Sometimes, the only thing you can do…

…is offer an acquaintance your employee discount. Rick Garman, who writes (which I’ve read religiously going on six years now), e-mailed me last night to ask about getting my discount for him and his friend Mary, who has had cancer for several years and is now terminal. I read his e-mail and then her blog as I was getting ready for work, and then thought about all of it on the 30-minute drive to work. Obviously, I forwarded Rick the employee discount form, but I did more than that. I prayed for him, for Mary and her family, and for everyone else facing terminal illnesses. A discounted hotel stay can’t fix anything, but it’s what I can offer, and that’s all anyone can ask for. Mary, my thoughts truly are with you and yours during the next several months.

I don’t normally do this sort of thing, but Mary’s blog touched me, so I wanted to share it here. I’ll let it speak for itself, as she’s a great writer and is much more gracious than I could ever hope to be in her situation. I hope everyone is having a great Twenty-Ten thus far–brt

Stay Me, Oh Comfort Me

Actually, O Best Beloveds, it is hard to be dramatic or woebegone when you are eating a chocolate chip cookie from a dear friend’s bakery. Seriously. Try it some time. So maybe that’s why this email is more flip than I imagined it would be, which might be a good thing.

Dr. Waisman said that, barring some kind of chemo that wouldn’t do much except make me feel really sick, there is no more treatment that would be effective. What’s more, my liver is much extended (I look pregnant, which is so very unfair), and cancer is affecting my lungs (more on disgusting adventures with fluid later), so matters are progressing, and fast at that.

In short, my goose, she is cooked.

So, the questions:

WHAT THE FUCK? Legitimate, but let’s face it, we all got complacent the last 12 years.

How long until, you know? Oh, doctors. They all say six months. They don’t really mean it. I asked after Jazz Fest–priorities people, always priorities!–which is at the end of April, and he looked skeptical. I can’t for certain say he’s wrong, but there are a lot of powerful people who wish to prove that, so let’s see. I mean, it’s one thing to miss Dave at Fest this year; two of us is just wrong.

What’s it gonna be like? Lots of sleeping. And then more sleeping. Oxygen and pain pills if needed. No hospice care here; he thinks we can do it with our own resources (no need for hospital bed, etc) and he will make house calls. And I sleep some more. At some point, I don’t wake up. I couldn’t have ordered a better death, except perhaps experiencing it 40 years from now.

How are you doing? Oh, you know. Actually, it’s weird; like, does one keep moisturizing even if future wrinkles may no longer be an issue? Which books should I read; old favorites or nifty sounding new ones? (New Elizabeth Gilbert is here, Quinn, will read and get it to you asap.) What food to eat, what events do I attend, how to keep everyone from asking me how I feel? Let’s assume if I’m up and dressed that I feel good. After that, there will be nuances, and we can deal with them as need be.

This email isn’t turning out precisely as I had imagined. So far, this is just a day like any other day. I feel pretty good, Diana’s coming over, we are all going to the fabulous sashimi place, and then there is the Elizabeth Gilbert book. (If you haven’t, do yourself a favor and read The Last American Man, her first non-fiction volume. Trust me.) I may be in heavy, heavy denial, but it keeps me from feeling ghastly dread, and look at it this way; either there’s just a whole lot of unavoidable bad coming at me, in which case I don’t see the need to rush up and greet it, or I feel pretty swell, psychically and physically, and roll out with cookies and good books. Perhaps this latter course of action is unbearably shallow, or ungrateful, but I don’t think so; if we can all agree our time is finite, then I might as well celebrate/take ruthless advantage of the goodness of this time, rather than fret about the unknown ahead.

My title above, in the King James version, reads in its fullest “Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples, for I am sick.” It seemed appropriate. Actually, I just lied; it really reads “for I am sick of love.” (Never trust anyone using the Bible for their own purposes.) Which is part of why we love but can’t use the KJV as the linguistically dated narrator really means “I am sick with love.” Full of love. That’s a luscious kind of sick.

I am, I am sorry to say, Beloveds, sick, but I assure you that in addition to a clinical way also in that voluptuous way as well, that kind that comes smothered with love. And cookies.


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