grateful. not dead.

Ripple in still water
When there is no pebble tossed
Nor wind to blow
— the prophet robert hunter

Back in the late ’60s, before it became trendy, Mo was a Serious Deadhead. She would regularly make the drive from Seattle to Haight-Ashbury, no small feat since she was only 5 years old at the time, to twirl endless nights away to the sounds of a band that became the soundtrack of a revolution.

She eventually joined the Grateful Dead’s caravan, trekking from show to show in her little psychedelic Malibu Barbie Microbus, drawing portraits of other patrons for spare change and shoving pussy willows up her nose in a precursor of Kesey’s Electric Kool Aid experiments.

She doesn’t talk much about those days, since what happened in San Francisco stays in San Francisco, largely because of the COVID quarantine. But now and again on the Bird Loop runs, she breaks out a beloved tie dye shirt from the old days to remember a time when we thought love could change the world.

Seems appropriate these days. Cancer is sort of like a Grateful Dead show. It’s a long ordeal, you never know what you’re going to get, there are a lot of drugs involved, and it’s never really over. On to the next show, the next bootleg tape, the next round of tests.

I got the test results this morning, and they’re mostly written in doctor hieroglyphics. Lots of “fine-needle aspirate specimen demonstrate a population of CD20 positive, CD10 positive, lambda monototpe B-Cells.” (I think lambda monotope was a rival fraternity during my wasted college years.) I have no idea what most of it means, sort of like the 2-hour drum solo tucked into the middle of every Dead show.

But there’s one moment of clarity (where the brownie kicks in at last): “These core biopsy specimens do not demonstrate evidence of higher grade follicular lymphoma or diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, but must be correlated with clinical and other information.”

Sounds promising, right? So I’m going to stop reading there until I get called back for an encore and have to worry about it again.

The Dead didn’t last forever. Neither will I. But maybe there are still some choruses left before the final bow. Time to dust off that entry form for Hotfoot Hamster.

There is a road, no simple highway
Between the dawn and the dark of night
And if you go no one may follow
That path is for your steps alone

Time to get stepping.

About gary

no sock monkeys were harmed in the making of this blog.
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