Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Bumless in Bredagh

Yep, I'm pack home after a few days in Donegal Town. It's about an hour and a half away from here so, far enough to feel that we'd been away from home, close enough to still be near the hospital etc. And I did need it, albeit briefly as I had a bout of tummy travel that left me with both ends burning. Still, it's settled up now. Rich food in the hotel probably the problem.
So, fill you in soon - I had to cut down for a few days and saw more fat disappear from my rear disappear. Update you soon.


Friday, August 17, 2007

Off for a few days

Planning to take a couple of days away in a hotel, chill out etc. Not too far, just further around Donegal. Catch up when I get back.

Monday, August 13, 2007

So, anyway...

...I'd gone for my chemo and a touch of the infection on my leg had reappeared. They sent me home with an antibiotic but that made me throw up so I had to come back in for IV treatment and, while I was there, the pain treatment seemed to run into trouble so it was changed to a combination of drugs called Oxycontin/Oxynorm and these seem to have inproved things. While in hospital I read Patrick McGillgan's biography of Hitchcock and I'd really recommend it.Favourite reading is still not the deeply profound; I'm continuing to enjoy biogs and good, well-crafted entertainment.
Is it just me or is Hitch slipping off the old critical radar a bit? When I was a school kid, he movies were still recent enough to show in the main film slot on Sunday nights on the BBC. None of your fancy 1 year of release and it's on TV back then. I remember a Monday morning after The Birds had been shown and not being able to wait to get into school and talk to my mates about it...
Then there were Alfred Hitchcock's 3 Investigator books and short story collections in the school library. I've since picked up a couple of second-hand copies of these although I've failed in my mission to get the 'Monster Museum.' It has the original 'Blob' story, the one that was made into a movie with Stevie McQueen and some very scary jelly. Ummm...scary jelly...
So, Hitch was a big deal for me and that was probably why I got such a nostalgic thrill when my first serious crime short story sold to the Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine.
But it's all part of another world, now. See, I am relatively young for this ilness but, let's face, I am middle-aged and it feels great to have gotten here.
I was bought a portable DVD player for my birthday and it's fantastic - it'll help tie in with my let's-see-how-much-good-stuff-I-can-still-watch-in-whatever-time-I-have-left. Fabulous with the earphones on. Means I can watch my Peckinpah's and Leone's and check out the audio commentaries.
So, that's the update.
Keep in touch. I can't tell you how good it is to know that, as well as the people I have here, that you're out there, too.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Sorry, I've been in hospital...

...for just under 2 weeks. Got out last might just in time for today's birthday so look for a fuller update soon.


Monday, July 23, 2007

I ain't got no body...

Check out the comments to the 'User Manual...' post below and you'll see we got a bit of the old mind'body debate going. What an opportunity for me to whale in with some ill-thought out amateur philosphising. See, the 'we are only flesh' has a pretty strong logical argument going for it but something - perhaps nothing more than intellectual cowardice - has always made me shy away from it. At the same time, I don't think it's as simple as the 'My body is just a suitcase...' idea proposed by my good friend Mark and by Willie Nelson, admirable chaps both. See, in some very fundamental way my concept of 'me' is very much linked to this lump of flash and blood and water plunked here on an office chair in Donegal. Regarding the suitcase theory, I just can't imagine myself getting of the plane in Derry to be told that, although my soul has arrived safely, my body has turned up unclaimed in Prestwick. Everything I feel and experience, I feel in this piece of extended stuff I call 'me.' I don't sit here in my office and feel happy in the next room. (Reminds me a bit of Woody Allen's psychic twins, one of whom had a bath while the other mysteriously got clean.) All those things we see as intangible still seem to be located about this physical old body with all its imperfections. The action is here, where my body is and I can't envisage how it would be any other way. Now, I'm not saying that nothing exists beyond the physical. What I am saying is that what exists seems to be mediated through the physical at the very least and that the two appear mutually dependent. More than that, I'll leave to greater minds than mine to puzzle out.
Smell you later.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Feelin' hot hot hot

Went for chemo yesterday and actually came away feeling pretty good. Had a chat with the consultant who felt that most of my recent problems - eg: the extreme tiredness - were more likely the cause of the chemo than the cancer. The tumour itself, from what they can tell with the blood cultures, doesn't seem to be growing much. You can't read too much into this in itself, mind. Bill Hicks' tumour shrank three months in a row but still killed him in less than a year. However, it's certainly not bad news and, although my face is still covered with acne the consultant reiterated that the people with this side-effect did seem to get the best result from the treatment.
Then, last night, I woke up shivering, a sure sign with me that I've got a temperature and - lo and behold - I was above the dreaded 38 degrees C mark. That meant I had to call up to hospital today to get it checked out. My son got really upset at the thought of me being admitted and that, in turn, really upset me. It also made me think about how he'll cope when it comes to the final parting.
But then - good news! The Dr felt the temperature thing was just a blip and told me I could go home. Big cheers all round and one very happy 7 year old.
You know the big news I've been hinting at? Well, a guy from a publishers came across the blog and thinks it would make a good book. He has to run it past his boss etc but it would be really cool if it happened. It'd be a nice legacy for my wife and son.
So, there you go.
Stay well and check back soon.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Where's the user manual?

See, you're born with this body and it takes you a while to figure out exactly how everything works. But you do it. Pretty soon you can read the signals. That's hunger....that's tiredness... Then something happens and suddenly the body changes. And it's not an upgrade either. Now, your body works in different kinds of ways and, whereas before, you could read the signs, this body doesn't give you many clues at all. So, it feels sleepy all the time. But is it really sleepy? Well, it seems to be because if you close your eyes, pow, you're out of it right away. Still, wait a minute, if I go to sleep every minute my body tells me I should, I'll spend all day, every day asleep. Is that what I want?
This is scarier than it seems because, in a fundamental way, my body is me. Whoever I am is related to this mass of bone and tissue and water. So how can I not understand it and read its signs? And how could it betray me by growing this terrible thing inside me without me knowing?Where's the user manual?