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Death by my side
February 21, 2000

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The car was pretty well frozen in, all right. Van had tried to move it after the first storm, but the ice had his wheels and he figured "what the heck." And a few storms later it was completely buried, with just a bit of taillights and bumper showing. The snowplows had shoved the snow up against it on all sides, trying to clear around it.

The landlord gave him a call and told him to move it. Mason and I were there to lend a hand. We had three shovels, a large brush, and attitude.

Right there, you can tell the snow was ahead on points.

Digging it out was an exercise in masochism. I would shovel a few out, then feel my head grow light, and lean on the shovel until it passed. Except each time it took longer and longer to pass. So I brushed off the car for a while, but even that was triggering it.

My Coreg is up to 100 mg/day, which is a massive dose for that drug. Between that and the rest I have low blood pressure right now. And I'm not fully recovered from the shock of increased medication, so I'm currently suffering from some of my symptoms. My breath is short, for instance.

Van made it in the car, trying to "rock it out" while we pushed on the front, and I felt darkness. Literal darkness went over my eyes. A few minutes before, Mason and Van had steadied me after a moment. Mason helped me through the near-blackout, and said "right, you're done." He led me to my car and helped me sit, and I put on the radio, and watched.

I felt... disassociated, from my body. It didn't hurt, per se. I didn't do enough to strain muscles. But it felt so remote. It was another reminder that I'm sick, and I started thinking, listening to All Things Considered and watching Mason and Van work on the car. I thought about my heart, and things that seemed pretty normal a year ago, versus what they were now. I wondered if I would end up just dying from such a thing. If just sitting in the car after vastly overdoing, I might slowly fade away, until Mason and Van returned and found me cold, All Things Considered still playing. I wondered how long I had -- how long I could reasonably expect to survive.

We tried to go out to the Tavern, but the wait was too long, and I shouldn't have been there anyway. I felt so horrid, just standing. We went back to my place. The plan was we'd hit the road, go down to Portsmouth for food. I mumbled something about begging off, and they decided to hit the grocery store and cook in instead. I lay on my couch, waiting for their return and feeling the wooziness, and thought about death. I wondered if I might die in my sleep, right there. Or die overnight, and be found the next day by concerned friends when I didn't show up to work.

I didn't die, of course, though I dreamed about fungus changing time. I don't know what that means, but it befuddled me entirely as I got out of bed and into the shower. I had no aches or pains, and the water felt hot and wonderful, and I let it soak into my bones. I didn't feel lightheaded or woozy at all, or anywhere near death.

But death's close by. A gentle companion, waiting patiently. He sits in the other chair in my office while I type this, and reads through my books and things. He'll walk with me to the dining hall and eat with us, later today. He'll go home with me, and he'll watch me sleep. He doesn't mean to scare me. He's just passing the time with me. There when I'm at my lowest. Not inviting me to come any sooner than I need to, but ready when my heart or body give up that last bit, to help me along.

This seems to be the time of year when everything slows down for Journallers. Every one of my usuals, including the rock steady Irrelevant Front, have had long gaps of time. Some, like my beloved This Slow Crafting of a Life have passed on to the great journal annals in the sky.

And mine? Heck, by now you're used to this, right?

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