Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Sergeant-Major Ambien

It's Wednesday June 21st at 2:15 a.m. and you know what that means. Deep introspection. Or as deep as my shallow mind can go.

Yesterday I had my second round of plan B chemo which, as the interested or alert among you will remember involves copious infusion of anti-nausea drugs. Now these drugs are better than any Starbucks "triple-shot mocha frappucino, hold the cream but double-blend please" drink for wiring the mind. So after treatment, I'm awake with a huge vengeance and with myriads of random and tangled thoughts revolving around in my head; thoughts of western, eastern, and new-age medicine, thoughts of mortality, lifestyle, possibilities, probabilities, and so on. But, I'm in week 5 now, so I know what to do. Two Ambien sleeping pills. I've seen the adverts. A couple of Ambien and I will be visited by several blue butterflys that will fly in my bedroom window and proceed to caress my forehead until I fall asleep alongside my new golden retriever puppy. Then I will awake and go for a run in the park with my new pup, picking up pup poop as we go (the ad didn't show that bit).

The Ambien doesn't work, at least not to soothe me to sleep. Partly because our bedroom window is shut tight against the heat and humidity outside so the butterflys can't get in and we only have an old cranky cat. But it is having another effect - it's a rather efficient thought-marshaller. It's acting a bit like a sergeant-major and whipping those thoughts into line.

"Hey, you. You, laddy, the acupuncture thought, what are you doing in there with the radiation thoughts? Come over here to Chinese medicine immediately. Drop and give me twenty and don't let me catch you in there again."

So here I am, awake in the middle of the night, with all these wonderful compartmented thoughts on my/our lives so far, my/our lives in the future, treatments being undertaken, treatments being recommended by both the medical and the lay communities, the increased imminence of morbidity and death, either from the cancer itself or from the treatment and surgery to defeat it.

So what do I do with these here thoughts? Let's examine a tough one in more detail, the death and dying group. Let me start by saying that I in no way have a death wish or continuous morbid thoughts about death. The whole purpose of what I am undertaking here is to cure the beast and continue living the life that I love. But I'm ready to opinionate a little on the other side of that coin.

We all know at some intellectual level, that we will die some day. Most of us, I guess, keep that nasty little one tucked away in some hidden recess of the mind and never offer it any real exercise or chance to debate with its peers. In offering my own thoughts here, I need to set a background to them. I am an atheist. I cannot subscribe to the idea of some supreme being, sitting there monitoring the world, visiting death and destruction on people, and then in the midst of all that, offering a miracle rescue to an individual or group who then thanks the being for choosing them for saviour out of the multitude. I cannot subscribe to a belief that has as the answer to its most unanswerable questions "God works in mysterious ways". I'm honestly not trying to preach atheism; that to me is as bad as preaching any other organized religion. Sprituality is personal and whatever the individual deems it to be. Humans like to share their thoughts and dreams with one another, including their spiritual thoughts. As soon as we begin to organize around any kind of spiritual like-mindedness, we develop a religion. Or a gang. And our gang is always better than your gang.

Many may think that there's not much substance there to support me when I am under serious duress. But my spirituality revolves around the life I have now and have lived, not what I think may be waiting for me afterwards. I believe that death is the end of life entirely; for me there is no afterlife or consciousness. I'm not scared of death though. If I were to die now, I would die a happy man. All that life has given me is good - a great marriage, children, grandchildren, all that you can do to pass along your legacy is pass along good genes and good memories, and together Kath and I have done that. So there are my spiritual underpinnings.

I was brought up a Christian and bringing up a child's mind to accept any kind of religion sets very deep roots and leaves a lingering guilt about turning away from those roots in later life. So this begs the question - What if, after all this, I'm wrong? Won't it be a shock to die and find myself fully awake and in the presence of sergeant-major Ambien?

"You there. You're one of the unbelievers, aren't you? Took the wrong bet there laddy. Join this enormous gang over here and we'll march you off to your rightful area to live for all eternity. You didn't do bad in the commandments - well you did covet a bit but no more than normal - but you failed on the big one - there is only one true God. Sorry, that's an automatic fail. Join this group of rapists and murderers over here please. You lot get the gray stormy clouds and the broken harps."

Finally, I have no wish to denigrate the beliefs or faith of anyone else, reading this or not. These are just my thoughts that sustain me. And for those who have offered me prayers, thank you and I accept them whole-heartedly. They are positive thoughts and I will take all that I'm offered.


At 12:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK Roger - Another ace posting. You must keep these and publish them because you really have the 'gift of the gab'. Were you ever in Sales??? You'd have made a fortune!!

As a cancer survivor who 'found religion' in my quest I am so in tune with your posting. Life is what it is. Whatever works: works. I'm glad you have Kathy in your quest and you are both constantly in my thoughts.


At 2:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The highly popular sleep medication ambien is used for short term sleep treatment only, i.e. for 7 to 10 days and it is known that Ambien is a prescription-based drug and hence should be used only after getting hold of a doctor’s prescription. Use Ambien as per the instructions of the doctor to cure your sleep problems and bear in mind that this medicine is likely to become ineffective if used for a long term and hence the use of this drug should be strictly supervised by a physician.

At 3:21 AM, Anonymous zolpidem ambien said...

Most of the time it works pretty well but I have had nights where my mind was racing so bad that I still could not sleep. So far this has been the best treatment though.


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