Thursday, March 8, 2012

Leukemia and other things


My wife has sewn a bookcover for me. This cover holds a spiral notebook. And, It DOES dress up a Walmart spiral notebook. On the front is a zipper leading to a pocket for my Parker Pen - or a ruler, I suppose.

This cloth cover -- is covered, you might say, with colorful cartoon dachshunds. I've had the cover for quite a while but couldn't think of a use. Now I have - This booklet will be to take notes for future blogs or blugs as I prefer to write. It will become somewhat of a diary of nonsense ideas.

My wife's father had several books of info he had written over the year. He kept records of every detail of the day. For a guy in his nineties, this was an interesting read. Time / temp - so forth ... every piece of mail received was listed down to the advertisements. Everything hand written and detailed.


When I was a much smaller boy - couldn't tell you my age at that time - my parents took me to a store in order to buy anything I wanted. Anything. This would have been during the early 1940s, possibly during the war, and a small town probably in Oklahoma. It had to be a clothing store - maybe a five and dime - just don't know for sure. Anything I wanted. There were no Toys-R-Us or sport supply stores or toy train stores or Walmarts for that matter. You get the picture.

Repeating myself. My mom told me this stone when I was about 30 or 40. Buy anything I wanted she said. I bought a leather jacket - this was before plastics - so it must have been real leather. I don't remember the jacket or my age or where we lived at the time. I'd guess some small town in central Oklahoma.

You see, they thought I had leukemia. I can't remember seeing a doctor or anyone crying as they hugged me - times were different. Mom told me that Leukemia was what the doctors thought. Just for the record, I did not die from Leukemia. And, I got a new leather jacket.


New Subj. Let's jump ahead to about 1973-74 or so. Son Roger was born on 7-7-70. We thought that was pretty unique. Since then it seems many dates are unique. this year we see 12-12-12 - unique, if the Mayans allow us to live past that date.

When my son Roger was about 3 or 4 (I think) Roger came down with Mono, the students call it the kissing disease. We were living in Ardmore at the time. Nobody could figure out how he got Mono. He survived the attack.


Associated thought. Over the years I have thought about this off and on. In my youth doctors - the medical "profession" - knew very little about Leukemia and even less about Mono. It is only recent history that someone has figured it all out.

I believe Mono is a disease related to one's blood. Leukemia is related to one's blood. I have developed a theory over the years. I did not have Leukemia at all; I believe that I had Mono as a child and they confused it with the other one. My white blood counts were out of whack. And, after having Mono all those years ago, I still carried the bug - probably still do. I think I am a Mono Carrier, and Roger got it from me. That is what I think....could be wrong.

Many of my students have had Mono over the years. Well, several have had it especially in my early teaching years. Back then a band director would just grab anyone's horn and blow it. Later years saw the end to that practice as we became aware of really serious illnesses and spreading the bad germs.


One final bit. My own father died from Leukemia. He was in his early 60s and was hospitalized at the M.D. Anderson Cancer center in Houston. We - all the family - were there in the final days. We boys would line up in the basement and give platelets - the white blood cells - spin the white ones out and give us back our reds. The whites were taken upstairs to my father's room. He would get these cells and for a while would be much better.

I remember the blood folks were really nice to us. On particular lady went out of her way to tell me how good my platelets were. This made me feel excellent. It is funny what you remember about those times. At the time I thought she actually knew something - naive is my middle name. She didn't have the slightest idea what happened after the blood left the basement. At the time, it was what I needed to hear.

My father died during that last visit. All of us 4 boys were there giving platelets. Leukemia is not a fun thing.

I can remember 3 more events from that time in the hospital. One was how my mom hovered over my dad tending or trying to tend to him. All those years of bickering and fusing - married a long time - it made no difference. She was right there trying to make him comfortable.

Secondly I remember my brother Jim standing by the bed - then leaning over and giving my father a hug. Pop said, "What's this?" And finally, I was being myself trying to lighten things somewhat. I don't remember what I said - but my dad said, "Not now Mike; I don't have time for that now." It is funny what memories stick in your mind.

We buried my father in a little cemetary on a hill outside his hometown, Temple, Oklahoma. None of us go back very often. He and Mom and my oldest brother Marshall all are there. Yes, dad died that year in Houston. Y'know, he never did get a leather jacket.

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