Tuesday, March 07, 2006


A little over a year ago, Zach and I took our first trip to Hawaii. Not far from where we stayed on Kauai, we were able to drive up to a gorge called Waimea Canyon and see an amazing vista from one of the lookout points along the road. The only tricky part was that the view was often obscured by thick mists, and you had to time it right to actually get a few clear moments to see the glorious valley below.

Our guidebook warned us to be patient:

Clouds are always moving in and out of the valley, so if it's cloudy, wait a while before you give up. It's well worth it.

The same could be said of Week 1 after chemo.

For the past 48 hours, anyway, I have felt like that valley on Kauai—surrounded by fog, with occasional breaks that feel like salvation. (I started writing this during one of those breaks, but the mists have begun to roll back in, and now I am struggling mightily to get the words out.)

When I'm foggy, I'm very foggy. I think in slow motion. I speak in drawn-out sentences with lengthy pauses that threaten to become full stops. Then a missing word appears—from the mists—and I plunk it in, with great gratitude and relief and satisfaction. Maybe I am not a blithering idiot after all.

Oh, wait, yes I am.

Metaphors and analogies leap to mind, but I can't express them. Yesterday, I trotted out a line from Of Mice and Men ("Tell me about the rabbits . . .") to try to convey how I felt, and Zach said something like, "You're in pretty good shape if you can come up with an obscure quote from Steinbeck." And I said, "It took me five minutes to come up with that quote." And even then, I couldn't remember how it ended. ("Tell me about the rabbits, George. . . .") Just now, trying to write about it, I had to ask him what I had quoted from. I couldn't remember Of Mice and Men.

I know it will pass. I know that Week 2 is only a few days away. I know that the fog will lift, and I will be sentient again for a stretch.

But I've still got the rest of Week 1 to get through.

And four more Week 1's to go after that.

Cue the foghorn.

And please be patient with me.


Blogger Rosemary Knower said...

well, i have to thank you for recommending (about six years ago) Strictly Ballroom; a very weird film that reminded me of Blue Velvet in the way it was filmed, or maybe everybody in Australia IS that super-saturated especially loved the paso doble scene
since you're as couchbound as i am, and desperate for the illusion of OUTOFHERE, maybe you should rewatch
I know that fog feeling, too. that's why i quit taking ambien when i couldn't sleep "a rare side effect" confirmed by dr newman....but i've never seen tht disoriented, "why cant you see me, i'm on the other side of this glass mouthing at you?" feeling so well expressed barry and i had a kind of george, tell me about the rabbits mantra too--it had to do with being in france don't know what yours is but good that you're going to that other place in your mind

March 8, 2006 7:35 AM  
Anonymous robin said...

by Carl Sandberg

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

March 8, 2006 3:52 PM  

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