gatineau morning.

gatineau morning.
photo by douglas mcarthur.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

maybe they only had one.

there's nothing quite like a five-hour wait at the hospital to make me appreciate that my legs were not the problem. as compared to some others there, i had the option and ability to eventually stand up and walk out. i was quite aware of how hard the staff was working. i was quite humbled by their patience and empathetic attitude in general. i was also quite certain that my problem must have seemed rather low-priority. so i left. i watched too many folks who had arrived much later be called in much earlier. my problem was minor and also, i might add, a little embarrassing.

one reads about the lives of great yogis and sages who remain the picture of health well into their hundreds and who eventually shake off their mortal coils with an almost otherworldly flourish. sri yukteswar gathered his disciples in the great hall and commanded: "now you watch. this is what it's all about." he then proceeded to meditate in full lotus posture for hours until everyone finally realized he had, in fact, died. after paramahansa yogananda died, his body apparently did not even begin to decompose for nearly two weeks. one might wonder why they left his carcass lying around, but that's beside the point. in sharp contrast to those examples, my demise will likely not be profound or elegant. actually, it'll probably be weird and comical. but, of course, i aint no sri yukteswar and, come to think of it, maybe weird and comical is alright.

one of the reasons for my leaving india in 1998 was because i had not been feeling well, for a long while. the fact that the white-washed walls of my place there turned black regularly during the rains may have had something to do with my general malaise, but i had never even heard of mould. once over here, i was able to arrange a full medical check-up. after some poking, prodding and blood tests, the doctor decided i needed an ultrasound specifically on my liver. it made sense considering i had malaria twice, jaundice, severe bronchitis a few times and years of eating some of the richest, hottest foods ever concocted by humans. but, it certainly got me thinkin.

during the procedure, the rather severe prussian technician at the hospital in hull kept muttering: "hmmm. hmmm." when i asked what she was hmmming about, all she'd say was that the doctor would have to talk to me. not being at all used to the protocal, i simply concluded she didn't want to be the one to tell me the bad news. i was completely convinced i had liver cancer. i was freaked. i drove my old tercel back to wakefield quietly winching and wailing, bemoaning my fate, until something interesting happened. i gave up.

i gave up all hope. so i immediately decided to quit my job at 'ryan's famous garage and towing company.' i would scrape together what pesos i could muster and move to mexico, body surf until the waves of time washed me away. i came up with some other ideas as well: one or three jumps off the covered bridge into the river, buying a new silverado from hamilton's chev/olds on credit, leaving my rock album collection to my dad who hated all music other than classical, but my mind kept returning to mexico. i was really warming to the whole situation. i spent the next few days eating whatever i felt like and writing a semi-amusing essay that i called: 'my last will and testosterone.'

a few short days later, i was watching the doctor look long and hard at the report and all the images. he muttered: "hmmm," a few times until i blurted out: "it's liver cancer isn't it?" startled, his head jerked up and he exclaimed: "why the hell would you say that?" then he burst out laughing. apparently, i was fine. he said i probably shouldn't become an organ donor, but i certainly had no cancer.

lawrence beeter was a british ww2 soldier. after his bunker was hit by a rocket, which he survived, his last words were: "maybe they only had one."

No comments :

Post a Comment