Opinion: Column: Something or Nothing

As you can imagine – or read every week in this space, my health, especially considering that my stage IV non-small cell lung cancer is incurable/"terminal," is top of mind. (If truth be told, it's middle of mind, bottom of mind and every other mind in between and all around.)

That being said – repeatedly, I am prone to exaggerate the significance of seemingly unrelated peculiarities and draw them into my cancer "centricity" without any facts to support them. Though I feel fine-ish, mostly, (the previous weeks' columns "Barbasoul" and "Side Splitting But Not Very Funny" notwithstanding), there are a number of things in my life which aren't doing as fine and have given me pause for this column.

First and foremost is that Chino, one of our two diabetic cats ("The Diabetic Duo" as I call him and his brother, Biscuit), is now up to 14 units of insulin per day and is a shell of his former self, literally. His appetite remains good but he's confined in the kitchen because he doesn't seem particularly interested or aware of his litter box. His co-diagnosee, Biscuit, has had the complete opposite reaction to his medicine. He's down to two units a day and appears quite himself. He's free to roam around and seems quite clear about the reason for the multiple litter boxes located throughout the house.

Unfortunately, Chino is slowly getting worse and despite following doctor's orders and feeding him prescription food, nothing really seems to be stemming the tide.

The rest of the examples I'm about to give pale in comparison to Chino's situation but in the aggregate, they represent a pattern that's making me nervous.

My inherited model-year-2000 Honda Accord is most definitely showing its age and may very well be nearing the end of its useful life. I have given up trying to make the necessary repairs suggested by the multiple idiot lights illuminating my dashboard. As determined as I am to ignore them, the different sizes, shapes and colors of the various lights/symbols are drawing me ever closer to the wear and tear they represent. I fear the worst, as with Chino.

Now into a more mundane world, a world in which technology has ensnared us. What would we do without the various hand-held devices with which most of us are all too familiar? I'm getting regular messages that unless I act accordingly, I'm about to find out.

My museum-piece flip phone is dying. It won't hold a battery charge for nearly as long as it used to. Either I'm speaking into it or I'm speaking at it because I only have one bar and I need to charge it. As a result, it's become unreliable and a bit of a bother. If it had any legs, it would be on its last ones.

The battery-operated key fob for my car has recently advised me that it too is dying and, unless I make the necessary battery replacement, it will no longer start my car. Do I really need my key fob communicating with me? A metal key never bothered me with such trivialities and so long as I was inserting it into the car to which is was mated, I was usually able to reach my intended target – without any backtalk.

Finally, I've been receiving messages on my television that the remote control is unhappy and also needs a battery replacement and unless I respond, it too will fade into nothingness and I'll be staring at a blank screen. I don't mind a smart TV but I do object to one that persists in its demands.

All these elements, crucial in their own way, intersecting with my cancer life at the same time and all seemingly headed in the same direction: south.

I can ignore and compartmentalize some things, but I can't ignore and compartmentalize all things. After all, as the old joke "punchlines:" I gave you lots of warnings.

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