There was a time in the not too distant past that I assumed I was immortal. That I was Superman. That I was exempt from all the health woes of my fellow homo sapiens (that's human being to you less erudite folks).
When I was seventeen years old, I knew I was going to live forever. Then I was waylaid by a dirty hospital during a routine hernia operation and almost lost my life to a "staph" (Staphylococcus) infection. Yep, that's right. The folks at the hospital where I was interred didn't take proper antiseptic cleaning procedures and I developed a life threatening case of staph. What made it even worse, was when I started to show the symptoms and suffered through the worse (my head felt like it had an anvil in it and I had a distended wound in my abdomen which was later burst full of infectious pus), my doctor said it was "all in my head." Of course he changed his mind when I awoke one night with a seventeen inch incision in my left abdomen open spewing pus. Thank God this doctor isn't around today. Think he would properly diagnose the symptoms of Eboloa?
Well, anyway back to my brush with death due to the incompetence of both the hospital and my doctor, I survived after sixth months in and out of the hospital and three surgeries. After surviving through all that I joined the Army. During basic training I had a couple more near death experiences; one with an exploded hand grenade and another with tear gas, but I survived again. Then I was assigned to work for the National Security Agency (NSA) with a top secret clearance. The NSA and the government and Army were very efficient for rooting out homosexuals, lest they be subject to blackmail and divulge state secrets (none of with ever happened in the history of the United States). I survived all the witch hunts for "queers".
|The Salem Witch trials of the 1600's - not much had changed from that time until the homosexual witch hunts of the 20th century - one only had to be accused and you were guilty and destroyed|
After the Army reentered civilian life and decided to come out as a gay man back in 1963 when it was decidedly very unsafe to come out as a HOMOSEXUAL. Actually, when I came out I could have been arrested in the state of Pennsylvania because being a homosexual was against the law. The psychiatric community deemed me "sick" and in need of mental health rehabilitation. My family, specifically my Mother, went nuts when I told her. They tried to take me to the hospital for "the cure." I lost friends. What friends I had left, some urged me to "seek help" because they were concerned that I would lead an awful life (their assessment). I survived all the onslaughts. Oh sure, I lost two good jobs because I was an out homosexual. And what jobs I did have, my career path was stymied because I didn't stay in the closet and practice "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
I was lucky in that I met a wonderful man named Bill Kelly in the summer of 1964. He just thought I was awesome and would give up until I moved in with him which I did the following February. We've been together ever since, marking fifty years of domestic habitation this past July.
The past fifty years have been a roller coaster ride both emotionally and physically but in good health. In fact the twenty-seven years I worked in Philadelphia for two major banks I never once used my medical plan.
However, when I left regular employment in 1997, that's when my health issues started to pop up. I'm not going to go into the details in this posting because it's too long already but I have had several surgeries to correct some health issues. Then in August of 2012 I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. My PSA score was 8.4. My biopsy of twelve specimens from my prostate gland showed seven to be cancerous. Fortunately for me, my cancer was localized to my prostate gland, it had not spread.
Fast forward to May of 2013, I had seed implants (brachytheraphy) to combat the prostate cancer. I decided not to have my prostate gland removed (too many just awful complications, not the least of which was no sex life and incontinence issues). Since that operation my PSA score has steadily gone down from 8.4, to 1.9, and to 1.1. My urologist told me it would continue going down.
Yesterday I returned from my friend Bob Mc.'s memorial service. I had mail waiting for me from the VA where I took my semi-annual blood test last week. I checked the results: my PSA score has now gone UP to 1.5. Not good news folks. Sure, I'm still in the "safe range" of 1-4 but still, my PSA score has gone UP. It's not supposed to go UP.
|Me at my friend's memorial service yesterday|
Of course this was a bummer, especially coming off of just returning from my friend's memorial service. I have two other friends battling health issues right now. One is still in the hospital and the other is in rehab. No idea when either is getting out.
I'm trying to convince myself this is a fluke (and it could very well be) but I'm telling you folks, this bit of new is preying on my mind. As I've said many times before in this place, I do not fear death, I only fear how I get there.
And another thing, as much as I go bopping along thinking I'm immortal and will outlive everybody with a fantastic interesting and fun filled life, hitting a speed bump like yesterday doesn't help.
But as they say, "this too shall pass." I'll get back into my regular routine of posting my blog, updating my genealogy records, taking and sorting photos, fussing around in my backyard garden, working part-time at the hotel and taking occasional jaunts with my friend from Canada (LA next on the agenda!)
I shall continue until I can no longer continue. I'll tell you one thing, each day seems more precious to me. All those days in my Foolish Youth that I thought I was going to live forever, not so much now. But what I do hope for is that when my time comes, as it surely will for me and all of us, I hope my passage is quick, painless and with dignity.