As Fogs Go

My estimate—that I would spend between one and four hours yesterday getting a blood transfusion—was low. From the moment I walked in the door until the conclusion of the process, six and one-half hours had passed. The transfusions—two units of blood—took about four hours. The ancillaries filled in the remainder of the time. I had hoped I would feel measurably better by the end of the process. Not so. But I’ve read that I might anticipate feeling a bit better twenty-four hours after the process was finished. So, maybe by 3 this afternoon? I hope. I do not feel “bad.” I simply feel tired. Still. Exhausted. Thrilled with the idea of undisturbed sleep…if there is such a thing.


I walked away from this blog post early this morning and forgot I had started it. A few hours later, after yet another long nap, I nibbled on a few leftovers from a Mexican meal. Much of the meal remained on the plate, though, because it was not in the least appetizing. And, then, I called my oncologist’s office and left a message, asking for a return call. Seconds later, her office called. They wanted me back for another infusion of magnesium and another set of labs. Not just today, but tomorrow and Friday, as well. Ach. I thought the week was going to be mine; mine to sleep as long as I wished, with no oncological obligations. But, no. No. No. Back home now, though, in time to watch the afternoon news if the idea were to appeal to me. It does not. At least I am not the guy at the clinic who, when I left, was waiting to be taken to the hospital for observation. He had been receiving treatment when he felt something was wrong; the doctor gently asked him if he would object being hospitalized for observation. He agreed. His wife, waiting in the lobby, agreed as well. All I had to do was let the fluids drip into my chest, grumble about some slight discomfort, and go home after the magnesium treatment. I cannot complain; not legitimately, at any rate.


As fogs go, the one I am in at the moment is not so very different from others. I just cannot seem to keep focused on matters that…matter. Instead, I bumble and stumble and do not appear to have the ability to decide what is worth thinking about and what is not. Pollen has begun covering every available surface, both outside and inside. I think the yellow stuff has gotten in my eyes and my chest and, somehow, has managed to burrow deep into the creases in my brain. My thoughts appear yellow, too, making me wonder whether I will ever again be able to see or dream about or contemplate more appealing colors. What if, I wonder, the world around and within me becomes infested with dirty yellow dust? What if smooth blue and green and red bottles disappear, replaced by glass etched by hideous  acidic washes tinted urine-yellow? Yes. What if? My eyes itch and burn from the nearly invisible pollen blown into them by fierce, chilly winds. If I am not careful, my eyes will take on the yellow hues the color the air. And the tiny fragments of pollen will scratch the corneas of both eyes. Jaundiced optical spheres etched by wind-blown clouds that behave like crushed glass. Damn. I would rather close my eyes.


Early this morning, I watched a video in which a mongoose engaged in a deadly dance with a cobra. After numerous attempts at striking the mongoose, the cobra turned away from its adversary, dropping its guard in the process. In a flash, the mongoose bared its razor-sharp teeth and tore into the snake’s flesh, ripping the reptile’s skin. The outcome of the attack was hidden from view, though, as both creatures’ bodies slid beneath a rusting refrigerator. I suspect the mongoose won the day, but I wonder whether the snake’s fangs sank into the mammal’s body, delivering a deadly—or, at least, a dangerous—dose of venom. It shouldn’t matter to me, should it? And, in fact, it doesn’t. But, then, perhaps it does? Should I feel compassion for one creature or the other? Or both? And if I do not, what does that say about me? It’s worth a thought or two, at minimum.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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