Lessons to be put to use later:

In the past nearly thirty-six hours, I have learned:

1. That a terrible sense of inertia sets in when you're waiting.

I hadn't realized how hard it would be to even get out of bed in the morning when all there is to do all day is watch the clock and wait. That makes the reluctance of my patients to walk, or do physical therapy, or do anything but sleep much more understandable. If you sleep, the time goes by a little faster.

2. That people can be really marvelous.

If the prayers, hip-shakings, incense-burnings, and chants of my friends, readers, family, and complete strangers mean anything, I should be floating on a cloud of glory right now. And I am, and I'm thankful. I think about all the nice things people have said all day long, right before I go to sleep.

3. At the same time, though, you're always essentially alone.

Nobody else can get into your head after you've been diagnosed with X or Y, or while you're waiting for X or Y to happen. I had understood that intellectually before, but not on a gut level. As with so many things that you *have* to do when you're human, this you have to do alone. The best you can hope for is another person to watch with you.

4. Cheese is good.

Eating things that take very little effort but give big returns in the texture and taste department is important. I plan, tomorrow, to spend money on late-season tomatoes and green tomatoes and possibly a truffle or two, and have some potatoes as well. With butter. Dammit.

5. Fiction, or even familliar non-fiction, can be extremely comforting.

I'm re-reading the "Little House" series.

6. There is always, always something worse.

I've not yet seen the situation--well, no. I lie. I have seen situations that couldn't get worse, but mostly those people have been on so many pressors and so gorked out that they don't realize how badly they're being treated. Perhaps I should say: as long as you're conscious and functioning, things could always be worse.

F'rinstance, all the critters are healthy. There are no wildfires burning here, and no gas lines have blown up recently. More than that, I have water and power and clean food to eat, and I'm not living in a tent outside Peshawar.

I know I can call any one of a number of besties in the middle of the night, or my sister or parents, and they'll answer the phone. That alone puts me way ahead of a lot of people.

7. Humility often means asking for shit you need.

As I emailed a pal of mine tonight, "I need you to send me chatty emails about the bike you're building; I'm sick of explaining what's going on."

I'm not fearful right now of looking needy. I'm needy, okay? I'm scared, and I'm needy, and I'm owning the hell out of that. It's humbling, but being humbled, in this case, is a very good thing.

8. The human body has an immense reservoir of tears. At the same time, it also has the capability to come up with really bad jokes.

I was thinking today that "Cap'n Lumpy" was a fine name for this (benign, not dangerous, not scary, easily-removed) thing in my throat, but just in case he turns out not to be benign, and he turns out to have spread, I would rename him Benny.

As in "B-b-b-Benny and the metssssssssssssss."

9. Paranoia will destroy ya.

In the last almost-thirty-six hours, I've had cancer. In situ and metastatic. I've also had West Nile, a couple of salivaliths, a brain tumor, lymphoma, sarcoma, mesothelioma, and tacomaroma. I've been feeling lymph nodes and yanking my tongue out and generally exploring every inch of skin for weirdness. After I'd gone over every inch twice, it stopped. But still, it was an interesting fifteen minutes (I'm short).

10. Perspectives change.

To hell with going two-point-seven seconds on a bull named Blue Manchu. I would like to outlive my animals. I'd like to be able to contemplate putting the laundry into the washer without it seeming an insurmountable task. I would like to have a five-minute space, after coffee, when I'm not aware of this *thing* hanging out in my throat and thus over my head.

Still, it's not a bad set of problems to have. Given the alternatives, I'll take it.