Feeling much much better after a procedure yesterday to remove fluid accumulating around my lungs. The results of the diagnostic taken from the fluid are available on my Kaiser site, but of course I can't interpret them. So I'm waiting to hear from my doc.
In the meantime I am sorting through books, being fairly ruthless. I'm keeping everything about the history of the Third Reich, critical theory, California and Southwest history, art books, books about orchids and ceramics, some favorite children's classics and novels : things I'm likely to re-read for pleasure or for information and things my daughters might enjoy having. The second hand book store at Volcano will be happy to get some of the priceless treasures I'm disposing of.
Kay, author of the blog "Musings," and her husband Art picked us up at the Kaiser Hospital after the treatment yesterday and treated us to lunch at an excellent Japanese restaurant (Her mother's favorite, she said), took us to their house for dessert and then drove us to the airport. I meet the best people through blogs! Here is a selfie Art took.
It meant a lot to just be with friends. I was delighted to meet Kay's 88 year old mother. She is a wonder! The secret to her health and well being is regular habits and being treated like a queen by Kay and Art!
It is still a small world over here: It turns out that the pulmonologist who looked after me at Kaiser is the brother of Art's sister's best friend! They grew up in Honokaa, which is up the Hamakua Coast from us. He was able to assure me that this doc is top-notch, which I knew anyway from how he handled the rather scary procedure I went through.
This is the kind of experience that makes me feel reluctant to move back to the Mainland. The warmth of the people and respect for elders makes it a lot easier to deal with the vicissitudes of old age, even in the absence of relatives nearby. If we can handle our situation from here we will.
What we have in this country is a two-tier medical system: minimal care for most and deluxe care for a few. People like us are in a messy middle ground, where if we can afford somewhat better services we can get them if we are constantly vigilant. Due to a mixup, I can't get my treatment and diagnostic in Honolulu until Monday. You have to dot every "i" and cross every "t" with medical people. You have to check all their work. You have to do a lot of the work yourself. It becomes a full time job. I don't see how people on their own can manage at all.
My newest motto is, "You aren't dead until you're dead." I'm turning down the designation, "Almost dead," too. People do say odd things. There are, for instance, the ones who like to tell you all the stuff they are doing because they don't have cancer, the fun they are having while you sit there coughing. I'm sure shelf loads of books have been written about the things people say to people with cancer. I'm keeping a file of them. Most everyone has been great, of course, esp. you, my blog followers.
I'm getting the usual runaround that happens when you are trying to get the medical care you need. It is nobody's fault. The whole system is overburdened. Everyone I have encountered is doing the best they can. No need to bore anyone with the details.
We have always known that this could happen to us. By way of preparation we bought a condo in Ballard. It has served us nicely over the years we have had it, and now it is a second home we can retreat to. My daughters will be nearby; they are already helping me get set up with the Kaiser system in Seattle. Since we have done this, I hope to avoid the kind of crisis situations where family members have to drop everything to attend to an ailing parent.
My daughter has been demonstrating in Seattle. Gigantic crowds. The quiet here seems strange, when I look at what's going on in so many other places.
I'm hanging in there. Terry is being very good to me, fixing small meals and letting me rest. I can't exert myself much, because that sets off horrid coughing spells. Just knowing how much people care means a tremendous amount.
On Wed. I have to fly to Honolulu for a biopsy. Kaiser pays for me and Terry has a lot of frequent flyer miles to cover his cost, so he can go along. We will think about the next step after we get the results of the biopsy.
Naturally enough, I'm thinking a lot about the health care system now. I'm wondering if the push to eliminate Affordable Health Care has something to do with the ideology of social Darwinism, the "survival of the fittest." I was reading about a child who has needed very costly surgery and treatments for a congenital heart condition. Would a social Darwinist believe that it was a waste of resources to keep this child alive? The Nazis were always on about improving the breed. Why did they think there was any particular reason for doing this, to what higher purpose? It's because the Nazis thought that with a breed of super humans they could take over the planet. This did not work out. It appears that Trump is a real Nazi with Superman fantasies. How this has much to do with anything real is beside the point, since he is forcing us to live inside his head.
I read a chilling remark on Twitter to the effect that what we have to be watching closely is how the military goes.
Well, it's lung cancer. What I am grateful for is that I have lived my life. I am in good hands and will get the best treatment possible. I am surrounded by people who care about me. No bucket lists: Been there, done that. No great sins to repent of. No regrets over lost loves; those I love are with me now.
“Live all you can; it's a mistake not to. It doesn't so much matter what you do in particular so long as you have your life. If you haven't had that what have you had? … I haven’t done so enough before—and now I'm too old; too old at any rate for what I see. … What one loses one loses; make no mistake about that. … Still, we have the illusion of freedom; therefore don't be, like me, without the memory of that illusion. I was either, at the right time, too stupid or too intelligent to have it; I don’t quite know which. Of course at present I'm a case of reaction against the mistake. … Do what you like so long as you don't make my mistake. For it was a mistake. Live!”