My drugs have not improved, but my earworms have.
Here’s how my stem-cell-harvest drugs work (besides supposedly stimulating release of my stem cells for the next day’s harvest): I get the shot of Mozobil at 10 p.m., then head home exhausted after about 15 1/2 hours at the hospital, ready to sleep. Depending on how long it takes me to settle in and what we need to talk about, I crash hard sometime between 11 and midnight. Then about 1:30 or so, I wake up suddenly, as if someone came into the room and shook me hard. Then I try to fall back asleep. Then the earworms invade.
Sometimes I fall back asleep (and then wake up, as if startled again, at 3 or so). Sometimes I give up after 15, 20 or 30 minutes and get up to blog until I think I can get back to sleep again.
I don’t play much music myself. But I hear songs on TV or movies or when Mimi plays her iPhone as we’re driving. From one of those sources, I get my earworms, usually songs I don’t like. I can’t recall what the song was in July, the first time we tried a stem-cell harvest, but it was an annoying song and tortured me all week.
I’ll get to the new earworms shortly, but first an intentional detour into the harvest, my concentration issues and an explanatory note about this blog post:
Monday’s harvest was discouraging. The stem-cell yield has improved since then. I won’t know Friday’s final crop report for the week until Saturday, and then I’ll know my options for next steps.
The editor in me wants to work a little more on this detour and smooth it into the story. Or cut it out entirely. Or rewrite it entirely. But the writer in me understands that drugs, insomnia and fatigue are the heart of this story, even though I thought when I started that I was writing about earworms (and I’ll get back to them, I swear). I have to let this section be as disjointed as I feel.
And here’s a detour within a detour: I laughed aloud when I noticed I originally wrote earthworms in banging out that paragraph above. Edit, even when you’re writing under the influence of drugs.
But back to the concentration issues that have been as much a part of this week as earworms: I slog through the fog better if I can zero in on a particular blog post, but the multiple demands of everyday life tax my ability to concentrate, even on relatively simple tasks. I apologize to anyone who received a disjointed (or too intensely focused) email from me this week.
Wednesday’s swiftly shifting focus resulted in six posts on three of my blogs, plus a seventh that I waited till Thursday to post: I wrote about journalism ethics, Facebook and watchdog reporting on this blog; comebacks and Eric Hosmer on Hated Yankees and my slow harvest and the shelf life of stem cells on CaringBridge. And I’m not even going to count the social-media posts that sprinkled in around my blog posts.
Thursday’s concentration was entirely different, riveted (around occasional distractions) on one incredibly long post that will probably interest only a few fans, if any, of the Kansas City Royals, Boston Red Sox and New York Mets.
I’ll add a link to that later, But my earworms shifted me from that post to this (and we’ll be back to the earworms again shortly, I promise).
I’ll report on the week’s harvest later on CaringBridge when I know more. That’s where I usually post updates on my lymphoma treatment. This post started as a Facebook post, then I cut and pasted a paragraph into a CaringBridge draft. Then I cut and pasted the a couple more paragraphs here when I realized that this would be about writing and relate to an earlier post on this blog (also, I should note, written under the influence of drugs).
As I’ve written and edited this post, I alternately like and hate it. I don’t know if it’s the drug, the fatigue or because this is a departure from my usual writing style, but I have concluded in the past hour that this sucks, that I nailed it and that I’m almost but not quite there. I’d welcome your feedback to see if I finally made it work. If you’ve read this far, please scroll down while you listen to the videos and give me some feedback in the poll at the end.
Back to the damn earworms!
As I wrote Monday, Mimi and I saw “Rock the Kasbah” Sunday. It touched me like few movies do. So my earworms this week have been Yusuf Islam songs, “Wild World” and “Peace Train.” I think I prefer the Leem Lubany versions from the movie to the original songs. But earworms get implanted by repetition, so it’s the Cat Stevens versions that won’t let me sleep.
As earworms go, these are really pleasant. Only the drugs torture me this week.
Early Sunday updates:
Developments since this originally posted in the wee hours of Friday:
Harvest update: Didn’t hear from the doctor Saturday. Will call him this afternoon if he hasn’t called by then.
Concentration update: Writing still helps me get through the day, and my mind feels clearer. Two more baseball posts published Saturday, on Pete Rose and A-Rod in the Fox Sports Image Rehab Clinic and on friendly arguments about baseball and barbecue. I liked them both, but this remains my favorite writing of the week. From the poll results and your kind comments here and on social media (thanks!), I consider my efforts to write under the influence of drugs successful.
Earworm update: The drugs linger in the system a while (they did in July, too). I get nudged awake, rather than shoved, though. But I’m not awake as long. And the earworms are lullabies.