My Desire Clashes with my Political Reasoning

Yesterday’s chemo treatment went well until the infusion of carboplatin. Not long after the infusion started, I began to have difficulty breathing—not terrible, but noticeable. But with each passing minute, it seemed to get more difficult. I started coughing occasionally; the coughing got worse. A nurse noticed the cough and asked it I needed something to drink. I said I did. She brought me water. The difficult breathing continued to worsen. Finally, I decided I needed help. Just then, one of the nurses asked if something was wrong. “I’m having trouble breathing,” I managed to say between short breaths. Suddenly, a crowd of nurses and my oncologist were standing around me. A nurse put a blood pressure cuff around my upper arm; I do not remember the readings, but I think they were either quite low or quite high. (I know, I should have recorded all this, but I simply did not think to do it…and later I just zoned out.) Someone slipped a pulse oximeter on one of my fingers. It registered 88%, a full 10%+ drop from my usual reading. Someone else hung a new drip bag on the IV stand and connected it to the cannula. Suddenly, the area around the IV insertion point on my left hand began to burn like hell and my wrist and hand, especially my palm, turned red. As these things were happening, the nurses and doctor explained what was going on. The IV fluid was, if I remember correctly, an antihistamine. The burning sensation was normal and would quickly recede. The pulse oximeter reading began to climb. It quickly reached 97%. Before long, I felt normal…as normal as possible as I normally feel sitting in a chemo infusion room full of extremely sick people and highly-focused nurses and doctors. I asked one of the nurses (who I think was a senior level person) whether I would get IV carboplatin. “No,” she said, “you will never get carboplatin again. After an allergic reaction like this, you will never be given carboplatin.” I asked her what might be given in its place. She said it might be another chemo drug or it might be nothing at all. That would be up to my oncologist (who, by then, had left to tend to other patients). Inasmuch as that was the last infusion for the treatment, a nurse flushed the cannula, removed the tape, needle (or whatever), etc. and sent me on my way. From the time I arrived for my appointment (first, a blood draw, then a visit with my oncologist, then the chemo treatment), four hours had passed. It was a very long day. I then came home, had a sandwich mi novia bought for me at Newk’s, and took a nap…which lasted until almost 5 this morning, when I got up. Apparently, the events of the day took it out of me. Today, my only obligation is to go to the ancillary office for Genesis Cancer Center Hot Springs Village, where I’ll get a post-treatment shot to ward off infections, etc. Because I was given steroids as part of the chemo regimen, my blood sugar increased considerably. And because of that infusion, I’ll probably be energetic today and maybe tomorrow. And then I will be exhausted, fatigued, completely worn out for at least a week…unless the after-effects are different from the last infusion treatment. While I was in the examination room before the treatment, I asked the cancer-specialist APRN whether my post-chemo immunotherapy treatments would be by infusions and whether they would be schedule to take place every three weeks, like the chemo. The answers were yes and yes. So, for two years after the chemo, I’ll follow essentially the same routine. Except the chemo after-effects will not take place (cheers and happy faces). This all assumes the chemo does its intended job. And I am counting on it doing it and doing it well. The APRN said, and I believe her, a positive attitude really does dramatically improve the effects of chemo. I’m counting on it.


I encountered a term this morning while reading an opinion piece on The term: bête noire. According to Oxford English Dictionary, the definition is: “A person or thing that is the bane of a person or his or her life; an insufferable person or thing; an object of aversion.” Not only did I come upon a new term, I found a term that describes something, if it happens, I find deeply offensive—but fundamentally right and legitimate. And I find that conundrum a bête noire itself.

The term was used by the author in the context of compromises crafted by the Supreme Court that kept the court in high esteem not only because it was necessarily right, but because the perception was that it was acting responsibility. The author referred to previous decisions of the court that, he believes, may serve as models of the court’s likely (in his view) decision in the case before it (whether the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision that Trump is ineligible to be on the ballot on the upcoming presidential primary).

According to the author, the lines of questioning presented by the justices strongly suggests that they will rule in favor of Trump, arguing that the Supreme Court reasons that it does not have to decide whether he engaged in insurrection. Instead, the author believes the justices appear to focus on whether the Colorado Supreme Court can or cannot make that decision; and it seems they believe it cannot. I will not attempt in any more detail to explain what the author believes is the court’s political rationale behind its likely (in his view) decision.

I want—deeply in my heart of hearts—the Supreme Court to rule against Trump. I want his name stricken from all future presidential ballots. But, despite that desire, and after far too much consideration of the matter, I think the Colorado Supreme Court is not the body to make that determination; I think the U.S. Supreme Court may be the correct body. But it is not being asked to make that call—yet. It is being asked only if a state court can do so. And I think a state court cannot make the final call on a U.S. constitutional issue.

The legitimacy of the court’s right to make the call was not my original disagreement with the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling. My original disagreement was this: Trump has not yet been found guilty—conclusively, after all appeals—in court of engaging in insurrection. If I understand the Colorado court’s rationale for its decision, it was based on its assumption of his guilt, relying on a district court’s ruling. Apparently (from what I have read—and my reading of the very, very, very long series of legal ruling is admittedly incomplete), his guilt or innocence is not an issue with the Supreme Court. The justices’ questions suggest they find the matter of what body makes the call to invoke Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution to be a (maybe the) key issue.

Looking back at my initial reaction to the Colorado court’s decision, I both celebrated it and worried about it. My worry clung to an issue that may, in fact, be a non-issue; his guilt or innocence (his guilt is certain in my view, but not yet decided with any finality in court…which must ultimately be decided if we can legitimately have faith in our system of justice). Who makes the call? The 14th Amendment, like so much of the Constitution, is insufficiently clear on so many issues. I wish, every time the Supreme Court clarifies something vague in the original document, the court had (and executed) the power to revise the document accordingly. But, of court, that would be a mess. And the “originalists” would scream bloody murder (unless, of course, the clarification supported their interpretation of the original meaning).

I sometimes hate being inclined to listen to arguments on both sides of and issue and to be swayed by arguments that oppose my desired interpretation of those issues. But that is a necessary element of democracy, I suppose. Democracy is monstrously messy. It clutters the mind. Even when the system of governance we call democracy is not really democracy.

This bothersome mess is another reason I want to live on a secluded—almost impossible to reach except for supply planes dropping well-packed boxes full of materials to meet my every demand—cabin (more like a very roomy, well-appointed, Frank Lloyd Wright-adherent-architect-designed house). Where do I really live? In a fantasy world.


I expected to feel extremely energetic this morning. And I did. For a while. But it’s not yet 7 and I feel very sleepy. Even after around 12 hours of sleep, with only a few interruptions to get up to pee, I am ready for some more sleep. Even after yesterday’s steroid infusion.  I’m sure the energy will kick in before long. Soon enough to have breakfast? I hope.


About John Swinburn

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