It doesn’t look like I’ll be in swimming in Provincetown next week. My ear started bothering me this morning. It felt itchy and warm, and even started to hurt in the ear canal. The ear itself, especially around the edges and the lobe, turned fairly bright red. So I got an immediate appointment with the ear doctor and headed up there. He looked in my ear and discovered a fair amount of fungus growing in the ear canal, a known potential side effect of extended use of antibiotic drops. He cleaned it all out and filled my ear with deep dark purple ink that will permanently stain all that it touches (so old pillowcases and sheets on the bed tonight) and presumably kill the fungus, and he gave me prescriptions for anti-fungal drops and still more antibiotic drops to follow up with. We’ll check in Thursday afternoon to see where things stand. If I respond well to the treatment and things have improved enough, I should be able to go on vacation, though there’ll be no swimming. If I don’t and they haven’t, there’s the real possibility that I’ll have to stay home for further treatment.

Right now, my focus is just on getting the healing process far enough along so that I can go on vacation. He couldn’t really tell me much about the longer term impact of this. The fungus apparently sends roots deep into the soft tissue that’s been having so much trouble healing, and where the fungus is removed, there will be holes and granulation tissue, which will have to heal all over again, a process with which we’ve had limited luck at best so far. He can’t yet say how extensive a problem this will be.

This is the first time I’m really ready to give up, whatever that means (what would I surrender, and to whom?). So far, it’s just me sitting here sobbing that I’m scared. I’ve had so much help and support from so many people, and it’s meant so much to me, and, perhaps bizarrely, I feel like I’ve let everyone down. I suppose in the most immediate sense, that comes from all of the people who’ve planned their vacations around being in Provincetown with me and my wife. But I’ll absorb it and get on with things–the catharsis of crying certainly helps. And I do have enough of a sense of perspective to understand that having a fairly luxurious vacation disrupted is hardly the worst thing that can happen to a person. Hell, our next door neighbor has just had her last attempt at cancer treatment fail, and now she’s dying. That is their suffering, and blessedly, mine is small by comparison.

I keep thinking of a Samuel Beckett quote from The Unnamable: “…I can’t go on, I’ll go on.” That is our bravery in the face of adversity, because what would not going on mean?

5 Replies to “EPIC FAIL!”

  1. Yes, crying does help in the face of that kind of adversity. And it’s not schadenfreude to contemplate the greater suffering of others. It’s necessary identification of scale and extremity within one’s own situation.

    I wish you healing in this latest episode, Morgan, and courage for the duration.


  2. Thanks. I think courage is precisely what I need to develop at this point. I would love to say that I had my little fit yesterday and I feel better now, and that may have been true for a few hours, but it’s not this morning.

    The truth is that I won’t feel better until this is fixed, but I have to be prepared for the real possibility that things won’t get fixed, at least not in the way or on the schedule that I’d like. I’m finding it increasingly difficult to walk the tightrope between being realistic and prepared for setbacks on the one hand, and staying optimistic in hopes of positively influencing the evolution of this situation on the other hand. And trying to manage that state for the next two days with not much to do and no way to measure progress is rather excruciating.

    Much as violence disturbs me, I have a soft spot for war movies, especially epics like The Longest Day, with their compelling portrayals of young men and women going forward with what they must with no thought to the likely outcome of their efforts, especially for themselves. That is bravery–not doing something dangerous because you’re strong, but but doing what you must without any thought any thought to how difficult or dangerous it might be. That is the courage that I need now.


  3. Oh hai. I hope you feel better, in all ways, and get to go to P-town. We were swimming
    there the first week of Oct., so if you postpone, maybe you can swim later? Anyways,
    can you say with any certaintly what kind of music you like when you need cheering up,
    and I’ll make you a CD?


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