministered to me hour by hour, essentially keeping me alive. And now, with the relative clarity of hindsight, I can experience viscerally the weakened state it has left me in.
I rely heavily on oxygen now. Going up or down the stairs, carrying dishes into the kitchen.... simple things like this leave me gasping for breath. So we had the family discussion and decided to make a last stand in my own bed, close to bath and shower and the additon of a small fridge for medicines and cold drinks. We decided that this would be the best place overall where I would be most comfortable and that could hopefully minimize the amount of vertical travel. I fully expect to get sicker from here on in and we will handle this as best we can from our new headquarters.
We'll see how that goes!