Thursday, March 10, 2011

Singing the blues

My new situation is taking some adjusting and a slow mental toll. I initially figured I'd be here three weeks, max, and now three months seems optimistic given the unexpected cancer diagnosis.

I'm family and houseguest both in a home where I feel often like a social anthropologist observing my sister, her husband and their 18-year-old son interact - "N., the graybeard alpha male whose interests center primarily around Youtube, Facebook, drug legalization, Argentinian tango and the 'stupidity' of politicians and religion quietly affirms his authority, while A., his long-suffering mate and primary source of hunting-gathering currrency exhibits occasional distress regarding 'working, going back to school, doing the taxes, their son's college applications, the laundry and the grocery shopping list...' Their offspring, M., seems however unusually well-adjusted and much like Jane Goodall's first breakthrough physical contact with a chimpanzee, he and I have bonded over the Keef Richards autobiography."

Meanwhile, I'm trying not to interfer with the daily routines and rituals but also knowing my presence is affecting a delicate choreography the three had long established before I dropped \like a disease ridden freeloader into their daily lives.

Then I got an e-mail from a Chinese friend in his 50s whom I've known since I first arrived in Shenzhen. He and I had been exchanging thoughts on our situations; his American wife and mixed race daughter have both abandoned him for the USA and he's also had some ongoing health problems.

Here's a recent one. It all kinda put my situation in better perspective.

Last month one of my friend's wife try to introduce her close friend to me after she learns that I am single. My friend lives in Fuzhou and we know each other for years. I do not know too much about his wife. They both are in their second marriage. It is not my friend's ideal, so I ask him to let me talk to his wife in phone. I am older than both of them, They are in their forty something.

First she keeps telling me how good is her girl friend, who is over 40 but still looks like in 30 ......
Then I told her, since I am your husband's good friend. I have to tell you all the truth,

First of all, I have no money, no saving, no house under my name, no property.......)
(this statement destroy the first line)
To knock the second wall, I continue

Second: My health is in a shaky condition, I have to take high blood pressure medicine every day, My neck spine has problem, the connections of my neck spine will lose the right position to cause balance problem and I will pass out from time to time.

I did pass out 2 times. Pass out will not kill me, but the sudden pass out will result in an accident. The first time is 2004, after the first pass out, I can't even stand up to walk, I can only sit there and move around very slowly, If I try to walk then I can't keep my balance. After a week, the phenomenon is gone.

When I passed out in front of (my wife), it scares her to death. She thought she is losing me. At beginning, I do not know it was caused by neck spine. The phenomenon just come and go all the time for years.

I also did not pay attention on it. It is like driving an old car. You know the old car has problems all the time, so I just did not feel well all the time.
Until one day, the phenomenon came back so I check in a small hospital to get a IV. It happens that the Dr. has nothing to do so he spent more time on me. After his serious check, he told me, "Maybe your neck spine causes the problem, not the middle ear, ( for I thought it was the middle ear has problems for years)" so I took x-ray.

The pictures shows is normal problems.
According to western way, I should have a surgery. It is risky and I can't afford it for I have no insurance and never have.

The Chinese way is to use a needle to penetrate into my neck to some extent and shake the needle to hurt me. The more hurt I got , the more cure I have. It will just last a few seconds. How much pain you can take it, it depends. Then Dr. will pull out the needle and press a vacuum cup to suck the blood out from the needle hole. To take how many needles. it is all up to you. He will charge the same any way.

To make my money worth so I always take the most I can take. Of course, if you are in a weak condition, he will not give you so many needles. Usually I will ask at least 5 to 6 needles.

After the needles and sucking some blood out then I feel much better immediately, The pain and the pressures on neck decrease a lot , even my eyes can see more clear. Then he puts a few band aids on my neck, It looks ugly.

This is not a hospital place, this guy works in home, A small apt in a village. this village is full of young hookers. Every thing is illegal in the village. the hookers are illegal business, the buildings are illegally built and the treatment is illegal too.
At first, I went once in a week for about 6 times. Now my condition is under control, because I know the pass out is caused by neck so I know how prevent it.

I stop going there, first, it is too expensive, he charges 200 RMB for every visit. if I want the needle in other place, he will ask more.

Second, he is an old man, his hand is not steady. I worry if he can hold the needle good every time. what if he miss and neck is a very sensitive place.
Now I go to the official hospital to get the therapy, they do not use needle, they press my neck . The treatment is not so effective as the needle but it is more safe and cheaper. Every visit is 60 RMB. Now I just have to watch my neck and if I do not feel well, I go to the hospital at once.

Except the neck spine, I continued telling her, I have to wear a mask to sleep every night, the mask connects to a air pump machine.Because I have the sleep disorder. It is sleep Apnea. I do not know it is CSA or OSA , any way, I have to wear the mask to sleep.

The most terrible thing I am afraid of is no power. If the electricity suddenly be turned off, I will be forced to wake up for no air. What if I can't wake up again. Remember my nose surgery, it does not work so I still have to use the machine to get to sleep.

There are other small problems, I do not bother to tell her, I only have 2 teeth left on upper jaw. I had 5 teeth pulled last year from upper jaw. I just have a new denture with 13 teeth on it after new year. It only cost me 1007 one thousand and 7 RMB. This is a killing price, no one believe it. Any way, next time I meet you, I will open mouth to smile to you.

Most of the time my dick is in coma. Of course I will not tell her .
After my confession, she become speechless.

I am thinking, if I give the story to Opera, her reaction will ask every one to pray for me.
So I would rather meet Jerry Springer, he will give me something to rock hard.
The other problems are too small to mention it.

No one wants to stay in a sinking boat. I have no life insurance, no property....., every day life looks like a ugly picture. under this condition,Of course (my wife) and (daughter) want to leave. No one wants to sink down with you, it is normal and acceptable.
This is my attitude: My loneliness and sadness are not shareable.

On the other hand, their departure is a relief to me. I am sad but easy.
One morning a moron called me, he wants to threat me , ( the other way is to say you win the lottery). In the phone, he threaten to against my family then I began to laugh , laugh very loud.

That is the best part of my tragedy. I have no fear already.


At least I have all my teeth, no needles in my neck and legal cheap medical care, though hookers might be nice... Others have urged me to get out and meet people but lacking a car and job at the moment, I'm not really feeling like prime socializing material, though I've worked out an honest opening line.

"Hi! I'm Justin. I'm here for colon cancer treatment at the VA and living with my sister. I'm unemployed with dwindling savings and dependant on her and my marginally employed bro-in-law for transportation! Wanna do lunch sometime?"


Peter said...

Yup, there always someone in tougher spot that yourself.

I'd take your old sorry self to lunch but distance may be an issue.

john said...

Dude - the big C - my thoughts are with you my friend.