He would have turned 14 next month, but Flaco died before reaching that birthday. His last year of life was the only year he experienced freedom, courtesy of a vandal who shredded the wire mesh of his cage in the Central Park Zoo. Flaco, a Eurasian eagle-owl, was hatched on March 15, 2010, at the Sylvan Heights Bird Park in Scotland Neck, N.C. Less than two months later, he was transferred to the Central Park Zoo. The last year of his life, spent in Manhattan, thrilled New Yorkers and others when they managed to get a glimpse of him perched on terraces and rooftops. Flaco’s body was found yesterday. Apparently, he had struck a building, becoming a victim among the roughly 230,000 birds that die every year when they hit building windows. There’s more to the background and to Flaco’s story, of course. But this synopsis that I created after reading online about Flaco in this morning’s New York Times is enough to remind me that human interest stories sometimes involve humans only tangentially.


A relaxing visit yesterday afternoon by friends was just what my psyche needed. And the visit yielded something else that is highly important: exceptionally tasty cake. Another visit, this afternoon, will provide an additional uplifting emotional infusion. I have not had a great deal of social engagement in recent weeks, thanks to how I have felt (blah) and to cautions that I should avoid being around people too much. I do not know what “too much” is, but I understand the cautions; my immune system is not up to par during my series of chemo-therapy treatments, so I am especially susceptible to potentially troublesome illnesses. I have been to church, off and on, and I have enjoyed restaurant meals on occasion (but I make a point of maintaining as much distance from others as I can). Just being conscious of the concerns has made me keep to myself (with mi novia, of course, and with a few friends). When, I wonder, will visiting with others—without concern—become common again?


Friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief.

~ Marcus Tullius Cicero ~


Another infusion of poisons is scheduled for next Thursday. Though I call the stuff poison only in jest,  the liquids the oncologist and her team infuse into my blood are poisons. By regulating how much and how quickly the stuff is pumped into me, the oncology team controls the degree to which the poisons make me sick and minimizes the likelihood the liquids will kill me. Putting oneself at the mercy of people one does not know well—allowing them to inject deadly poisons into one’s bloodstream—requires trust, confidence, and a little spark of madness.

Assuming a repeat of the process used in recent infusions, some of the drugs given to me next Thursday (and/or the day after) will make me feel alive, alert, and energetic for a couple of days afterward. But, then, I will fall back into day after day after day of fatigue, exhaustion, and what seems almost round-the-clock sleep. I know this. If you have been reading this blog much lately, you know this. So why do I keep repeating it here? I suppose it’s because I am having trouble thinking creatively. Even when I feel reasonably alive and alert, my brain seems to be in something of a fog. Alert? Sort of…but not really…or…hell, I don’t know. It’s after 8:20 in the morning and I still cannot seem to write anything of consequence. I guess it’s just one of those days. Ach!


My sister’s hip replacement went well, I’m glad to say. Interestingly and coincidentally, I lately have had increasing experiences of sudden, sharp but brief pains in what I assume is my right hip. But the pains are not sufficiently frequent, painful, or otherwise meritorious of a doctor’s investigations to warrant anything other than passing mention; and only to myself, though the fact that I am writing on the matter here exposes the issue to perhaps a dozen other people. I’m still unable to think and write. So I will stop. Instead, I will try to play Wordle and the NYT Mini Crossword. If my performance is atrocious in the extreme, I will keep it to myself. If only mediocre, I will keep it to myself. If superb, I may or may not share it. Apparently, my ego is on shaky grounds; I’m a little uncertain today.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to Uncertain

  1. John S Swinburn says:

    Bev, I definitely do have chemo fog, occasionally. Or more often. 😉 I will try to cut myself some slack…

  2. bevwigney says:

    You’re probably experiencing some “chemo fog”. It’s a thing. Most people doing chemo experience at least some if not quite a bit of chemo fog. It can make you forgetful, disorganized, confused, and/or unable to concentrate, etc…. It sort of goes with the territory. If you notice yourself not remembering stuff as well as usual, try keeping more notes. I suspect you probably already do as I’m guessing your a very organized person. Chemo fog might frustrate you more than it would other people who are not as organized. You may have to cut yourself some slack when it comes to staying on top of things.

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