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2001: The Viagra Years
Tuesday May 22, 2001
I did not go to the hospital to visit pops today. However, I did call and leave a message for the urologist. Hopefully, I'll be able to an idea of what is really going on. I don't expect to hear any good news. From what I can piece together, pops has already gone through radiation therapy and chemotherapy. He had waived the surgical option in favor of the latter and former. The non-surgical treatments were obviously ineffective. Thus, pops may be correct in assuming that there are no options left.
I have kept a clear head about the whole situation. I am almost numb and, therefore, wonder whether I am really even affected or not. Pops is alive, and I am not going to view him as terminally ill. I believe that he deserves that consideration. In his last days, he will suffer greatly. That I am certain of. I will do what I must to prepare for the eventuality. However, until that day comes, I will not deliver an early eulogy.
Wednesday May 23
Mark and I met for lunch at the Paradise Café. After lunch, I walked to the hospital. Pops was sitting up in a chair when I arrived. He seemed to be doing much better. The doctor had been by earlier, but not much was discussed. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are to be the only options. If pops decides to go with either treatment, then it will commence after he returns to Hilo. Although he was in a better spirits, pops reiterated that he didn't want to live in pain. He is still certain that the disease is terminal. I could not provide a reasonable argument, nor did I try. I did ask about the circumstance surrounding the first round of treatments last year. Pops recalled that the surgical removal of his bladder was an option at the time. Somehow there was some confusion as pops had just gone through surgery. This could be where the fatal error occurred which led up to the current situation. In the end, I still fail to understand why his bladder wasn't removed this time, if it was cancerous.
Pops also told me an interesting story about the small orange tree in the backyard. One of the limbs of the tree became diseased about the same time that pops had his first bout with colon cancer. The tree was in bad shape but moms removed the diseased limb and it recovered. This happened just about the time pops recovered. Last year, the same thing happened about the time that pops had a relapse. I remember that the tree was looking bad. Moms was going to cut it down. However, she removed the diseased limb and the tree is now recovering just fine. Pops asked how the tree was doing. I told him that it was doing good and that it was bearing quite a bit of fruit. In fact, moms had brought one of the oranges when she visited on Monday. I didn't exaggerate about the fruit. The tree produces an amazing quantity of large, tasty oranges even though it is a small tree. That, in and of itself, seemed to have sparked some hope within pops.
The nurses came in to move pops onto the bed. I decided to say good-bye at that point. I walked to the lobby and waited for the elevator. When the elevator doors opened, I was surprised to see my bro. It was an awkward moment, to say the least. However, we engaged in a conversation that lasted for about 30 minutes. There wasn't a lot of time as my bro had less than an hour before he had to be somewhere else, so we briefly touched on a few of the issues that came between us two years ago. My bro placed the blame squarely on the handmaiden. Nonetheless, I believe that we have begun the process of "mending fences." The sheer chance encounter has probably changed the course of history. I knew that a family tragedy would be the catalyst for such an encounter, but I had envisioned it to occur after critical mass had been reached. Somehow, a guiding force has opened up an opportunity that cannot be taken for granted. My bro has visited pops every day. He has been trying hard to restore pops' will to live. I am not sure but I have a feeling that the disposition of the orange tree had the most profound effect so far.
There were no miracles today. Certainly nothing to turn into a made-for-the-tube production. However, I have seen some truth to the old adage about good things resulting from bad situations. I am coming to grips with my own differences with pops and how foolish it was to have entertained them for so long. My bro and I have been given a second chance to restore a damaged relationship that will prove important in the distant future. These are blessings which have been obscured by a tragic event. I have chosen to recognize them. They are the rewards of life and living — the ones many of us fail to see, or just take for granted. Who knows? Maybe a miracle is just around the corner.
Thursday May 24
"You make me so happy," the young ho' confided between sobs. For the last two nights, the young ho' and her boytoy have been engaged in late night disagreements. I'm not sure whether da wild thing preceded the turmoil. And, I'm not sure how homeboy makes her happy. Hanging out and smoking in the lolo's driveway or doing the Horizontal Mambo on the concrete slab of the carport doesn't sound like a lot of fun to me. If they aren't boffing, they are yelling at each other. Say, that sounds familiar, doesn't it? After homeboy stormed off, all was quiet. At 2:30am, I heard a car pull up to the driveway of the House of Lolo. No one got out of the car. The engine was idling for about 15 minutes before the mystery driver shut it off. I looked out the window and saw "JPD 838" on the license plates. The car looked like a pimped-out Honda Civic. About an hour later, the loser started up the car and drove off. I suspect that homeboy sent one of his turds to play gangsta and keep an eye on baby.
The whole problem seems to be that the young ho' had illicitly done da wild thing with at least two other guys. Yet, he had also admitted to infidelity of his own accord. [See entry of February 20th for more details] The real problem is that he cannot get over it. It must be driving him close to insanity. Infidelity is often intolerable to most guys, even though they may be major perpetrators themselves. On face value, it seems like a double standard. Upon closer scrutiny, we find that the crux of the problem is how the Vienna Sausage is revered as something sacred by most guys. The Vienna Sausage is almost an entity of itself. No other guy's Vienna Sausage can compare to one's own. The act of infidelity is inconsequential. It is the act of defaming the Vienna Sausage by substituting one of "inferior" quality. That's intolerable. Babes don't understand that the issue is not one of jealousy. The real issue is sacrilege.
My bro brought up the handmaiden in our discussion yesterday. He blamed almost everything on her, but curiously avoided pointing the finger at me. The picture that he painted about life in moms' house before the handmaiden and I moved here from the mainland was not even close to what I observed. It was far from idyllic. I will not pursue the easiest course of using the handmaiden as a scapegoat. That would be too easy, but it is not a viable solution. Those who have read the [UJ] archive know full well that the nefarious handmaiden was capable of extreme "mischief." However, the handmaiden is past history. She has returned to fully serve her master, the sinister kahuna.
I have the whole week off starting with Memorial Day. I hope that I won't need to go downtown. I've still got a lot of preparations to make for my Summer math class. With proper discipline, I can accomplish those tasks at home. Pops should be back in Hilo by then. There are some new twists to the plot of this story. Let us hope that all will turn out for the best.
Out of Touch
There are times that I feel overcome by grief that my time with my parents is short. Yet, there are other times that I believe that it best that the old generation comes to a close. We are experiencing an interesting clash of generations. The people in my parents' age group are completely out of touch with reality. Moms is an even more extreme case. Moms is still living in the 1920s. As you may have read in the journal, there are countless oddities and quirks that I've often associated with psychopathology. Of course, in the general scheme of things, it's called the "island mentality." The daily influx of new immigrants from third world countries tends to perpetuate the backwards thinking and the generational clashes. It's almost like watching Groundhog's Day over and over again.
Pops is much more contemporary because he traveled extensively after retiring. He also reads a lot and watches the tube. Moms has never left Hawai'i. Not ever possessing a driver's license has limited her travels to the various bus routes. There is no tube in the house. Moms reads a lot, but it is only literature produced and approved by the church. Our discussions are limited because none of it interests moms. Even when it comes to situations which could become tragic, moms is quick to dismiss it with, "It's none of our business." Other responses only reflect the voice of the church (e.g., "This is the time of the end," or "We are living in the Last Days."). In matters that are my own responsibility, moms reminds me to the point of pestering. This is common in our local family structure. Emotional support is not an option as was my case when I was foolishly grieving over the handmaiden. I see the ramifications of these familial policies in the form of the young ho' and a whole brethren like her.
The old-style patriarchal cultures still flourish here in Hawai'i. Even people of my generation retain much of the same characteristics which I have described. Confined to a small island does not help matters. Rather, it's an incubation center for retro-thinking. The problem at the House of Lolo is much easier understood when the retro-thinking model is superimposed upon the process. I oftentimes wonder what I would be doing today if I had not made the fateful decision to go to the mainland. I've learned to acquire knowledge. I don't blindly believe in things just on faith alone. For example, I've discovered that many religious truths do have empirical, scientific, and historical antecedents. One of my favorite verses is from the Book of Ecclesiastes, "He that increases knowledge increases pain." It is, however, better to live in mental anguish than in ignorance.
Friday May 25
Another "quickie" in the carport. The young ho' and her boytoy were doin' da wild thing again last night. That's what keeps him coming back. It's amazing to see what most guys would do just to get some nookie. It's like an addiction. Heck, it is an addiction! Even though I am a monk, I oftentimes desire to do da wild thing with babes. I'd like to do da wild thing every day, all day long. Sheesh!
There's a new babe who works at the front desk at the Asylum. My mind has been playing tricks on me ever since I noticed her. This is the kind of weakness that can bring a monk down faster than an anvil dropped off a cliff. I share these weaknesses in the journal to show how easy it is to be ensnared by debauchery and temptation. As I've said many times, the Vienna Sausage will be a guy's demise. I have reinstated the eunuch-like behavior and the Data-like personality. I have it practically down to a science now. That's why it is so easy for me to remain a monk. One only gets into trouble when one looks for it. Most guys who claim to be losers are only in that predicament because they choose to be. They may say that they want babes, but their actions (or lack of action) betray them. The justification? "I'm a loser, so why even bother?" is what I am told. Or, they chose babes they can never have. Yep, I may want Brianna Banks (at left) real bad, but the likelihood that I'll be doing the nasty with her anytime soon is nil. It's hard to feel good about being a so-called "loser" unless there is justifiable cause. Being a monk provides such a cause because it is a spiritual endeavor. It is far better than sitting at home and chokin' da chicken or watching the tube, all the while feeling sorry for oneself.
I visited pops again today. He is being prepared to be discharged, probably sometime this weekend. In my conversations with pops, I am coming to the realization that something is not quite right with what I'm hearing. There is a congruence problem. I'm not certain whether pops was misinformed or he misunderstood what his urologist in Hilo had said when the options for treatment were given. As pops described the chemotherapy treatment, I began to suspect the doctor. Pops explained that the initial treatments were not effective, so he was given what sounded like high-dosage chemotherapy. The side effects included general nausea and numbness in his legs. He couldn't walk for several days. In my own research, I've found that high-dosage chemotherapy is considered somewhat experimental. However, there has been no evidence concerning its efficacy over conventional dosages. This, of course, is the reason that pops has decided that he will not go through chemotherapy again.
I find this interesting since the cancerous bladder was not removed. If is is malignant and is the cause of severe pain, why is it still there? The urologist (assigned to pops at the hospital) has told pops that he will perform cystoscopy and cauterize the tumor that is causing the pain and bleeding. After that, pops has the choice of continuing with chemotherapy (of which he has decided to decline). I am not exactly certain about what is going on. If the cancer is too far gone, or malignant, then why bother? I have done some initial research on the Net. I have printed out some materials for pops to read so that he can better base his decisions. The Pidgin-English language barrier may be at the root of the problem. I believe that I should have been involved in this process. A series of simple misinterpretations may end up being the cause of pops' demise.
Saturday May 26
I was awakened by a car "burning rubber" in the cul de sac at 3 o' clock this morning. Someone in the car was also yelling obscenities. Who was that meant for? I am certain that I will be allocating some funds to purchase a "nine" within the next year or so. I'm tired of these "junior mafia" games perpetrated by these punks. It's a known fact that they will be armed with guns soon, if not already. The Nova Spirit will be of no use.
I lapsed in and out of a coma all day. I can't seem to bring myself to do anything productive. I have only three weeks to prepare for my debut as a math pseudo-professor. What am I doing? I sent off my car insurance payment today. I have driven my six-four less than 50 miles since the beginning of the year. It just doesn't make sense for me to own a vehicle. This is how my lifestyle has changed. I only seem to need my computer, but even that may be unnecessary. As long as I'm at the Asylum or the university, I have access to better computers and fast connections. All I really need is a bus pass. Sheesh!
Sunday May 27
I unboxed my Bose Acoustic Wave so that I could spend the day listening to the psychotic classical pieces on public radio. I reminisced about all of the various audio equipment that I've owned since the beginning of time. I spent a lot of dough on that junk. The Bose Acoustic Wave is the last piece of audio equipment that I will ever own. It is still the most amazing audio system I have seen and heard. How does Dr. Bose get that kind of bass out of the single four-incher? Truly amazing!
The weekend has been fairly quiet. The ugly ho' must have gone somewhere and took the young skank ho' with her. Several of the other neighbors are also conspicuously absent. That's okay. Perhaps my nerves will have a chance to settle down. Once again, I've done absolutely nothing. Who cares? I have got the week off, so I'll relax and get busy later. Tonight, I plan to listen to Hearts of Space and really relax. I'm listening to a Gabriela Anders CD as we speak. It's pretty good, and she's also quite a babe. It's a good thing that I'm a monk. I'm only concerned about the quality of the music. Sheesh!
Monday May 28
I believe that I crossed the fine line over into insanity today. The heat. The Bose Acoustic Wave. Sheer boredom. Resin chair. Psychotic classical pieces on public radio. Time running out before my debut as a math pseudo-professor. Thinking and thinking about the same old crap. I'm totally disillusioned. I have no idea why I exist. I do my time as a wage slave, but for no apparent reason. I made the discovery that I don't even need a computer anymore. If my beloved Fujitsu notebook computer could last ten more years, than I'll be content. I don't want another Windows computer. I'm tired of playing the Windows game, what with XP and all. I'm seriously looking at the new Apple iBook computers now. And, even then, what's the purpose?
Something about what my bro told me the other day is making no sense. He placed all of the blame about what happened over two years ago entirely upon the handmaiden. He also said that he was going to put a "contract" out on the handmaiden. The allegations concerning the handmaiden's machinations were suspect. My bro detailed how the handmaiden had made life miserable for everyone. The real interesting part is that I knew for a fact that nothing he told me was true. I had done everything in my power to make sure that neither the handmaiden or I interfered with their family dynamics. We did this at considerable sacrifice. The complaints my bro offered were the same complaints that the handmaiden had told me were happening to her. Of course, I was never around when any of these incidents transpired. In all honesty, I believe the handmaiden. I don't believe that my bro is lying.
Who is the real mastermind? I have to use the term loosely because the individual in question is really a brain donor. However, it all makes sense and it still boils down to the disposition of moms' house in the future. I am locked in a virtual prison of stupidity. I can't seem to get out. And, I am a slave to my various possessions. As I pulled myself out of the vortex of materialism, I went through a derealization that left me without an identity. That only leaves me with my biological processes. Well, I'm not doin' da wild thing with babes like Brianna Banks. I am merely a monk. Nothing more, nothing less. Who the hell am I?
Tuesday May 29
I spent most of the morning doing absolutely nothing useful. I was in the Asylum's library. I searched the Net for a few hours to see if I could find material already prepared for my math class. Zilch. I was feeling a little blasé to begin with, most likely from all of the thinking I've been doing lately. I was really in a bad way. It wasn't until I went to the gym that I felt better. Even a mediocre workout is better than nothing. Finally, by late afternoon, I decided that I had no choice but to develop my own material. So, I started to put together a math presentation using PowerPoint. This will be a very involved project but I believe that it will make the class much more interesting. Heck, I'm a Computer Science pseudo-professor and computer nerd. I might as well make use of the resources that are available.
Since I took a later street bus to town, I had quite a bit of time to relax and enjoy my cup of coffee. Somehow, I thought of Uncle Mike. Perhaps, it's because of Memorial Day. Uncle Mike is buried in Punchbowl National Cemetery, near the memorial. Remember when the handmaiden and I embarked on an adventure to find Uncle Mike's location? There are a lot of similarities between Uncle Mike and myself. In fact, Uncle Mike was a hermit at one point in his life. He lived in a shack on the Big Island. Moms and I had gone to visit him once when I was very young. I was always in awe of Uncle Mike since then. Perhaps that is why I have become a monk.
I had a brief chat with the front desk babe at the Asylum as we both waited for the elevator. My mind was starting to play tricks on me. Fortunately, I was able to see the folly of my ways. Flirting with danger is something that I don't particularly care to do. "Stay away from [babes]. They are all dangerous." The words of my buddy Bud always reverberate in my head when I am in the danger zone.
Wednesday May 30
I left at the same time with moms this morning. Moms got off at Kahala Mall, but I continued on to town. Moms has not been feeling good at all. Whenever moms is under the weather, I worry a lot. I spent most of the day working on my presentation material. It is taking me a long time to put just one chapter together. I have seven more chapters to go. Why did I put myself in this predicament? I could have had the afternoons off all Summer. Sure, I would have been short on dough, but peace of mind was more important.
I must admit that I'm going through a period of frustration and guilt. I've been thinking about babes. Naturally, all of this began when I noticed the front desk babe at the Asylum. It's hard not to notice the babes because they are everywhere. I have no idea why I'm wasting even an iota of time in contemplating the babe situation. I am not a babe magnet. I am the same loser that I was when I founded LoserNet. Nothing has changed.
Even worse than the contemplation of babes is the temptation to buy a new computer. I have no idea why I am wasting my time with this fruitless activity. I am convinced that I need either the new Apple iBook ($1,500) or PowerBook G4 ($2,600) computer. Mind you, I don't have any software that runs on it. My other toys can't interface with either model because none have USB ports. Yet, I can't see myself buying another Windows computer. The real quandary is why I am contemplating this matter since I had already decided that the Fujitsu would suffice for a few more years. I'll have to investigate this situation much more fully. For one thing, I need decent (read: free) Web publishing software, just like what I use on my beloved Fujitsu notebook computer. Of course, if I finally mummify the LoserNet site, then I won't have to worry about that. Sheesh!
I ran into Pseudo-professor Robert yesterday. Everything seems okay. He's still a pseudo-professor, so the Dean didn't give him the ax. Otherwise, I've been laying low. I've got to get my work done, or I'll be in deep crap.
Thursday May 31
Apparently quite a few other people are interested in the new Apple iBook. No one seems to have it in stock. Perhaps I'm not the only one who is sick of the Windows scam. The iBook is a good value, from what I can tell. I hope that someone will have it in stock when I finally decide to purchase one. That could be a while from now. I may, of course, give in and buy another Windows computer. I shudder to think about it.
I spent all day on my math PowerPoint presentations. I've put a lot of effort into the project given that I may never facilitate the class again. I have been using the computers at the Asylum's library. The library is on the third floor of the same building that the rest of the campus resides. The offices and classrooms are on the fourth floor. I go up to the fourth floor regularly to refill my coffee. The coffee machine is accessible only by walking past the front desk. Of course, the front desk babe is sitting at the front desk. Baby was looking particularly ravishing today. I'm beginning to suspect that the only reason I keep refilling my coffee is because of the front desk babe. The coffee isn't good. It tastes like dirt-flavored hot water. In realizing that my motives are suspect, I limited my coffee consumption today.
Later, after I returned from the gym, I was on the phone in the Asylum's library. I was calling CompUSA to see if the iBook computers were in stock, if you can believe it. For some strange reason, the front desk babe was outside the glass doors by the elevators. She looked through the glass door into the library and smiled. I have no idea why she was on the third floor. She never came into the library.
The whole situation has made me look back at the conversation that I had with Pseudo-professor Robert a few weeks ago. I may be reading between the lines, but I'm sure that I know what he's going through. There are a lot of drop-dead gorgeous local babes. Their boytoys are security guards, fast food workers, unemployed losers, and the like. No surprise. I am sure that Pseudo-professor Robert must be wondering why this could be. Here he is — an Ivy League graduate, an attorney, a pseudo-professor — and he has zilch. Of course, I already know the answer to the problem. I've seen it over and over again. I used to wonder about that crap before I became a monk. Self-proclaimed losers incorporate some of the same principles of the eunuch-like behavior and the Data-like personality in their lives, whether they realize it or not.
All babes are much more unsure of themselves than most guys. However, they are the ones who do the choosing. The are able to deflect their own uncertainties and channel it into the selection process. Therefore, they will look for all the qualities that they themselves lack. The romantic ideal is a notion that is ingrained through social engineering (usually through music and excessive tube-watching). Even the most moronic of guys can figure out the script to properly woo the babes. Guys who second guess their motives, or attempt to be "above it all" usually end up chokin' da chicken. To succeed at this game requires a full-on troglodyte mentality. There can be no analysis or backpeddling. Remember when I discussed "search and destroy"? I've seen it in action. I know how it works.
Moms has not been feeling well for a few days. However, moms does not want to see a doctor. "The doctors nowadays are not the same," moms told me. I'm not going to argue, but I can see the problem getting worse the longer it is ignored. Moms has been trying all kinds of home remedies and taking a few over-the-counter medications. Nothing is working. What more can I do?
Friday June 1
An uneventful day, at best. I was in a bad way for some reason. Could it be the pain in my stiff neck which I have endured for three days now? Could it be my mind which is ready to snap at any moment? Could it be all of the idiots walking around like zombies in town? Or, could it be the fact that I do not own an Apple iBook (or PowerBook G4) yet? Perhaps everything is getting to me. Fortunately, the faculty computer room at the university was made available again this afternoon. Pseudo-professor Ralph was there. He gave me the results of the Myers-Briggs test. I'm now an INTP, whereas I used to be an INTJ. Strange things.
Pseduo-professor Robert also showed up. He was in good spirits. The personnel shuffling in his department has been to his advantage. He has much more security than I do at this point in time. He is also sold on the Sony VAIO notebooks, although I'm now skeptical of them because of the mediocre internal video card. Of course, anything would be an improvement over the NeoMagic video card with a whopping 1MB of video RAM in my beloved Fujitsu notebook computer. Oddly, the Fujitsu has pretty good video performance.
I immediately unboxed my Bose Acoustic Wave when I returned home. I should have just stayed at home and listened to the psychotic classical pieces on public radio. My little vacation is over. I'll be returning to the salt mines next week, although I have spent most of this week in the salt mines anyway. Sheesh! Little wonder why I'm losin' it!
Saturday June 2
I lapsed in and out of a coma for most of the day. The psychotic classical pieces on public radio were soothing to the ears for once. My bro came by at 2 'o clock. He delivered a check to moms from pops. I persuaded my bro to stay. We ended up talking and droppin' back a 12-pack of Beck's brewskis until the wee hours of the morning. My bro has been out of work for about two months. This is not uncommon given the economy of Hawai'i. Fortunately, he has been able to collect unemployment. I got to see his new truck. In actuality, it is three years old and he got a pretty good deal on it with the trade-in of his old car. I am glad that we had this time to bond and catch up.
Pops is apparently still in the hospital due to some minor complications. He is to be discharged tomorrow, if all goes well. He will then stay in Honolulu for a couple more days before going back to Hilo. I did not visit pops this week for a number of reasons. I'll probably visit him one more time this week.
My bro helped me to discover the answers to a lot of questions that I have had about the local lifestyle. I now realize that I am completely out of touch. My thinking processes are typical of a mainlander. I could sense what he was describing but I have never experienced it myself. Much of it has to do with the "island mentality." It is a social enclave which envelopes all aspects of the many cultures residing here. The concept of ohana is the basis. I have seen many negative aspects of the ohana system, but I am really just an outsider looking in.
Sunday June 3
Big headache. My neck pain also persists. I listened to the psychotic classical pieces on public radio again. That crap was getting on my nerves today. I boxed up my Bose Acoustic Wave and put an end to that charade. I did absolutely nothing today. I was supposed to be working on the curriculum for my Summer classes. Looks like I'll be winging it, as usual. Classes at the Asylum commence tomorrow, so I will be returning to the salt mines. I'm not really looking forward to it. However, as long as I hold on to my useless possessions, I'll need a job.
I suppose that my only incentive to continue working past my retirement deadline is if I could purchase real property. That's almost totally out of my reach at this point in time. What I would like to find is a shack out in the middle of nowhere. It can be a small shack because there will be no furniture or other accouterments. All I'll need is a cheap chair and a makeshift stand for my beloved notebook computer. That is it. I have already determined that almost everything can be replaced by the computer. Well, I may also need a small fridge and a microwave oven as well. Alas, this is but a dream.
I forgot to mention that the Burger King on Fort Street Mall has closed down. This is a really pathetic situation. Where am I going to get a Whopper? I've been bringing my lunch with me daily, so it may not make a big difference. However, there are days that a delicious Whopper (my way, of course!) would really taste good, especially after an unusually grueling day in the salt mines. I'm not sure why the Burger King closed down. A large group of the homeless and destitute used to hang out right in front of the store. Often, many of them were drunk and carrying on. If they panhandle some small change, then they buy coffee and hang out inside.
After contemplating the "situation" even further, I have to conclude that finding a "significant other" is the number one priority here in Hawai'i. I'm not exactly sure why this is. In the discussion with my bro last night, he offered a plausible explanation that was somewhat surreal and based upon the ohana concept. It is as if there is some kind of voodoo at play. In talking with many of my local students, I have also identified this peculiar trait. I still believe that a lot of it has to do with economic disenfranchisement. Pseudo-professor Robert and I are oddities here. We have remained single for exceptionally long periods of time. Yet, I see that he and I are both succumbing to the voodoo. What else would explain my lapse in judgment concerning babes? And, it's not just the front desk babe. I can see that my mind has been wandering frequently. That's probably why I've been preoccupied with the notion of a new computer. It's a distraction from the issue at hand. I can safely say that my life now parallels that of Pseudo-professor Robert. The only difference is that he'll buy a Sony VAIO and I'll end up with an Apple iBook. Sheesh!
Monday June 4
The first day of the Summer term at the Asylum. Welcome back to the salt mines. I am also falling further and further behind with my preparation for the math class. I have less than two weeks left. Something tells me that I'm going to be in full "wing-it" mode. I now have paid teaching assistants in my classes. This will help me out a lot. I would like to delegate most of the lab activities to my assistants. I believe that it will be a valuable experience for them because they will be given a wide scope of power.
I also called pops today. He's still in the hospital. There have been more complications. I'm not sure what is going on. He's now one week past the original date for his discharge. He asked me to bring him a few oranges from the tree in the yard. I'm not sure if any are ripe enough. I will be visiting the hospital as early as tomorrow.
I've been giving a lot more thought about the Apple computers. Can I afford the much more expensive PowerBook G4? That's the question I ask myself all day long. It seems like a lot of dough, but the computer is focal point of the monk lifestyle. However, my sensible side will no doubt opt for the inexpensive iBook model. Or, I may have a moronic lapse and end up with a Windows notebook computer. In any case, my imaginary money must be burning a hole in my pocket. It's really the pull of consumerism. There's no escape. Money in the bank has done me no good. I've lost enough money to have already bought the PowerBook G4. I can actually see why most people go on a spending spree. It's easier to live for now and pay for it later.
The computer will always be an important part of my life. It is, of course, the only reason that I am employed at all. The university is advancing the cause for the Gates One. It plans to upgrade to XP. The upside is that I may be able to get a copy for myself under the site license. The downside is that I will need a Windows computer. For now, it does not matter. I'm only looking at my options for I have no dough. Maybe I should just buy a nice ocean kayak instead.
Tuesday June 5
When I returned home, I found several messages on the answering machine. Moms had already left to go to my bro's place. Moms will be baby-sitting for two days. However, one of the messages was from moms. Pops had a major complication today, and all close relatives were asked to visit sometime today. My bro was already at the hospital. I checked my beloved cell phone and noticed nine calls logged. I had checked my phone before at about three o' clock and noticed no calls logged.
I had thought about visiting pops today. However, it was raining hard this afternoon with some minor flooding in town. I couldn't see walking over a mile in that kind of rain. And, I did not have any oranges to deliver to pops. I didn't sleep well last night. I have also been troubled by a bad feeling that something was terribly wrong. My premonition is that pops would never be leaving the hospital.
The drive back to town was tiring. The traffic was enough to invoke a violent form of psychosis. I missed the turn into the parking structure twice. I was in a bad way. I walked down the corridor through the maze that suffices as the walkway between the various buildings constructed over the years. It is as if there was no planning involved. Pops was in the ICU again. My bro had already left, but a few of my cousins and my aunt (pops' sister) were still there. I hadn't seen them in over 20 years. I talked with them for a while. I also was able to talk with the doctor on duty.
Pops looked lifeless as he lay on the bed. The intravenous tubes were back in place, and he had a large tube in his mouth to facilitate his breathing. Pops had two seizures this afternoon. A CAT scan revealed that the cancer has spread to his brain. It was in an advanced stage, or so I was told. More things are looking suspicious as the days go on. Pops had a minor stroke about a year ago. Why wasn't this detected then? The doctor gave me an optimistic assessment, giving pops about six months of time. That is, if he regains consciousness and if doesn't experience more seizures.
The drive home was not relaxing. I had seen myself from a distance as I stood over the almost lifeless figure who is my father. I felt nothing, just as I had envisioned many years ago. My bro had once told me that I was a very cold person. Perhaps he is correct. The experience had been surreal to me back then as it is now even though this is reality. I should have walked over there this afternoon in the rain. It could be the last time that I talk with him. I had been rehearsing what I had to tell him. It's been a long time coming. No matter how bad the past was, I wanted to thank him for being my father. It would have been a somewhat embarrassing moment, so I opted to write it in a Father's Day card. All that, even though I already had the premonition that pops wouldn't be around then.
I continue to make the mistakes that I've wanted to avoid. They are lapses in judgment. My only good decision was the one I made to return to Hawai'i, and I owe a lot of that to the handmaiden. It has been a long day, my friends. I have much to contemplate before the new day. I will make the walk to the hospital tomorrow but, hopefully, not to bid farewell to my father.
Wednesday June 6
Life becomes more surreal by the second. I watch myself from afar. I am calm and stoic, just as I had imagined this scenario many moons ago. Just as I turned my cell phone on at the Asylum, I received a call. I was summoned to the hospital because pops was going to be taken off of the life support system. It's hard to even imagine the kinds of things that run through one's mind when a call like that comes through. My bro was already there when I arrived. We watched pops lying on the bed. He was connected to so many different pieces of medical equipment. I watched the monitor as I talked with my bro and pops' wife. A nurse came by and discussed the procedure with us. My bro and I asked her a few questions as well. The nurse told us that the doctor would be in shortly and left. Suddenly, the alarm went off. His blood pressure was extremely high. Pops' breathing was strained even though it was assisted by a ventilator. No one came running in, so we assumed that there was no emergency.
The doctor arrived and talked with us privately. She also gave us the opportunity to ask questions. She also gave us the initial prognosis which estimated pops' time at about two months maximum. During that time, his health will degenerate rapidly and he will suffer increasing chronic pain. She also told us that once he is off of life support, he will not be put back on life support again even if the situation is grave. She would do her best to make his last moments as painless as possible as per pops' request. I asked about why the cancer was essentially undetected until it was too late. She offered an explanation which satisfied my curiosity. The moment of truth had come. Pops was taken off of life support. We were then asked to be at his side. He was breathing on his own, even though it was very labored. A sigh of relief came from all of us as we watched. The doctor told us that pops would be under observation for a few hours. If all was well, he would be moved out of the ICU into a regular ward. I left shortly afterward and promised to be back later in the afternoon. My bro stayed on.
I went back to the hospital at one o' clock. I was surprised to hear that pops was still in the ICU. My bro was not there when I walked in. Pops' wife said that he was in the cafeteria having lunch. So, I went downstairs and met my bro there. We talked for about 30 minutes. I wanted to discuss what our role would be as this drama plays out. With only a few months left, there would be a lot of things to take care of. It's hard to discuss these matters especially during emotionally charged times. However, it must be done. When we went back upstairs, we found the room empty. Pops had been moved to a regular ward. My bro and I spent the rest of the afternoon there. Pops was asleep for the whole time, his breathing still labored. He appeared to have awakened for a brief moment, saying just a couple of words. For now, everything seems stable.
I dread that I'll receive a phone call late tonight or anytime during the day. Pops' seizures are controlled only by means of medication. He is also on a morphine IV drip to minimize the pain. It is truly a sad situation. There is nothing else to do but wait out the inevitable.
Thursday June 7
I slept well last night for the first time in about a week. However, I have noticed that I have had a feeling of tightness in my abdominal region. This has been going on for a while. The tightness is not painful, however it is slightly uncomfortable. I had long assumed that it was my liver acting up. In finding a Web site that had an interactive anatomical diagram, I then isolated the location to the colon. Knowing what I know about what happened to pops, I was overcome by fear and anxiety. In addition, I have let this problem go on for so long. Given what the doctor told me concerning the difficulty in detection, I have been moved to make an appointment with my chosen physician at my beloved HMO. I must make the call tomorrow.
It would be somewhat pathetic to find out that I have a major health problem. Actually, it just might add to the surrealism. I didn't make it to the hospital today. I am now swamped with work since I have about a week left before my debut as a math peudo-professor. There was a faculty happy hour at Murphy's sponsored by the Asylum. I wanted to go, but I went to the gym instead. Then, I continued with my work at the Asylum's library. I certainly don't need to drop back a few Guiness brewskis.
It looks as if I will make my savings goal by July 1st, or I'll come real close. This is the first time that I have managed to do so. I can't guarantee that I will be successful in the second half of the year. Anything could happen. I'm still looking at the Apple iBook as a possible line item in the budget this year even though my beloved Fujitsu notebook computer is more than adequate. Sometimes it just doesn't matter. I could discover that I have a chronic gastro-intestinal problem, and I will have been saving only to pay my hospital bills. Maybe I should just buy the Apple iBook right now. Sheesh!
Friday June 8
When I called the hospital, I discovered that my bro was already there. He had apparently talked with the doctor this morning along with pops' wife. The decision was to remove the intravenous feeding from pops. This would only give him about a week of time. I decided to go to the hospital to get the full details. My bro filled me in on the details of the day. Pops has been moving around on the bed and moaning incoherently for most of the day. He also has not responded to anyone in particular. Pops was much more active after my arrival. My suspicions became aroused. I tried to talk with pops to see if he would respond to me. I could not observe any response. His moaning and thrashing appeared to be sporadic. However, when I was alone briefly with pops, he opened his eyes as best as he could and looked at me for the longest time.
The nursing assistant came in to take pops' blood pressure at about 3 o' clock. He told us that pops' pulse was at its highest since this morning. Somehow I began to suspect that pops' seizure may have actually been more like a stroke or that it has exacerbated the effects of his previous stroke. I believe that his mind is intact and he is cognizant of what is going on around him. If he already was a vegetable, he would not be able to consciously raise his pulse rate. The stroke may have caused full paralysis of his face and most of his body. The tumor is supposedly located near the occipital lobe, which coincidentally controls many of those motor functions. Pops is trapped in a body that is no longer functioning and he is keenly aware of it.
The express bus ride home was one of the longest ones I've taken. I am convinced that pops is deeply afraid and he's also panicking. A long time ago, I had an experience that was terrifying to me. I woke up one morning only to find that my whole body was paralyzed. I couldn't move anything and I was also losing control of my breathing. I was in a deep panic and I used all the energy that I could until I finally broke free of whatever was overriding my motor functions. I was terrified by the ordeal. When I went to the health clinic, I could only describe the symptoms, albeit humorously, as a "brush with death." The doctor had told me that I was not really awake. I was only half-awake and my body was still asleep. There was a clinical name for this affliction, but the name eludes me now. Nonetheless, I was terrified by my helplessness. I'm sure that when pops' mind first woke up after the seizures, he discovered the same thing. However, four days have gone by. I called the hospital once I returned home. I spoke with pops' wife. I described my theory, and then I asked her to consider another option. "I can't tell you what to do, but I would ask that you give some thought to the idea of sedating him to make him sleep. If he sleeps, he can dream ... he can dream about pleasant things." She then told me that pops had spoken after I had left. She is certain that he said, "I can't take it anymore." When I heard this, I knew that I was right. I asked her if she was going to initiate the intravenous feeding again. "I don't know. I'm so confused," she replied.
My bro also expressed confusion. Everyone is in an extremely emotional state except for the stoic ol' lavahead. I am certain that pops will not make it to Father's Day on June 17th. If he doesn't show any signs of physical improvement, I will continue to push to have him sedated to sleep. I am prepared to say goodbye to my father for the last time before that happens. He looks so weak and emaciated. I've never been this close to death before. When I was ten years old, I remember attending my grandfather's funeral. I was so shaken by the sight of his lifeless body in the casket that I vowed to never attend a funeral again. I can't run away from this situation. I will be there to see my father take his last few breaths of air before he expires. I'm not sure how long that I'll be remain stoic. I'm certain that my bro will not handle it well. As the eldest son in a patriarchal family, I am required to remain stoic. I have to be the source of strength and direction. It is not a responsibility that I care to have, but I don't really have a choice in the matter. This is life as I know it.
To be continued ... Go to V.09
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