A remnant of the low days during chemotherapy was also a telling one. My chemo didn’t go well. The first two infusions each sent me to ICU for a week, both times nearly dead. My next attempt went fine for a few weeks; the cycles were moving along. I began to feel like my feet were asleep, having a nearly constant pins and needles sensation. Over the next month The difficult to describe full symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy set in. My hands and feet were in agony, feeling both frozen and on fire at the same time. I also had numbness sensations in addition, getting pins and needles and itch points. I became unable to walk at all, even transitioning between chair and toilet or chair and bed could be excurciating if any pressure was applied to my hands or feet. Atop it all I had all of the other symptoms of cancr and chemo; I was exhausted and nauseous all the time and felt bone pain in the neck, shoulders chest, spine hips,pelvis and head. Because of all of this, it was easy to believe the prognosis of six months given me by a series of oncologists and hematologists. There was no question in my mind. Supporting it was a recent cluster of friends and acquaintances passing away from cancer. They had been given prognosis and they had perish, each so to speak, on schedule.
As the weeks dragged on and life merging one fuzzy day with the next, the one thing I became consistent about was watching Sunrise International on HD Theater. For over and hour, their programs would give a perspective on the world. A fixed camera would focus on perhaps a waterfall, or a rookeries, or early morning view of something interesting. The soundtrack was always an uninterupted sound of the environment where the camera was. It was in stereo so the audio tracked any movement. I was enamored of one on South Chinese cororant fisherman. Before dawn these men climb aboard slender boats perhaps three feet wide and eighteen feet long. They would pole out to their fishing grounds where tthey would catch fish with cormorants. Those are long necked birds who are given collars that let them breathe and make sounds, everything butr swallow. The fish were trained to follow their fishing habits, but return to the boat with their booty where the fisherman would slip their fish from the gullet and let the bird go back to the waiting post where other cororants waited their turn to fish for the man. You see it all ethereally, with lantern only light on the boats to begin, and to have dawn slowly break into crystal blue skies is a treat. As the timer says it is 7:00am, the fishermen collect their birds and ploe back home with their catch. It’s a beautiful thing to watch, and is an eye on the extraordinary and wonderful that the planet has to offer.
As well I like a view of a Mediterreanean Port as it woke up and the fishing boats putted off for a days work. Another showed the canals of Venice, while still another showed a New England lobster port came alive. There were a few others, but each of them had to do with water, and each of them showed something that made me feel good to watch, as if a kind of comfort food for the soul. I collected my favorites of Sunrise International and Sunrise Earth on my cable DVD, and I play them all when I want to relax. I play them and they become a window looking out of my room. I go about my business, reading or working with my hands and the window sits like testamony that the world outside is lovely place and how the world moves on from day to day.
My wife says it reminded her of Edward G. Robinson in Soylent Green as he was committing suicide in the euthanasia parlor. He had surrounded himself with slide shows of the natural beauty of the planet as his background to perish before. I suppose I do see the similarities, and there is my selected copies showing what interested and calmed me the most. I still pull these out and play them from time to time still. I play them as I read, usually. But there isn”t the frequency nor the lengthy periods of staring at the images in deep thought. They are not so much a grasping point for reality, which I think they gave me as I felt myself circling the bowl. Today, they are just pleasant diversions or perhaps a muse. But they held great import to me and that’s why I saved them all, and the kept the few that really appealed to me. And did because they were the perspective I wanted to carry away with me, to surround me as I slipped away.