“I said hey, hey babe, it’s the 4th of July,” Dave Alvin
Monday, July 4, 2005. I might have guessed. I made an error or two in the Interferon injection the week before. First, I forgot to mix the solution, which may have seriously diminished the effectiveness of the dose. Second, I didn’t bring it to room temperature after it had been refrigerated for the past week. This time I had Angela execute the entire process. Angela is the sort of person who doesn’t go anywhere she hasn’t been before without a MapQuest. I never have to worry about leaving anything around, because it will be scooped up and disposed of within seconds. If ever I am unable to find something, I immediately switch to “Angela mode”, and search the places where she deems a thing to be “out of sight.” Angela reads and follows written instructions better than anyone you will ever meet. This time the shot was administered correctly.
Earlier I had racked the 20 miles on the bike that has become my daily routine. At the completion of the medication, I ate a pastrami on rye, and then was given a strawberries and cream frappucino from Starbucks (my fast-food of choice). Two hours later (now) I’m feeling drowsy enough to lie down for a siesta and wait for Sonoran style hot dogs and fireworks. Geez, this is pretty tough.
It got tougher, a lot tougher. At about 4 hours past the time Ang gave me the injection, my body started to feel chilled. Inside the house it was warm, but the breezes caused by the ceiling fans were annoying. Along with the chills, came a dull sort of aching in my entire body, right on down to my fingertips. On top of these distractions was a general feeling of listlessness. My English friends might say, “It takes the piss out of you”. Now I was finding things to be crabby about. I was taking care to not react. Well now, we had forgotten one thing we were advised to do. That is to take a hit of Tylenol or Ibuprofen just before the shot. I now took the Ibuprofen. Things began to mellow out. The chills subsided, the aches disappeared, and the listlessness just turned into being relaxed. At 6 hours past the injection, although I feel tiredness, (not unusual if you ride a bicycle 20 miles a day), I believe the nastiest bit of the side effects are over. This might be just exactly what Dr. Bartley and Marc Johnson were describing as the common side effects of the treatment. So for what it’s worth, I think I’m a pretty normal subject who experiences the usual abnormal feelings of this drug, without entering the area where things are intolerable. If this is as bad as it gets, I’m going to be all right. Now, a little strawberry shortcake and a fire works display. Happy Birthday America.
“THEY CALL IT STORMY MONDAY, BUT TUESDAY IS OH SO BAD”; BB KING
Just when you think you are past the rough water, you get the dose of reality that you been waiting for. They said it was going to be two days of discomfort, and they didn’t lie. I went to see my regular doctor, Dr. Sethian at 9:30 am. He was elated about the reduction of the size of my liver. Really? “Yeah, let me show a drawing I made when you came here in January. It was three times the size of now.” I studied the sketch. Hmmm. When I got home we called Dr. Bartley’s office to see when he wanted to check the blood again. We were told to come over this day to have blood drawn. As the afternoon approached, I became aware of chill in my entire body. It was warm in the house, but I was feeling chilled. And I was pissed at just about everything. I felt weak and tired. I had skipped biking for doctor appointments with the intention of getting a swim in before the day was through. I just didn’t feel like it. I didn’t have it. It wasn’t about being lazy, it was an energy thing. I was worthless. I decided to go with the flow and rest. I knew this was Day 2 Blues. It was just as bad as Monday in the sense that feeling shitty is a shitty feeling in any form. Now I know; this is the typical side effect reaction that I had been pre-warned about. You get two days of wretch, and the rest is cool. I did the bike today. I’m feeling stronger, and a little bigger, ever so slightly. I’m on the cusp of breaking into a weight in the 160’s. I’m after 175lbs.
So, Dr. Bartley gets a blood sample, and, in a few days I find out if anything is happening. But first duty calls -- I leave for Finland next Wednesday.
“IT’S A BRAND NEW DAY-E-A,” Parliament/Funkadelic
Yesterday, Wednesday, our houseguest Mat arrived. Mat is a Michigan State University PHD candidate doing his doctoral thesis on the MC5/White Panthers socio-political influences, and the potential of pop culture to reshape society and its political nature. We spent a few hours yesterday afternoon discussing the issues and my opinions regarding them. We’ve enjoyed the whole thing immensely. I got him laughing on most of the responses, but there you have it. It’s my nature. I like to put a spin on anything serious, just to keep from becoming a fist full of slogans. Without playing into this report as an airing out of my regrets concerning MC5’s ridiculous rhetorical assault stage tactics, let me be clear that the hippies (God bless ‘em), euphorically stunned with their freedom, like sheep at the slaughterhouse gate, gamely took their places in line before the axe man, defiant and beautiful to the end, confounded by the sound of their longhair draped heads hitting the kill floor. Never again will I allow myself to be used as the puppet-boy crier for anyone’s “righteous” causes. Even now a curious battle rages on over who owns the rights to the “righteousness.” Leapin’ lysergic sugar cubes, Batman, who put the fuck in the Motherfucker?
Mat and Angela and I all had a great time. We enjoyed turning a mild mannered, inspired Wisconsin lad onto the serenity of Southern California and sharing several grand meals together. I always like helping out these academic guys with their research writing. Maybe someone who wasn’t there can analyze it a whole lot better than those that crawled out from the thick of it. No one can quite figure it out. So it creeps on as a burning question for eternity. What happened? If nothing else, a lot of people got graduate degrees trying to contain the mystery in theoretic writing. That’s cool. I don’t give a damn about legacies. It’s not for me to say! I’m a guy in a band. And if nothing else, we sure had a fun time dressing up in awesome clothes and crashing people’s heads with big sound. If you’re going to talk about the era as a phenomenal episode, then it’s about a million times more things than just the MC5.
Mat left this morning, bound for East Lansing and the pretty green mid- Michigan countryside. I can feel the breezes and the warmth of the summer sun, expect rain, and dream of magical far away places amid the smells of alfalfa and cornfields. It almost brings a tear to my eye thinking of it; thinking of it as “home”. Look at what God has given us. That’s what I’m talking about.