My father, at 90 years old, is at the end of his life and can no longer do, what the health care industry calls, “the activities of daily living”. Dad can not walk unassisted; needs to be catheterized to pee; needs someone to wipe him after going to the bathroom; needs help dressing and getting up or down from a chair; needs to be held while he walks so that he does not fall. The last activity of daily living which he still can do is to feed himself, but even that function is rapidly fading. He is sleeping fifteen to eighteen hours a day. The one good thing about this part of his life is that he is not in pain and seems happy.
On Tuesday my wife got a port put in her chest for the two chemo drugs she started yesterday to treat her cancer. The procedure, which took place at a local hospital, was expected to last a hour. My wife and her parents were at the hospital for six hours. When I heard how the day was going I offered to make them dinner so they could sit down to a hot meal immediately upon their return from the hospital. I knew they would all be exhausted.
Since graduate school, when I had to buy my first computer, a pre-MS DOS machine, I have been online. No, not the internet. The internet did not exist in 1982 when I started graduate school. But leading edge, circa 1982, online services did exist. In 1982 I would dial out to The Source, and a few years later to CompuServe, when they acquired The Source, and then in the early 1990’s the internet. One of the things I regularly did online was reasearch medical topics, mostly by reading medical journal articles. I was an early user of the new online repositories for medical journal articles.
Over five and a half years ago I came out to my wife as a gay man for the second time. The first time was shortly after we met twenty five years ago. After painfully wrestling with the kind of life I wanted to live going forward, I made the decision to move out of my marriage. My wife and I separated over three and a half years ago.
There is real death, and then there is what I think of as, the little death. When I use this term I do not mean what people describe as, la petite more, a term that is tied to the feelings at the point of orgasm. I always think of, the little death, as it was described in the book Dune, by Frank Herbert. He writes in the Litany Against Fear: “I have no fear, for fear is the little death that kills me over and over. Without fear, I die but once.” Continue reading →
Tonight I attended a screening of the film, Desert Migration. The film is a documentary about long-term survivors of HIV/AIDS. The film tells a powerful story of different individuals, all long-term HIV/AIDS survivors, living in Palm Springs, CA. I have read about the complex set of issues facing long term HIV/AIDS survivors but have no personal experience in this area. I was very moved by the film and the filmmaker’s powerful way of letting each men tell their story in a raw, unfiltered manner.
I’m saddened by the death of Robin Williams. As a teenager, he gave me countless hours of joy watching him play Mork. While he was seven years older than me, it feels like he’s of my generation. What despair drives a person to kill themselves? Williams, one would think, had everything. He could have left the world stage and lived out his life in ease. I hope as the story unfolds that there is more to it than just that the guy was depressed. His publicist reported that he “has been battling severe depression”. So why didn’t someone do something to help him? Continue reading →