A headache sometime in the wee hours further disrupted an already less-than-stellar period of sleep. But the dream that occurred before or after the headache was even more disturbing than the headache. In the dream, I had just stolen a weighty sum of money—in the form of several small but heavy bags of coins—from an organization (no idea what kind) in which I was involved. I was terribly worried that the theft already had been discovered and that a trap was being set by my trusted friends in the organization to catch me. I slipped out of a meeting of the group and went looking for my car in a huge parking lot nearby. I had stashed the coin-filled bags in the trunk. But it was too late; apparently my friends had moved my car—if I went looking for it, that would somehow prove my guilt. My fear was not based on being arrested or jailed; I was terrified that I would be irrevocably judged as unreliable and untrustworthy by people who had placed their confidence in me. I remember wondering what could possibly have possessed me to steal money I did not need. My embarrassment at my dilemma was much more painful than the idea of being detained and arrested. And I was confused; horribly confused that I had committed an unforgiveable transgression for no apparent reason. The dream seems to have dissolved about the time my fears reached their crescendo. I awoke—more or less—with my chest drenched in sweat. I think it took me a few minutes to fully emerge from the dream. Ach! I am not sure I was drenched in sweat; I may have been awash in shame that felt would be impossible to shake off.


Yesterday was another adventure in healthcare deviance. Before my infusion of magnesium, the nurse tending to me discovered that I had a slightly elevated temperature of 100.9°F. That discovery culminated in a series of conversations that led my oncologist sending me to get a lung x-ray, prescribing an oral antibiotic, trying (unsuccessfully) to find an antibiotic to be delivered intravenously, and having me stop at an urgent care clinic to get a COVID and flu test. Apparently, my history of pneumonia, coupled with my chemotherapy, makes me a candidate for potentially dangerous infections—hence the seemingly weird precautions. The urgent care clinic tests were negative. And when they took my temperature, it was its usual 97.9°F. I return for another infusion today. I hope all the excitement is behind me. I will not have to return on Monday; the cancer clinic is taking a total eclipse holiday (probably because traffic is expected to be triple the worst days of race season, or worse). Maybe Tuesday? Or, maybe, my hemoglobin and magnesium will have risen enough to make unplanned/unscheduled clinic visits unnecessary. My optimism is going wild.


For dinner last night, I had about half of a larger-than-average chicken pot pie. I could not finish it, no matter how much I knew I should try. So, I finished it for breakfast this morning. Along with a shot of espresso and an oatmeal-raisin. I might wash it all down in a few minutes with an Ensure or Boost to pump me full of sugar-laden calories. It’s a shame that my newly-embraced and freshly-slimmed-down appetite has stripped musculature from my body, rather than melting away fat. Maybe I should just eat small protein-dense meals, thereby bypassing the problem of losing muscle mass in lieu of losing fat. I think I may have discovered a new approach to diet that, with the right public relations campaign and an endorsement by Dr. Oz, could make me a very rich and deeply flawed human being. My dream illustrated the flaws; all I need now is the money.



About John Swinburn

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