Went in today (Wednesday) for the second treatment. Had a minor bout last week of that ol’ devil, neutropenia, but it didn’t go anywhere, thankfully. As a result, they are giving me the 7-day preventative shot routine again to boost my white blood cells. No mention of antibiotics (which is fine cuz they ripped my guts last time) but the year is young! Treatment went fine, albeit everything was delayed as usual. They are always so busy in there. Where are all these cancer cases coming from? Anyway, it’s only one day every three weeks this time, as opposed to last summer with three-days-in-a-row every three weeks. An improvement.
Jea and I were seated in a tiny treatment bay, lined only with curtains. We were then treated to yet another fascinating floor show. This round is certainly proving to be chock-full of entertainment, in contrast to last summer’s notable lack of festivities. The star of the show this time was a guest of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. He was an older dood, in his 70s, and quite chatty. I’ll call him Cooter the Jailbird. Thick shock of silver hair that also crept down his cheeks and throat like untrimmed vines. A bit of a slur to his speech, on top of a heavy stutter. But he was obviously having a Big Day Out, and was enjoying the hell out of it. His minder, a correctional officer, sat nearby reading the local news-rag and barely registering Cooter’s running commentary on this-and-that. Minder would occasionally look up and offer a few words in response, mostly designed to discharge his obligation to prove he wasn’t asleep. Cooter would carry on without missing a beat.
Cooter spent the first hour or so talking small-town Wisconsin-ania with whatever nurse or neighboring patient he could get to respond. This portion of the program I largely ignored, aside from wishing he would can it for a few minutes. He then segued into a very long and thorough discourse on olde-tyme kountry stars and their music, rattling off a long list of the drunk and famous, their lives and loves, and what handful of tunes they were known for. All the greats were represented: Johnny and June Carter Cash, Hank Williams Sr., Patsy Cline, Waylon, Willie, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, and on and on. He knew all the page-one gossip about their travails and tragedies, and waxed eloquent about their music, essentially repeating variations of “they don’t write ’em like that no more”. This I found rather engaging, being a bit of a music buff myself, and to my surprise I found I kinda started to like the guy. At one point, Jea and I had a fit of loopy afternoon-slump giggles, inspired by his warbly-yet-oddly-tuneful renditions of this or that hit song. All in all, a good time!
The fun was not to last, though. After a good almost-two hours of this, he changed suddenly to the subject of how he had literally thrown his life away, and how he was such a disappointment to his family, and if he could go back oh, how much he would do differently, and so forth. It sounded like happy hour at the local VFW hall, and he seemed almost to be writing his own country song. Must have been all the Johnny Cash on his brain. Happily, he moved past this dark third act and entered the world of delightful chattiness again. And then, after several LOUDLY narrated trips to the head, he was gone. And the decibel level in the clinic dropped by half. And, in case you aren’t totally clear on the point, I will reiterate that he started yakking the second they rolled him in, and he NEVER STOPPED, right up until they rolled him out again several hours later. How does the man do it?!
I cannot imagine what will be on offer for the third cycle! Until then, peace, I’m outie 5000!