Dear Lovely Friends

By: Jehangir Saleh
Written: June 13, 2010

Dear lovely friends,

I wanted to say something about my health, since things have changed for now. I’ve been in the hospital for 55 days. This length of time is unfortunate, but not really new for me. What is new, however, is that I don’t seem to be improving. My lung function sits stubbornly at 55% (baseline: 70%). I am coughing up abstract art. My white blood cell count (a marker of infection) is bouncing around. My lungs don’t feel great, especially at night.

One big problem is that the mucus sitting in my lungs is thick, murky and very infected. I have been trying new airway clearance techniques. It’s helping a bit, but I’m not winning. Clearly, this is not the kind of game where they are winners or losers. Rather, it’s the kind of game where the rules keep changing and no one tells you about it, such that you’ve been strategizing for an outcome based on rules that no longer apply. The space you’ve been moving toward has already become “somewhere else”, except your sister misplaced the little guide book that came with the game, so no one is telling you what that “somewhere else” looks like.

I feel a bit like I’m in a play where initial scene just repeats, and the dialogue is poorly written. There’s a lot of “yesterday is like today, which is going to be like tomorrow”.

I’m trying hard to figure out how to make sure this difficult, indeterminate period doesn’t generate addictions or make me stop bathing. I was thinking about what might help. So starting today: MY HOSPITAL ROOM IS NOW A COFFEE SHOP (and, as long as the doctors aren’t around, an oxygen bar.)

Conveniently located in the heart of downtown Toronto, we serve really high quality tea and low-quality chocolates, have free wireless, are wheel chair accessible and sometimes have live music performances. Plus, immediate access to medical care should the need arise!

I’m bloody serious. If you’re willing, please bring your work or stuff or whatever you usually do in a library or other coffee shop, and come do it here, where your presence can my reason to take a bath in the little sink they let me do that in. There is free wireless. I’m open from 8am to midnight. The number is 416 864 5454 x. 46811. It helps if you can plan ahead a bit, but recently, I’ve things have been pretty slow.

Seriously. Come here. I’ll make us tea. And then we can, in the same space, work on our respective projects or generate one together. You’ll get company, chocolate and free tea. Or, if you want to and are able, you could help me with my mucus drainage therapies.

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