It was a good week all in all. Last week that is. I was off the Ofev (150 Mg) and after three days the diarrhea was gone. I could plan the day a bit then. I felt quite good, was actually into exercises, began eating and mostly enjoying it, and returned to reading and a bit of writing.
That may all be over now. We shall see. Today I began taking Ofev again, but at a reduced dosage of 100 Mg. I think I may have mentioned that it is designed to slow the progressions of the fibrosis, but does not cure it.) I took a pill at around seven a.m. and now, just shy of two hours later, I feel a familiar strangeness in my body. It is most pronounced in my face of all things. A kind of headache in my eyes and also a something, not a tingling per se, but a “presence” through my body. I am just a little dizzy. Well, shit. Here we go again.
I am reminded of Howard Becker, sociologist, who had done his dissertation on jazz musicians smoking marijuana. Smart guy. I believe this would have been in the 1960s. A significant finding of his, which I find less and less tenable over time, is that one is actually taught to enjoy marijuana.
Specifically, a novice smokes some while a more experienced user coaches or facilitates him or her in that the strange feelings such as a dizziness, dry mouth, hunger, slowed time and a “buzzing” throughout the body is a good thing, otherwise it might be considered as unpleasant. Well now… I do recall one instance in my teens that, although a single case, supports this. I recall being in a car with my buddies. It was during high school. We, a couple of experienced marijuana users, including myself, although perhaps less so, introduced a mutual friend to the drug. Yes, in a car. Yes, during high school. And maybe, perhaps, already being followed around by the “narcs”. That is true. Consider now that this would have been 1966 or 1967 in San Jose CA, the soon to become the prime city of an emerging Silicon Valley. But that doesn’t matter. So this kid takes a toke or two and soon starts talking loudly about how it isn’t doing anything. His eyes are wide and a bit strange. He was, in the parlance of the drug world, “fucked up”. Yep. But we had to explain to him that what was happening to him was a good thing and to roll with it. We thought it very, very funny of course, that he didn’t know he was stoned. It was a scene out of a movie, but one of several that had not yet been made. That would be a decade or two later. Regardless, that scene always came to mind when explaining Howard Becker’s theory of deviance to my classes, and how it is not the act of deviance that is of importance, but rather how a society comes to label it as so.
Where was I? Oh yes, these odd feelings throughout my body unfortunately do not feel pleasant in the least. Of this I feel a bit cheated, although it appears to be the norm for such medications. Other than the likes of Diazepam and pain killers I have not heard of anyone enjoying medicinal side effects. Alas.
So what is there of any philosophical importance to this entry? Well, via a phone conversation with a person who I think can now be considered a friend, he brought up the notion of how when people are reminded of death, their behavior tends towards fear, resentment, and resistance and hostility to other groups. The name of social psychologist, Sheldon Solomon Solomon,
came up so later I knocked around the internet a bit and found a one hour lecture by him on Youtube that works pretty well as a summation of this idea.
It was based on his book The Worm at the Core, which is basically on the how we perceive death and how such perceptions exist as cultural phenomena. Or something like that. When nobody’s around I’ll probably watch it again.
I did begin another documentary on death called “The Denial of Death” claiming to be based on the work of Ernest Becker (yes, a different Becker from the one mentioned earlier) who devoted a lifetime exploring the topic. The film was a bust however and I quit watching it. I was a mix of interviews and a travel log. It lacked the intellectual zeal of the previous one.
So my quest continues. I need to go a bit further than simply playing over and over ,as well as reading, the works of Alan Watts. Although I wouldn’t be at all surprised if after all is said and done, I ended up there after all.