I’m working on a more topical post about exposing things online, from whistleblowing to shaming to filming excessive force. That’s going to take a while, partially because I’m a bit overwhelmed by RL things. If you care to read some personal rambling, I’ll continue below the image. Otherwise, see you soon.
[Quick background for anyone new: My Second Life partner Jakob, who has been my closest companion other than my husband for the past two and a half years, has stage IV stomach cancer. His symptoms developed suddenly in November; he had surgery in December to remove a tumor that had metastasized to his brain, had whole brain radiation in January, and began palliative chemotherapy in February. Next month is a vacation that we began planning almost a year before he became sick: I’ll be traveling in Europe with my husband for 18 days and after that Jakob and I planned to rent a place in the Alps — a few hours away from his home — and explore from that base for two more weeks.]
Jakob was just in the hospital for a week because of his blood sugar scare (he seems to have developed treatment-induced diabetes from the chemo, along with anemia, hypercalcemia, and pneumonia). He has been rocketing from hypoglycemia up to critically high blood sugar levels. He returned home Friday morning, but I’ve received no messages since then and he hasn’t been online. I contacted his sister, who told me that he isn’t well. He continues to have problems and he fell this morning. He didn’t hurt himself, but he needs and will soon have daily in-home help. Update: I got a short email from him after I had written this but before publishing it, saying that he’ll be online tomorrow to watch the Bahrain Grand Prix with me. Fingers crossed.
I feel so bad for him. He had very little experience with illness and then his life changed suddenly and horribly. Once we saw how sick chemo was making him, I wanted to be more realistic and stay closer to his home for our vacation, but he refused to alter the plans. He told me he was looking forward to the trip and I know it was motivation for him to keep going. He was deeply in denial, too.
Here we are. I leave for Europe in nine days and am scheduled to pick him up in under a month. In his current state (his sister describes him as “listless and unmotivated”, almost unrecognizable to her), I wonder if he has reached the realization that the trip, as planned, is no longer possible. He needs daily help for everything from changing his IV to basic hygiene. I can’t do those things, especially not in a rental apartment in a small village, a four hour drive from his doctors. What a tragedy.
On a selfish note, I’m devastated. I’m losing my dear friend in bits and pieces. Some days he’s chatty and sweet, though he doesn’t have energy for long talks anymore. Some days he’s confused or just missing. I’m frustrated that on the trip with my husband, his first time in Europe, I’ll be fighting to stay present and not worried about Jakob or what comes next. I’m angry that Jakob has refused to make new plans (though I understand and empathize). Regardless of how I feel about it, I’ll make the best I can of the entire trip. I expect that my time with Jakob will be spent at his home. Maybe he will be well enough for short day trips. I meet him fewer than four weeks from now and I feel like I’m racing the clock.
Thanks for letting me vent.