Monday, December 7, 2015

On the street, drugs, AIDS, nine months, park party

I write different things on different days and sometimes rearrange things, so who knows what day something is really written on.
Walking along upper Market/Castro/Noe/Church…
David and Charles on Castro... all those people
  • Super pretty young woman zipping along on a Razor scooter – Wow!
  • Man alternately raving and begging.
  • The man who sells flowers two blocks from my apartment, Guy, walking up the sidewalk carrying a bouquet. “Are you doing a home delivery?” “No, I’m starting my second career, singing in the studio.”
  • Lovers walking, embracing (this is a town full of lovers).
  • Two men shouting at each other, “m-f this, m-f that, g-d m-f the other.” They weren’t upset or anything, just shouting at each other.
  • Old man wearing a black leather jacket walking an old dog. “There’s a couple of old dogs,” I said. We both laughed and the dog just stood there, glad for a rest, I’m sure.
  • Many of the people with babies carry them in a harness so the baby is facing forward, little legs kind of flopping along. Wouldn’t it be grand to be able to see the world like those babies!

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Harvey Milk shrine in the Castro.
He was assassinated in 1978. 
I already knew that drugs like enalapril, omeprazole, levaquin, and so on can do wonderful things (and also can be dangerous). But it really came home to me when about 20 years ago I started prescribing them and following people over time. The first serious illness I cured was pneumonia – in a woman who wasn’t responding to treatment through a public hospital. I gave her Biaxin XL 1 gm qd for 10 days and I forget what else and she got well. I went to her apartment on Gaston several times working on getting the dosing right. Always a few gangsters around. For the rest of our time at Agape the woman would come in every few months mostly just to kind of say hello.
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Yesterday evening, David, Charles, and I walked to the Castro for a farewell dinner at Eureka!, one of my favorite places. When we turned on to Castro, I realized that the sidewalks were covered in chalked names. It was World AIDS Day and the names were a memorial to the many, many thousands who died from this terrible disease. I was stunned. There were little buckets of chalk for anyone who wanted to add a name or idea. After I got home I decided to walk back to Castro and add Rueben’s name. Little known fact about Leslie: she helped take care of Rueben when he was sick.
Sidewalk memorials. Rueben.
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Today marked nine months since Leslie passed away. What a ride we had and what (a different kind of) a ride this grief and mourning have been. Looking back on this time – and really it’s been hard since last November when Leslie began having difficulties – I realize I’ve gone about as deep into grief as I can go (famous last words!) and I realize I’m afraid of more pain. God almighty, it’s been hard. The first 6 months I was I don’t know what I was. I was going, Leslie, oh my sweet Leslie. I was in awe of her everything. I was so sad for her, for us, our beautiful life together. I spent a lot of time being grateful, too. The next two months I was feeling sorry for myself. The last 3 weeks I’m not as sad.
It was a perfect day to get a Christmas tree. I can hardly believe I did it. It would have been easy to think never mind and not have a tree. I bet nobody would be surprised. But there it is.
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Hippie Hill drum circle on a Sunday afternoon.
Here comes the didgeridoo!
Saturday: Breakfast at Taco Joint with Ron. Home. Go to used stuff store looking for ceramic pie pans, thinking wouldn’t it be nice to give people pecan or apple pies in nice pans. On the way, I saw a farmers market and knew Don would be there, so stopped and hung out with Don and Tia for awhile. On to used things store but no pie pans. Got a tree. Patched a hole in the side of the house where a squirrel had chewed its way in (Thanks for telling me, Jay!). Went to Whole Foods and ran into someone I’ve known a long time and had a disturbing interaction with him. Got lights on tree. Started with decos and John came by and hung out for awhile while I put decos on. Dinner at Whole Foods. I’m sure I would never bring my own Cajun chicken grilled in John’s “Big Green Egg” and my own bread from Acme Bakery and get $.78 worth of lettuce to enjoy the sometimes convivial atmosphere of WF (saw Stephen from psytrance scene, so that was nice). The front of the house smells like a Christmas tree.

Atrium Obscurum park party. Sarah Spirals
doing the opening dance/flagging
Sunday: Park party in Fort Worth with Atrium Obscurum. Brought cookies (chocolate chip with extra chocolate and nuts). Helped with set-up. Spent the afternoon talking with people – a lot of nice people who I like a lot. Good music throughout. It was a beautiful day.