Tuesday, June 10, 2008

day +296

Today was a pretty long day for me. It was made longer and more uncomfortable by the stifling heat that continued to suffocate NYC and the rest of the region. Indeed, it was my first time out of the apartment in three days. I felt no desire to venture outside amidst this heatwave. Outdoor photography? Ha! No way! Since I'm still immunosuppressed, I must continue to take care when outside and days like today surely don't make it easier. I applied SPF 45 sunblock lotion all over my arms and wore the UPenn baseball cap that my sister gave me back on Christmas Day. Had it not been for the numerous appointments that I had today, I probably would have stayed inside for yet another day.

So, what did I do on day +296? Well, I started it out in the early morning with a follow-up appointment with Dr. Levine, the transplant psychiatrist. All went well. He thinks I'm progressing along so well that at this point there's no need to see him as regularly as before. In fact, he proposed that we check-in around October at which time I should be back from roughing it out west. I agreed.

I have had transient periods of minor depression, but nothing very serious. Nothing that requires medication. Just the normal doubts, frustrations, and yes, anger, that a young adult deals with when after five years of treatment and two transplants, he or she remains optimistic but unsure about the road ahead.

Following the appointment, I walked about ten blocks north to a frame store that is just opposite Sloan-Kettering. I dropped the remaining prints needed to be framed for those, who requested copies at the Patient Art Exhibition. They do pretty quick work there. All seven of the prints will be ready on Monday.

Following that, I had a bit of time to burn until my rendezvous with Barbra. We had planned to meet up to watch the film, Mongol, on the Upper West Side at 2:05. Normally, I'd walk from where I was on the East Side, traversing through Central Park, to get to the theater on the West Side, but not in this weather. So, I did the prudent thing. I hailed a cab.

While on the Upper West Side, I sought an air conditioned refuge from the onerous heat. So, I stopped inside the large Barnes & Nobles on Broadway nearby Lincoln Center. Bookstores are great places to waste time (and spend money that I don't have). Why, I don't know, but I gravitated immediately to the New York City section of the store. Not History or Literature which is the case generally. There I browsed the books and wasn't surprised to find that the shelf devoted to the Bronx had less books than that of Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan respectively. In fact, the Bronx didn't even have the prestige of its own shelf. Books about Brooklyn ran over into the Bronx shelf taking up almost half of its space.

I picked up two books in the New York City section. They're part of the Images of America series by Arcadia Publishing: Washington Heights, Inwood, and Marble Hill and the South Bronx. A few weeks ago, I purchased two other books from this series: The Queensboro Bridge (which is known more commonly as the 59th Street Bridge) and The East River. Interested in local history? Arcadia Publishing is great.

I also browsed through the adjacent Travel section, where I found and purchased the National Geographic Guide to the National Parks of the United States and Lonely Planet's 4th Edition (May 2008) of Washington, Oregon & the Pacific Northwest. I own a copy of Pacific Northwest, which is also by Lonely Planet, but it dates to May 2002. I figured this later edition would be much better as I continue to plan the last leg of my trip.

Ready to eat lunch before the watching Mongol later in the afternoon, I had to find a place but I was wary about eating from a vendor and the sushi restaurant nearby was no-go (unfortunately). But I remembered that a long time ago, Su and I ate at the Whole Foods cafeteria located at the Time Warner Building at Columbus Circle, so I headed there where I had Indian food and then, chilled out (literally) looking through my recent book purchases before making my way to meet Barbra at the theater.

Mongol, which is nominated for Best Foreign Language Film by the Academy Awards, is pretty remarkable. The cinematography is amazing, in particular the scenes with the galloping horses. The scenery is breathtaking. The battle scenes, which reminded me of Gladiator and Alexander, are impressive. Even just the trance-like sound of the Mongolian language is mesmerizing. The dialogue, I found, to be a bit dull and simplistic at times but I weathered it. And the plot was confusing at points. But the overall flare of the film is captivating. Though the subject of the Mongols was an important element of my M.A. thesis, I must confess that didn't follow the story of Genghiz Khan as portrayed in the film. It was as if I was learning about his life for the first time. I don't know if that's because of the liberty taken by the film or perhaps what may be more likely and that is that I'm more familiar with his descendants and not the great Khan. In writing my thesis about Mamluk relations with the Byzantines and Mongols, I researched the lives of his descendants, who played integral roles in the geopolitics of Europe and the Islamic World during the 13th to 15th centuries.

The evening ended at Sloan-Kettering where I attended the National Survivors Day Celebration, which was fantastic. The speakers were remarkable and I caught up with a couple of fellow prizefighters. The first issue of Bridges: Connecting Cancer Survivors was distributed there. I and two other members of the Bridges' committee were in agreement that it was a bit surreal seeing others reading our stories. All this publicity is so new to us. Cathy Bueti, the author of Breastless in the City, was the keynote speaker and she was terrific.


Comment Blogger One Mother with Cancer said...

I printed off a copy of the Bridges, how wonderful!!! You must be so excited... I read the whole issue, by the way your family is beautiful, and you could tell that they were really proud of you. Congratulations.

11:45 AM  

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