Saturday, March 15, 2014

on the wong-baker scale...a grr

Pros, Cons, and Predictive Product Names

2/ 13/ 14

For the 2012 regular season/ 2013 push for the Chemo Cup, I was on a relatively new drug called Temodar specifically designed to target brain tumors. I finished well but not in first. I got a trophy but who doesn't anymore?

This year, as documented I've been receiving bi-weekly (bi-monthly? every other week? approximately twice a menstrual cycle?) Avastin infusions. Also a relatively new drug designed to target tumor cells in general.

In addition to Avastin, I have been put on CCNU, a relatively old drug, designed for a hodgepodge of cancers. I've only just started CCNU so my experience is limited, but I would still like to give an evaluation based on product pros/ con and a examination of product names.

Temodar > name suggests possession of or at least access to the power of Grayskull > turned out to be pretty rough in terms of nausea, fatigue, and general malaise. Major con: 3 pills (one horse, two pony), 5 days in a row (5 horse, 10 pony, total) once a month. By the end of the year, the psychological association with self-inflicted poisoning almost became too much too bear. Significant pro: tumor stabilized.

Avastin > name suggests command of an important situation: "Avast, you scurvy dog! Stop all this vitamin deficiency. Yargh!" > Minor cons: requires commutes to the clinic, toting my own urine sample from home in a transparent biohazard bag because on-site pressure precludes on-site production, and repeated injections of sizable needles. Decent pros: poison administered by someone else's hand/  IV drip seated on a fairly comfortable reclining chair enjoying complimentary snacks and sodas plus it seems to be helping to stabilize the new tumors.                                        

CCNU > name suggests these just might be the droids you’re looking for and as such might not be capable of stabilizing much more than a stable in need of mucking. Too soon for pros/ cons: TBD then TBA.

Splitting Braids

2/18/ 14

It might not go without saying so, knowing me, I 'd better say it for the record. I think friendly is better than unfriendly most of the time. If you have to have a neighbor you might as well be neighborly about it. Even when the hot apple pies to your door switch to warm piles of Marma-dook on your lawn, it's probably better to smile when you meet at mailboxes than to threaten legal action. Until you should, of course. You’ll know when the time is ripe.

I think kindness is better than unkindness even more so than I think friendly is better than unfriendly. I always suspect the kind to be behaving more sincerely than I grant the friendly to be. And I don't think difference is all that subtle. Amicability can be conjured from a stew of a lifetime's results of trial and error (be it a month's worth or an octogenarian's sampling) – was that hug endearing or just pervy? were my compliments so poignant as to make someone's day or so ceaseless and cloying as to ruin their weekend? On the other hand, kindness is said to be wrought of such stuff as to have killing capabilities--pretty profound by comparison.

So who knows in how many instances it actually does go without saying? And here might be a pitiful effort: which trumped the other or which was more or less fruitless, the kindness or the friendliness, during hale days is a weightier proposition during the withering days.
I see the girl in the clinic-- bald and gaunt and sallow . . . and smiling. A nurse has just wrangled an anemic balloon to the girl's ID band, tying, tangling, untying. It was that nurse's day off. Was. Another holds a cupcake with a candle the girl cannot blow out. That nurse waits patiently, needing to pee, but not so bad; it’s her double day on. The scene is about as sad as one comes, but it seems safe to say the girl will never be this happy again. Such is the shine of that smile. Such is the kindness of nurse one; such is the friendliness of nurse two.

Or is the girl as miserable as ever? Does she wish both would leave--let the helium leak, let oxygen sizzle, let a third nurse come and give her drugs? Are smiles just more expedient than the Wong-Baker Scale of Twisted Faces?

At any rate, now I see myself in the clinic in the reflections of elevator walls, smiling as false in spirit as Joan Rivers in face. Why? I’m tired not just from illness, also, this morning, of smiles in general.  Whose smile in here grates me the most? The friendly man’s smile who chats with all comers and reaffirms the acquaintance with all leavers, who I suspect pushes top-floor buttons in case a promising topic arises or is it the kind woman’s smile whose misery appears be no less deeply furrowed than mine but who lets every punk kid and self-important business man exit before her until she finally just offers to wait for the next Otis.  And she waits. And I’ll probably see her next in the basement, a tad late for her MRI. And hopefully by then I’ll have wiped this bogus smile off my face.

Unless there is some confusion as to my own confusion then I hope I have not made myself clear.

2/ 24 / 14

Given: there are roughly 7 billion people in the world.

Let: P = (the precise # of people in the world).

There are two kinds of people in the world:  1]  (P – 2) = those who would exit a self-checkout line which is situated between an unmanned register station (i.e. immoveable) and a register station “manned” by a gossiping “employee” and a “manager” bagging groceries (i.e. unmoving), cast quick glances around, grin at each other like simpering schoolgirls (i.e. simpering frat boys), grab-up their bags of “hard” lemonade and “hard” cider, shrug, and then proceed to exit the store, leaving their unmanned cart parallel to the wheel-chaired man’s sole point of departure (i.e. impassable) between two unyielding objects.  2]  (P – 2) = those who wouldn't,  just simply wouldn't. Talk about getting worked up! Grr.


“Anybody can get worked up, if you have the intention. It's peacefulness that is hard come by on purpose.” Alice, Pigs in Heaven, Barbara Kingsolver.

Amen notwithstanding. Grr. 

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