Sunday, December 9, 2007

Update from New York

Thanks to all who have been in touch regarding my uncle and his pancreatic cancer. I flew into New York and prebooked on the Super Shuttle from LGA to the hospital in New York, figuring that was the fastest and least expensive option. Please, y'all, never, never, never do that. It took nearly three hours for me to get from LGA to North Harlem, a crime and outrage.

My uncle, who is 65, was quite frail and a little deluded from the morphine. He was able to chat although he got irritable and tired after a short bit. But he was surprisingly gleeful to see me. I say "surprisingly" because he's always been a bit distant. This is my aunt's husband, and while I've known him most of my whole life, I've always had the sense he looked down on my part of the family. My aunt and uncle are the interesting ones, the DEMOCRATS who lived in THE CITY, exercised with a RACEWALKING group in Central Park and went to the OPERA, the BALLET and other such cultured activities. We were the unwashed but moneyed suburbanites.

In recent years, Uncle Richard has seemed to warm to me, largely because I followed such a
different path than my family and I turned out to be gay and a writer. But still, I didn't expect the gratitude I experienced when I entered the hospital room, un-self-consciously
embraced him despite his frightful appearance and asked him very bluntly if quietly about why he had chosen to pass on further care and what he was thinking about.

I stayed for a while, then went to Brooklyn to stay with my friend Adam. Now I'm heading back to the hospital. Still not sure how long I'm staying.