Woody Allen has his moments for me. His unabashed sentimental love of things like the city he grew up in, and warm sepia tone childhood memories really agrees with me. Lately I had been thinking about this clip of a young Woody Allen character expressing the ultimate existential angst about life and death. You can watch the video clip here. For those without video access, here is the snippet.
DOCTOR (Nodding) Why are you depressed, Alvy? MOTHER (Nudging Alvy) Tell Dr. Flicker. (Young Alvy sits, his head down. His mother answers for him) It's something he read. DOCTOR (Puffing on his cigarette and nodding) Something he read, huh? ALVY (His head still down) The universe is expanding. DOCTOR The universe is expanding? ALVY (Looking up at the doctor) Well, the universe is everything, and if it's expanding, someday it will break apart and that would be the end of everything! Disgusted, his mother looks at him. MOTHER (shouting) What is that your business? (she turns back to the doctor) He stopped doing his homework. ALVY What's the point? MOTHER (Excited, gesturing with her hands) What has the universe got to do with it? You're here in Brooklyn! Brooklyn is not expanding! DOCTOR (Heartily, looking down at Alvy) It won't be expanding for billions of years yet, Alvy. And we've gotta try to enjoy ourselves while we're here. Uh? He laughs.
I love that bit in the script. He laughs. I feel like all three of those characters sometimes. My aunt Eva was like the doctor, my aunt Katie was like young Alvy– philosophical, but afflicted with a lot of meloncholy and my uncle Gabor, like the doctor– philosophical and always ready with a good insightful joke.
Nothing but the quiet hum of the hospital tonight. Kathleen’s new room mate is drifting in and out of sleep with the headphones on watching TV. Kathleen has been sleeping since I got here after a long day of visitors. She still had a rough night and morning. So more med adjustment. Gallium scan tomorrow as well as yet another CT. This time of her head. She has some double vision going on which is unusual. Possible spread to the brain ? Its unusual. The heavy sedating drugs might just be making her muscles relax too much and she cant focus. When the main chemo doctor was here this morning, he said spinal involvement was rare, but… Well, you never know. So they aggressively check for these things here. Honestly, what more can you ask for. The gallium scan tomorrow will look for active and recently active infection sites as well as look for some types of cancer sites. He is somewhat doubtful about the efficacy of this test. I think the Neurologist wanted it more.
Actually, our chemo doctor says, “I dont know” a lot which actually gives me more confidence in him. Its hard to tell people who desperately want answers that they dont have them and really, with this type of rare cancer there just isnt enough data to predict how it will go. Ultimately, it wont go well, but we dont know just quite how long. So Kathleen and I will alternate through those roles above. Sometimes being the depressed kid, sometimes the “here and now mother” and sometimes the laughing doctor. Hopefully more of the laughing doctor, all in the rapidly expanding universe.
Mike, I find , I’m checking the blog twice, sometimes three times a day these days. I read your Woody Allen story with tears streaming down, how true, we all sometimes forget the importance of living each day fully. And the different faces we show in each particular situation. These last few weeks your writings have brought such enlightenment and soul searching to our minds. Our hearts are with you guys constantly, and wish with all our mights that the pain subsides for Kathleen, and the results of this
latest scan brings some answers. You thanked us in your last blog entry, we would like to thank you and Kathleen, you have shown us what true love and courageous endurance is all about. Hope to see you soon, love Colleen and Terry
Dear Mike and Kathleen,
Good luck with the new test tomorrow. All these proceedures seem so SciFi to people of a certain age, born into a world without computers. Amazing how far medicine has come in such a short time, providing insights and immediate updates and better pain relief. No more ‘wiskey and a rag’.
Still it is all very depressing, but hopefully the path is a little easier.
think of you everyday. so glad I was able to spend a little time with you yesterday. hopefully your tests will go well. chin up my friend and hope to see you again soon. love and hugs to you both.