Cancer Crawl Feb 20th

Well, it’s more like a slow amble up and down the hallways of the 18th floor of the General, back and forth. At least 4 times a day. Through the miracle of tethering, I have managed to get onto the internet with Carrie’s laptop and type something, and I am probably breaking a rule. Didn’t Foucault say something about hospitals and jails?

Anyway, I have been gradually coming back to personhood over the fast few days. 2 days in pants. 24 hours narcotic free now, though the tradeoff is, well, pain. My neck feels like it has been rearranged. Because of course it has. There’s a new hole in my head. It’s hard to describe the “new tracheostomy feeling” but I can offer an exercise that probably works for any major body modification. Imagine a range of things that you would find it disturbing for others to do to your neck. Now imagine that you’ve become comfortable with half of them. Congrats, you have accepted your new trache.

I still can’t talk at all. In my head, it’s all logorrhea (see: this post) but all I have is a pen and a pad of paper. And gestures. I sort of eat and drink, which is better than the prior arrangement. And everyone seems optimistic that I will leave the hospital without a tracheostomy at all. But right now that could be a week away or longer, and will probably end with me still coming back here to sleep for observation but going out on “day passes” (like jail). And nights are the worst part of being in the hospital.

All I’ve had time to do is think and listen to music. Tom Rice’s work on sound in hospitals convinced me that the risks of bringing in an iPod were well worth the possibility of theft and the music has been a lifeline. On a tip I downloaded the new Massive Attack album and while it’s no life changer like the 90s stuff, half the songs are really, surprisingly good. Lots of spacey electronica too. Also it’s been an avenue of exploration as it turns out I am one of a small group of people who experiences vivid visual hallucinations with dilaudid (I’m not sure I will write about them here but I will be happy to describe them to anyone who wants to know–now I understand bad heroin art a little better, and I will not soon forget them though I’m happy to be past that stage). I’ve also written what feels like books in my head. They sure were interesting at the time though I am somewhat skeptical of their longer-term potential as next-project potential as the opiates exit my system.

A smartphone is even better in that regard and now that I’m 100% lucid, I will be gradually getting back on line at least as a consumer. I will finally watch the Yacht Rock series on YouTube.

There are a million other things I want to say but it’s not yet time to say them. I just want to say thanks to everyone who has written, paid attention, or been able to arrange a visit. Getting sick is a quintessential experience–it’s intensely depersonalizing, personal and national all at once. It has meant a lot to me to hear from everyone, and even when I was only a little lucid and had just gotten out of effectively 3 days in anesthesia, Carrie was reading to me from emails and it was great. So thanks for that. I will now be able to read emails directly, so you can write to me and save Carrie the trouble of mediation, though you can write to her too. Obviously, I’m not “back in the office” and have no interest in what lies in wait for me at work, but it seems that being in touch is good so I’m going to roll with that since I’m in here for a good few more days. So I would be happy to hear about your life. Apologies for necessarily short responses when I’m not sitting at a laptop which is definitely not staying with me in the room.

Anyway, maybe I’ll write more in a day or two when a) there’s real news or b) I am inspired. I could do 1-liners via the iPhone, I guess, but there’s Facebook status update for that.