Found this draft for an email which I wrote for my close friend who is a doctor, a few days after my father was put in hospital, on a computer I haven’t used since my father’s death:
Dear [his name]
Thank you for your text. I will write some more on what you said in a while when I connect to the internet.
All exams went well. Cheers! I passed my oral exam gloriously, was examined in the subject of STRESS and used for the occasion among other things my own physiological reactions to describe the rising pulse, the arousal, ”Yes! What do we call it?” asked the professor and made little movements with his arms, priming me for: FIGHT OR FLIGHT! After which they asked me whether I wanted to draw anything, and I most certainly did, so I drew a curve which showed how the level of arousal rose and fell and said something about it which I had half-read on the train that morning. I knew that both my professor and the censor were very interested in stress, so I had made sure to have a look at the chapter on it, and was lucky enough that they referenced the figures and graphs I had looked at. I also made sure to use a direct quote from one of the theorists we had written about in our project. And played a short piece on the trumpet.
I am writing you today because my father has been put in hospital. He has pneumonia. That was a bit of a frightening sentence to write. I am high and have in front of me also a glass of wine. But I am not drunk. He was committed yesterday, his helper dialed 911. I was called by the emergency ward. I had slept long into the day, my girlfriend [I used her name] and I had visited my father [I used his name] the night before and he had not been quite well. He had pointed to himself and pointed a thumb downward. We ate some thai food we had brought, saw WALL-E in HD on his new TV, which didn’t look too good because the TV interpolates to make more frames between the existing ones, to make the picture more ”flowing”. It makes everything recorded with cameras look like the cameras were video cameras from around the turn of the century and animation films look like the in-game renderings of introductory stories to video games. I couldn’t find out how to turn it off. My father slept quite a bit during the movie. When we left we talked about that he should have seen something he knew.
When I was called I was in the kitchen. I prepared myself, I think, when I heard the phone ring, that it possibly concerned him. Maybe I didn’t prepare myself until I looked at the display, or until I saw that there was no picture in the background, or maybe I didn’t prepare myself until I saw the number and knew that I didn’t know it. But I was prepared when I picked it up, but I don’t think I thought of the possibility that it could be the hospital calling.
I am sorry to say this, but nicotine is a substance I can feel it would be nice to have some of right now. It is an interesting question: is that feeling the product of a mental disorder? Or is it only the overuse of a substance, you do not wish to take, that can be defined as such?
”It’s good that you are working on quitting,” I wrote my mom earlier. I should have written ”I am happy” in stead of ”It is good”.
I believe he will make it. Is it because I don’t want to think about deaf, I wrote. But I meant, of course: death. Crap of God. Because is a violent word, isn’t it? Alternatively, I have trouble preparing for the possibility of his death, because I have prepared myself for it so many times, or so many times when it hasn’t happened.
Thank you by the way for helping me choose a pipe last. It is an excellent pipe which I look forward to sharing with you again soon.
About that habituation – I think I am experiencing feelings I haven’t had for a while. But now, there he lies. And that’s where I came from. I was standing in the kitchen and was told on the phone by a nurse at the hospital, that my father was there with them, and that he had left his apartment without his keys, and would I get them for him. I answered that I would, and that I would also bring his computer (his tablet PC with the synthetic voice software) and asked if they would ask if him if there was anything else I needed to get and bring. The nurse said that he was pointing toward his mouth, and we came to the conclusion that he was missing his dentures. I reminded myself of the things, I needed to remember: Dentures, computer, keys. Keys, computer, dentures.
I had just prepared rice and heated the left overs from the thai food we had eaten at his house the day before. I packed the food in a plastic container and left the pots on the stove. What else? I was on the bus. Then I opened the door: put the key in the box to the right of the door, turned, the mechanic arm above the door opened the door, but the chair in his living room was empty. I picked up the things, he had asked me to, and took a Coke for him from the fridge, ate some of the candy he always has lying around for his helpers. I took an orange soda for myself. I took the bus to the hospital.
I think I must be drunk now. Before today I haven’t been high since you left. It’s okay.
He is in the lung ward at the hospital. On the third floor of the same building where the neurological ward is, where I met with the counselor who couldn’t help me. We didn’t click, I didn’t feel I could trust that she understood what I said. But he is fine there. All the doctors and nurses I have met there have been super great, and I think it is good for him to have a good experience with a hospital. I don’t think he has been in a hospital since he got his diagnosis 8 years and two months ago. I wonder how coherent this is.
He has pneumonia. That is what I wanted to write. And beyond that: I think he is okay. I am also okay. Hope you are well.
I’ll be sending this now. It is 4:20 AM.