[Dialogue] [Oe List ...] Who Could Have Known . . .?

Judi White via Dialogue dialogue at lists.wedgeblade.net
Wed Oct 28 05:42:56 PDT 2015

Extraordinary Moment as Sun continued its rise
On Oct 25, 2015 7:53 PM, "Gordon Harper via OE" <oe at lists.wedgeblade.net>

> My Troublesome Colleagues --
> I certainly couldn’t have anticipated the cascade of responses that my
> Brief Collegium note turns out to have precipitated.  You have overwhelmed
> me with all your well wishes, memories, reflections, shared experiences,
> suggestions, quotations, music, art--such a cornucopia, an effulgence of
> gifts that could come only from you.
> My first reflection was that what you’d done had left me with a crushing
> burden of guilt.  I felt that each of your thoughtful notes fully
> deserved--and has failed to receive--an equally personal word of
> appreciation from me.  The severe diminution of energy that I’m living with
> simply made that impossible.  This anemic state is the primary physical
> effect I experience from my form of leukemia, the result of  inadequate
> production of red blood cells by my bone marrow.  About all the time I
> could muster for working at my computer was taken by just reading your
> comments and doing triage on the numerous other message headers.
> This note, therefore, began as an excuse for that extended dereliction on
> my part and an attempt to express the heartfelt gratitude I have for each
> one of your responses. Each has been such a rich gift.  I truly experience
> being enclosed by your circle of love and support, as well as by that of
> the cosmos itself. I found myself thinking that it was a good thing how
> frequently  in our previous life we rehearsed that accountability had
> always to be followed by absolution.  (Of course I also recall that it had
> to be pronounced by someone other than yourself.)
> In the course of my writing this, however, I’ve had a second reflection.
> I now recognize that I quite misconstrued the actual nature of your
> responses. They are of an entirely different order than personal notes
> expecting individual replies.  Indeed, they are much more akin to the word
> we addressed to one another on the occasion of our birthday celebrations.
> We were expected, you will recall, to simply stand before the community and
> receive that word--no thank you, corrections or rebuttal permitted--we just
> had to allow our lives to be addressed in this way as an important part of
> celebrating our unique being.  (Now, how’s that for creatively offloading
> the aforementioned burden of guilt?!)
> -----------------------
> A brief update on our situation at this moment.  By now, Roxana and I have
> handled the end of life paperwork and had good conversations with our kids
> over the week they spent with us, in which they got to ask many of the
> questions they’d always wanted time to explore.  Some of this was video
> recorded for the grandchildren as well.
> In terms of the dance that this rare and unfamiliar form of  leukemia
> (CMML) and I are doing, things seem to have leveled out a bit, at least for
> the moment.  I’ve now shed about thirty pounds, am just below what the
> statisticians calculate to be my ideal weight and am approaching where I
> tipped the scale upon returning from India for Joe’s funeral, while still
> recovering from my bout with hepatitis.  The only form of treatment we’re
> doing is the red blood transfusions (two so far), which seem to give my
> tired blood a bit of a boost.  My doctor and I are seeking to learn how
> long we can extend the time between these (currently appears to be five or
> six weeks), since at some point we know they will cease to be effective.
> We’re not trying to fight the disease, rather learn from it and work with
> it.  I’ve come to call this period of time since the diagnosis,
> Extraordinary Time (I think we used that term, in distinction to Ordinary
> Time, but I can no longer recall in what context).  I’m particularly
> grateful for the work we did to explore and experiment with shifting our
> living patterns and time designs, discovering how fluid time can be.  This
> has helped me to shape my days and nights into modules of roughly three
> hours each (shades of the Canonical Hours).
> When I finish a rest and restoration module (generally about two hours), I
> have a bit over three hours to use as creatively as possible before I need
> to go down again.  These social modules are the occasions when Roxana and I
> schedule routine tasks, clinic visits, mealtimes, checking email, drop-ins
> from our local friends and the somewhat rare outside excursion that we
> hazard to places like church or the supermarket.  At the start of one of
> these modules,I experience my highest level of energy; approaching the end
> of the three hours, my tank has run dry and I am visibly dragging.
> Surprising how natural and manageable this pattern has become.  We keep
> our friends’ visits to under an hour, but during that time I am relatively
> perky, even moderately civil with our guests.  I have trouble sleeping
> through the night, so somewhere between  2 and 5 am I regularly get up and
> do my daily stretch exercises, read, meditate and listen to classical music.
> I’m not in pain, beyond the normal aches and twitches for my age.  Roxana
> and I have explored how our health care insurance handles palliative care,
> hospice service and even death with dignity (legal in WA state), for
> possible future reference.  We suspect that hospice is the one we’ll draw
> on when this chronic state leukemia makes its anticipated transition to the
> acute form.
> Roxana continues to be my caretaker nonpareil.  In addition to ensuring
> that I make and get to clinic appointments, accommodating my strange time
> designs and catering to some equally strange requests for foods that I come
> up with, she facilitates the phone calls with friends wanting updates or
> opportunities to come by.  She somehow manages to find times for these that
> work for me and keeps my calendar current.  When family members or close
> friends ask to stay with us (our living room hideabed has been surprisingly
> in use these past weeks), she plays Wayside Inn host to our guests with a
> flourish.  Our Order community here in the Northwest also continues to be
> most supportive, even providing the meals when our kids were here with us.
> Vanity, as we know, never dies.  I’ve indulged myself in a striking
> rosewood cane, which I can use when I go out, either as a sophisticated *New
> Yorker* walking stick (when I’m at peak energy) or as something to help
> keep my shaky balance when the tank is drying up.  To facilitate streaming
> my favorite classical music station (WFMT Chicago, of course), you will
> find me sporting a new BOSE wireless headphone that provides exceptional
> sound reproduction.  Last week, our 27 inch analog TV went to Goodwill, and
> a 40 inch flat screen replacement appeared in its place. Finally, I do
> always try to comb my hair and beard when I’m going to be on a Skype call
> with one of you.
> Even with limited mobility, it seems I’m still capable of causing a little
> trouble.  Just recently, Bill and Sheila Westre dropped in, and Bill asked
> if I could help him with some technical support for a proposed direct
> action to wean one of our providers of electrical power here in the
> Northwest off its use of coal generated power.  I was able to connect him
> with one of my most knowledgeable Occupy Movement colleagues, who just
> happens to have written the book on that particular technology.  (So far,
> no word of any arrests in the Seattle paper.)
> --------------------------
> I hope this provides a vignette of where things stand at present.  We’re
> trying to take each day as a special gift, I’m practicing mindfulness of
> the given moment and rendering up each day to the Mystery at its
> conclusion.
> Roxana and I deeply appreciate all that you’ve done to make this
> Extraordinary Time the blessing it is for both of us --
> Gordon
> _______________________________________________
> OE mailing list
> OE at lists.wedgeblade.net
> http://lists.wedgeblade.net/listinfo.cgi/oe-wedgeblade.net
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