105) Considering Passing On and Remembering to Enjoy Every Waking Moment

February 22, 2007

Went to a memorial service for Michelle’s mom, Thelma, at the Dell Center this morning and wore my funeral & wedding suit. I have been thinking a lot about Thelma’s leaving this earthly plane. If death is like a long sleep, I hope she is sleeping gently. I have spent time considering the post modern, constructivist view of reality and wonder if there is a constructivist realm on the other side of life. We all know that there are as many truths as people elect to believe in, thus lending support to the post-modern perspective on life and living. But what about death? I wonder if a person passes on and their particular truth of what ever is beyond comes to pass, simply because they created it in their universe. We know that the medical model map of the human being is a construct that works here in the West… and, the acupuncture map of the human being is a construct that works for people in the east. How many possible afterlives there must be if the same flexible rules of reality extend beyond this physical sphere. I recall an article in Time where scientists argue that “…near death experiences are not the eyewitness reports of a soul parting company from the body but symptoms of oxygen starvation in the eyes and brain. In September, a team of Swiss neuroscientists reported that they could turn out-of-body experiences on and off by stimulating the part of the brain in which vision and bodily sensations converge.”* There were many letters written to Time in opposition to these scientific reports, which is curious because it is a very constructivist, post-modern notion that belief can challenge “science” on any rational grounds at all. Some of the responses are from people who simply don’t like to think that consciousness can be mechanized, and others actually step into the post-modern realm by challenging the reality of science: “Trying to understand consciousness by probing the workings of the brain is analogous to trying to find the source of pictures on your TV by analyzing the workings of the TV set. Until scientists recognize the transcendental nature of human existence, they will continue to wander blindly in a fog of ignorance.” ** What a great world to live in where we can have these discussions and these wild ideas. It reminds me of a line in a Ferlinghetti that goes something like, the world is the greatest place to be for having fun and thinking…

Yes the world is the best place of all

for a lot of such things as making the fun scene
and making the love scene
and making the sad scene
and singing low songs and having inspirations
and walking around
looking at everything
and smelling flowersand goosing statues
and even thinking***

Coming back to Thelma; I hope that whatever she anticipated in her dying has come to pass. And I hope that her family can remember all the ways she was a blessing to have in their lives, and keep her with them in their hearts and brains.

There was a nice anonymous piece read at the memorial service that I print here in her memory.

“I am standing upon a seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length, she hangs like a speck of white cloud; just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then someone at my side says, “There, she is gone!” Gone where? Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port. Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment, someone at my side says, “There, she is gone!” There are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout. “Here she comes!” And that is dying.

El Milagro: I got to the center late today because of a meeting that kept me at my office until 4 o’clock. Carol the Tech cannulated me quickly and I settled in for another blood-cleaning session.

Notes: In at 74.4 and out at 72.8 Kgs.
* Pinker, S. (2007) The mystery of consciousness. Retrieved online February 2007 from the Time Magazine Webpage at http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1580394-3,00.html
**Finding your way around the brain. Retrieved online February 2007 from the Time website, http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1592097,00.html

*** Ferlinghetti, L. The world is a beautiful place. Retrieved online from The Favorite Poem Project webpage at http://poetry.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ&sdn=poetry&cdn=education&tm=5&gps=102_197_835_541 &f=00&su=p284.5.420.ip_&tt=2&bt=0&bts=0&zu=http%3A//www.favoritepoem.org/poems/ferlinghetti/
February 24, 2007

Called in at 8 this morning to get an early time; talked to Phyllis the Nurse (Ms anti-blog) who said 12:30 is the earliest I can get in.

Watched Shayna’s basketball game and now at the end of the season (one more game) she is really getting it. She grabbed about three rebounds, ran the ball a little, passed well, set some screens, and even scored! Her score came at the end of the game when she snared a defensive rebound, dribbled down court and right up the center to a few feet in front of the free-throw line, and swished the ball. This was a really good game for Shayna (#12), especially after she had already run a mile this morning for the Marathon Kids event at Burger. This afternoon she has a soccer game so she will be one tired kid at the end of it all.

I drove from the game over to El Milagro and got there 15 minutes early.

El Milagro: Gladys cannulated me today. The place wasn’t really crowded today and I can’t ever figure out why. Gladys says there aren’t that many people missing dialysis, but it just seems very empty. She hooks me up and I settle into flipping channels between college basketball games and finally end up engrossed in a movie with Anthony Hopkins… The Human Stain*… a great movie based on the Phillip Roth book. But, I have to flip over when the UT game starts, so we’ll have to rent the movie sometime to watch the end.

Herman the Nurse comes up to me at some point… actually he is walking by busy as a bee, and then he stop as if he has just remembered something… and, he turns back towards me and says, “I want your feedback on an idea we are exploring. We are thinking of offering an overnight dialysis that would be for 6 hours, starting at 9 and ending about 4:30 in the morning. It would be longer and slower, which is better for people’s… (blah de-blah de-blah) and their clearance (blah de-blah). For working people it sometimes helps them to feel less worn out after dialyisis. Would you think about what you think of the idea and get back to me about it?” I said, “Sure.” and list some of the pros and cons in my little brain:

Pros: Probably better for work-a-day world; Supposedly better for my health; Get my full hours at work every week;
Cons: Takes more time from family; Sleeping alone three nights a week;
Worries: Will I be able to sleep well all hooked up?; Will I be able to go to sleep with full cable, or will I stay up til 2 am every nite watching TV (like I sometimes do in hotels)?; Will I be comfortable in the chair or bed they have?

UT vs. Oklahoma is a refreshing game to watch as UT stays comfortably ahead of OU all the way through until I have to leave my session to zip home and dress up for our dinner date.

Saturday Nite: Downtown Austin: I would not really recommend the Roaring Fork**. The service was slow and confused. The food was fair and the cost was higher that the food warranted. In our party, we had the snapper, duck, chicken, and porkchops and I tasted everything but the chicken. The porkchop was good but too garlicky. The snapper was tasteless and the duck was good but a little salty. The restaurant was full of people and the décor and the interior set-up didn’t do anything to lessen the feeling of crowdedness. The location of this place is incredible; right on the corner of Congress and and 7th and it’s too bad the owners didn’t make it a more open, expansive kind of interior so we could all look out on the main street of Austin. (There you have this blog’s first restaurant review.)

Afterwards we all went over to the Paramount***, where we had tickets for Madeleine Peyroux. This was a good show… very jazzy with some blues included. The musicians were excellent: great lead guitarist and piano player. Rather than review this too, I’ll refer the reader to Larry’s review once it’s up on the web. I enjoyed the show and will try to find a CD of hers to add to my collection. (As Lizzie is editing this, she remarks that we already have one of Peyroux's CDs and it's in her mini-van)

So, thus finishes an eventful and full day of a dialysis patient. We can enjoy life even though we have this dialysis albatross around our skinny necks.

Notes: In at 74.9 and out at 72.8 Kgs.
New Readers: For A Welcome Post, click August 2006 on the Sidebar.
* The Human Stain retreived online February 2007 from
**The Roaring Fork retrieved online February 2007 from
*** The Paramount Theatre retrieved online February 2007 from

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