Afternoon Text to Carole

[Cut & paste]

So you will probably get away about on time this afternoon? Dogs are mellow still but I’m a little bored. Sleepy all day until an hour ago but have finally woke up a bit. Each night for the last three I have slept a little more normally. [When abnormal, sleep takes the form of shallow half-hour flashes with golden light around the edges.]

Remote Stations Checking In

When I wake in the morning I sometimes feel like some mid-level colonial bureaucrat from the middle of the 19th century coming into the office to check the communications from the provinces. I read them & hand them back to the clerk, who then either burns or files them as appropriate. So far, nothing needs to be sent up to the level of the ministry. What one wants, of course, is a morning without uprisings & certainly without revolutions. The reports are good this morning–which is to say there are no real reports–just the little scratchings of rumor & innuendo. Furthermore, there are no meetings or conferences scheduled until next week, when more information will become available.


What’s the line between discomfort & pain? I’ve had a sort of bellyache all day that’s made me feel depressed, but it only developed into pain later in the day, at which point I took medication for it. My oncologist says I have a high tolerance for pain (though she probably says that to all the old guys), but the pain I’ve been dealing with lately seems mostly manageable with extended release morphine twice a day. I never know quite whether I should take the short-acting Oxycontin when I feel twinges of extra pain. I guess what I’m trying to sense as accurately as I can the difference between chronic & acute pain. Not that one should feel the need to tolerate chronic pain for moral reasons. How far, then, does one go in treating chronic discomfort? Existing is suffering & all that. There are reasons for not numbing one’s self out, but there are also reasons for not allowing one’s mind to be filled with the distractions & fear of pain. Admittedly, I’m anticipating a time when my pain will certainly be greater. I want to know how best to navigate that coming landscape, which is why I’ve been going over the maps ahead of time.

Bits & Pieces

. . . of the body deteriorating in the most minor ways. Left eye chronically waters, but is it just age or the disease? Same goes for a twitch in the neck, a secondary ringing in my right ear. What’s normal? What’s extraordinary? What’s acute & what steady state decline? Does sorting all this out make any difference? It’s a way of being alert, I suppose.