Would You Rather?

Yesterday, while watching some exciting TV (one of those author talks on CSPAN), author Bill Bryson made some interesting comments about the idea of being taken out of your normal sphere, your daily routine, and put in a place where you have all the time in the world to think. He was referriing to his time spent hiking the Appalachian Trail (about which he wrote A Walk In The Woods), and the sheer mental challenge of having severely limited his lists of tasks for a given day. Just lots of walking, and lots of thinking.

Sitting in a hospital room is not much different. Unlike Bryson, ambling through Appalachia, the contours of the land and the natural beauty of his surrondings giving some kind of focus to his inner monologue, I have been holed up in a small room with a singular view containing mostly other buildings for two weeks now. When I go for a walk here, it means nothing more than dressing up in a silly (albeit necessary) costume consisting of a robe, booties, gloves, and a duck-bill shaped mask, and ambling the u-shaped hallway that makes up the Bone Marrow Ward. There are no windows in the hallway.

This leaves plenty to think about. Sometimes it’s too much, and the easiest thing to do is pick up my Nintendo DS and play soccer with my custom team (Saul Bellow is my goalie, Sam Peckinpah and Art Vandelay both forwards).

So, when I manage to let myself think what happens? Not much usually, which I suppose is okay. Though on the other hand I recognize it as a privelige of sorts that most people aren’t afforded — Dawn, for instance, is at home in Madison running around every minute working, rehearsing, teaching, and generally holding our life together (and that statement encompasses a whole lot). She hasn’t the time to lie about and think about anything but her day, her moment, her next task on a very long list of tasks.

I think about Thanksgiving, and how fortunate I am to be able to be at home in Madison that week, seeing people that I don’t see much of like Aurelia, and Andrew, and the Walton’s.

I think about what to do with my life when I can once and for all kiss cancer’s ass goodbye. Will I keep forging ahead, planning and plotting new creative projects? What will they be? Will I be more motivated to see more of them through to completion? Will I finally start trying my hand at painting? Will I break free from work (paying bills) that brings negativity into my life or that I am not well-suited for?

What else do I want to experience? Should I train and hike that Appalachian Trail as Bill Bryson did? Anyone want to go along?

Tara, who spent pretty much all of last week here in the hospital with me, occassionally jettinig back to Cincinnnati to teach, bought a silly book one day called Would You Rather? Don’t get me wrong, it is not a particularly thought-provoking book (sample question: would you rather have nunchucks for hands OR ice making nostrils?) It’s the title itself that seemed most appropriate for this post.

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The Nitty Gritty Details

I am currently at day 14 in the hospital. For the past couple of days, the doctors I see everyday have been telling me that my white blood cell count should spike at any time. This is really what we’re waiting for in terms of my discharge for this visit. I was disappointed this morning when they came back only slightly higher than yesterday, and not nearly high enough. They continually tell me that it usually happens quite abruptly, so perhaps tomorrow will be the day those suckers make a showing. Once they do, I am uncertain of the wait period before they release me back into the world. I will, of course, keep you posted.

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My Little Corner of Humbleness

This morning my nurse Angie walked into my room with a bundle of mail and said, “I feel like UPS.”

I simply cannot express enough my feeling of gratitude to you all for the cards, notes, custom postcards, books, videos, pictures, heart and soul that you have sent my way. It brings tears to my eyes when I pause and think about all of you around the country taking a moment or two from your day to think about little ol’ me up here in Indianapolis of all places. Life is funny thing, and I thank my lucky stars that I’ve managed to gather up the right kind of people in my life. I don’t know how I found you all, or how you found me, but I’m glad it happened.

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2 Responses to “Would You Rather?”

  1. Richard & Beverly Davis Says:

    Mike,
    It has been good to hear about your experience now because it seems like things are actually working out the way the doctors and everyone expects them to. We know it has been lonely and isolated for you there, but maybe things REALLY ARE LOOKING UP NOW!!!!!!!!
    We’re hoping the blood does what it is supposed to do and that you have a great Thanksgiving at home.

  2. Would you rather have a tail or a pouch?

    I’m in Vermont on business, end of the day of driving, just want to ground myself before going on to the next part. So reading your blog.

    It is nice here, there is a little bit of snow, like pancakes at a diner with the podered sugar. We are on the optomistic side of winter. I am looking out across the Ottaqueechee river to some farmland and mountains beyond. No leaves. Golden brown colors everywhere. The sun is starting to go in earnest. So there are long shaddows across everything, even as I am writing it is all changing. The river is kind of grey green and cold looking, funny to think I swam it in it this summer. It is a good view that I wanted to share with you while you roam down windowless hallways and play virtual soccer. Thinking of you everyday and sending you lots of good cheer and strong encouragement. Keep up the good work brother. xxo Miss Kitty

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