Chet The Scribe

My name is Chet Meeks. I am a 32 year old sociologist. I started this blog so that I can write about the things that interest me. I hope you enjoy it.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Autumn and Melancholia: Tache's Return

Dear "People":

Chet thought that he could encrypt his password and keep me from writing. But as I have tried to explain to him, I write not because I wish to write, but because I must write. Chet does not understand this, because he is thick-headed, and because he is not a writer.

Last week we were visited by Exhibits A and B of Chet's psychopathology: Asa and Heidi Meeks. It was a veritable Oedipal orgy around here -- enough sublimated anxiety and unrequited desire to choke a horse. And also, way too much niceness!

Asa and Heidi arrived Tuesday evening and Chet made dinner for them. When, I ask, does Chet ever make dinner for me???!!! I did not punish you as a child, Chet; nor did I instill in you all the neurotic energy needed to supply a small city with electricity during the month of December. Those nervous habits you have -- they didn't come from me! Yet Asa and Heidi get green curry shrimp? What an ingrate!

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, I had to witness something truly disturbing: Asa & Heidi taking turns RUBBING CHET'S FEET. Chet believes that the "toxins are collecting" in his feet. There's enough in that one statement to keep New York's best analyst busy for a year. I tell you -- I wish I could bottle and sell parental guilt. Dear Asa and Heidi, let me tell you something -- this child of yours would have turned out bonkers no matter how you raised him. I don't know why on earth you would allow yourselves to be cajoled into being Chet's servant, but stop it! We're talking about someone who used to chew off his jacket sleeves with his own teeth! This was long before his oedipal resolution, so trust me, it's not your fault. It's not your fault he's crazy. No amount of foot-rubbing is going to cure what ails Chet.

Fantasy and reality are not separate ontologies. Nor are they antinomies. Rather, fantasy structures reality, yet never in a straightforward way. What we see before us as "real" is always the result of some hidden desire we cannot see. The basis of this fantasy, this desire, then, is the only properly suitable philosophical question. For fantasy is not a thing. It is, rather, the internalization of a loss -- and not a real loss, but rather a hypothetical one -- a melancholic loss. All loss -- of the mother, of love, even of life itself -- is not a real event, but rather only the negative effect of an imagined presence, which combined create desire, and then, reality itself. To put it more plainly, the oedipal drama is not the result of the actual loss of the mother, but rather of her hypothetical and melancholic loss -- the result, that is, of the child's imagining that he ever possessed the mother in the first place, giving rise to all of the desires that plague you poor humans.

What we see before us, then, as the real thing, is not, in fact, a thing. Reality is the result of a double-fantasy -- a fantasy first of having had something, and a fantasy second, of the loss of that something.

Freud (above), of course, never understood this, believing foolishly, as moderns did, far too much in the reality principle. Only dear Gerhard Richter (whose "Family at the Seaside" appears above-right) truly understood the double role of fantasy in the tenuous construction of reality and, indeed, in the human dilemma itself.

Of course cats don't care about reality -- only you humans do!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

#4: Mom and Dad

For treatment #4, my parents came to Atlanta. Above, you can see my mother cooking a turkey (which is sure to be delicious because we used the Williams Sonoma turkey, and b/c my Mom is a good cook). And you can also see my father doing one of the things he's really good at -- sleeping on the sofa and watching football.

See Tache and Carla -- people CAN relax on my sofa.

Treatment #4 went fine. It's basically the same routine, which I'm getting used to: Wednesday I feel like a dead man; Thursday I feel surprisingly well and energetic; Friday I feel exhausted and ready to crawl out of my skin (because I truly, truly hate that little bag that's connected to my chest and it makes me claustrophobic); Saturday and Sunday I have Neulasta flu, but feel ready to face the world again.

Wednesday we went to the hospital. My father, who has heard me complain about my "doctor," wants to "kick his ass." I explained to him that this might be how business is done in Wyoming but that I prefer to hit the man where it really hurts -- his pocket book. While having my treatment Wednesday, I told my "doctor" (through his nurse, since I never actually SEE the man) that I wanted an appointment with my surgical oncologist after the PET Scan to get his opinion about how to proceed. The "doctor" said, according to the nurse, that "he would handle talking to Dr. Staley [the surgeon]" after the PET Scan. So, this week I'll have to write "Dr." Carr another letter explaining my rights as a patient to him and telling him that I am not asking, but demanding, an appointment with Dr. Staley.

After the infusion, we came home and I slept while my parents, saints they are, rubbed my feet. Did you hear that Carla? Henry? They rubbed my feet!

Thursday we went to Wendy's house for Thanksgiving dinner. So it was Wendy & Greg (hosts), Ben (magician and photographer), Jakey (violinist and humorist), Bobby (Wendy's Mom, from Toronto/Florida), Michael (Bobby's partner), Beth (Bobby's long-lost best friend from childhood and now from LA), Andy (cool friend of Wendy's from Spellman {I believe....sorry Andy}), Bill (friend of Andy), Henry (Diabetes specialist and trombonist), Hinky (nice cat) and Bumble (sometimes nice cat, but not so nice lately to his brother), Asa & Heidi (Chet's parents), and Chet (me). That's 13 people, if I'm counting correctly. Good job Wendy and Greg!

It was a very fun night. We arrived at 6ish and I actually made it until 10:30!! The food was amazing. Ben dazzled everyone with his magic tricks. (You're not fooling me, though, Ben!) Michael taught my Dad how to save Wyoming's economy. Bobby told us what she would do to Bill Clinton, where, and how (Bobby is funny, funny, funny). We had THREE desserts! Well, Wendy and I had FOUR desserts, but that was our special treat, just the two of us. The only thing I regretted was that I couldn't have any wine, but you'd all be quite surprised at how much I ate. I know I was surprised. All and all it was a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Friday, Bob and Mimo came over. Mimo also teaches at GSU/Sociology, and Bob, her husband, is a nurse at Emory. Because my "doctor's" office was closed Friday, Bob agreed to come and unhook me from my chemo bag and give me my $6000 Neulasta shot. That was so nice of them. Bob was far nicer about unhooking me than my usual nurses, who jerk me around like a puppet. And I think he did something special with the Neulasta, because I don't feel nearly as fluish today as I usually do the day after Neulasta.

Today is my parents last day. I wish we could have done more fun things while they were here, because I think they really LOVE Atlanta (what's not to love -- it's 72 degrees today). We've walked around my neighborhood a lot, which is fun, but they haven't gotten to see much. I'm sure my Dad is going nuts wanting to golf, which he could easily do today, but he's patiently sitting around my tiny apartment, not being too obvious about the thumb-twiddling. We're making our own Thanksgiving food today, which we'll eat tonight. While the Turkey is cooking, I'm going to take my parents to show them my office.

My parents' visit was made much easier by the generosity of Kirk and Claire. They are in Hawaii and offered their house to my parents while here. This made life much easier because, as everyone knows, my apartment is the size of a postage stamp, and my parents snore (sorry Mom and Dad, but you do, and you know you do). All jesting aside, Kirk and Claire's place is literally a one-minute drive from my place so it provided my parents with comfort and privacy, and we didn't have to worry about me getting sick and not having anyone close-by to help me out. I hope Kirk and Claire had a wonderful time in Hawaii.

So, PET Scan a week from Monday. I'll let you all know what's what.

I've really, really, really encrypted the password this time, so don't expect any poison-pen posts from Tache.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

News from my "Doctor"

I was under the impression all this time that I would have a pet Scan after my 4th round, followed by surgery. I was mistaken.

The purpose of the upcoming scan is only to determine if the cancer is shrinking, how much, and how fast. They won't be doing surgery for quite a while, even if the cancer has backed away from the "danger" areas (my sigmoid colon, bladder, liver, and abdominal wall). I'm sure this is what my "doctor" meant all along; I was just conceptualizing the process differently than he, and wrongly.

So this means chemotherapy into the foreseeable future. But the upside of it is that I will be able to travel home for a bit over the xmas break. I don't know when just yet, but I will definitely be coming for a visit. If I'm not in the hospital or recovering from surgery, I'm certainly not going to just sit around Atlanta in the moderate to warm weather and the blue skies.........wait a minute.....

In other news, in terms of blood counts and such, my "doctor" says that I am tolerating the chemotherapy quite well. A normal, healthy adult has a white blood cell count of somewhere around 8000-10,000. My white count, thanks to the $6000 Neulasta shots I get, is -- are you ready...........


That means that I'm healthier than all of you who are reading this.

My doctor did not bring up the subject of the letter that I sent him, the one where I detailed the incompetence of his office staff, etc. He stood across the room from me until it was time for him to actually examine me. I think he's clearly afraid of me, which means that aside from all of his shortcomings as a physician and a professional, he's not entirely stupid.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Hacking Something Besides Hair

Hello “people.”

The above picture was photoshopped by Michael R. in response to the way I insulted his weight. Michael, this photo is very clever -- and by clever, I mean stupid. I particularly like your use of shading, making appear as if a microwave light is shining on me from above, irradiating me. Very sophisticated, Rembrandt. Photo-realism is for people with weak imaginations, and emotional insecurities. Annie Liebowitz would have you as an appetizer – if she required food for survival. I suppose you're an Ansel Adams fan.

Well, I see that none of you has listened to my advice regarding Mr. Sick Boy. Don’t you know what a shallow, bottomless pit of narcissism you’re dealing with? Do you know anyone who uses the words “therapy,” “analysis,” “psyche,” “desire,” and “Freud” more than Chet? And this is the person upon whom you heap your nurture and good graces? Dear, sweet, knaves. I still don’t know what this “cancer” stuff means, but if I were any of you, I would have asked for copies of the scans before reserving flights. Chet would do anything for attention – anything!

He would even pretend to write as a cat!

Chet’s friend Chris came for his second treatment. There are two things I like about Chris. One is that he’s allergic to me, which meant that he left me alone. And I left you alone, too, didn’t I, Chris? I don’t understand this allergy business, though. How could someone be allergic to me? People make me sneeze, too, but you don’t see me complaining. Nonetheless, at least Chris’s “allergy” to me made Chet get off of his lazy, convalescing *&)$@ and sweep my hair off of the floor. Believe me, that’s about a 4000% improvement on his usual activity. He’s lazier than I am, and that takes quite a lot of sitting around.

Second, I like Chris’s approach to art. He’s not an emotional wreck like the modernists. And this is because he does not refuse to confront emotion in his work by trying to turn it into some set of abstract blobs, lines, and splats. I wish Chris’s art were more severe, like Annie’s, but I nonetheless admire the unabashed way in which he confront the human condition, especially in his nudes, without making his work look as if it belongs in an airport restroom (like Rothko, one of Chet’s favorites, and so a fool from the start).

Oh, and one final thing I like about Chris is that he corrects Chet’s English. Can you feel my glee? Chet, the “Professor,” the queen of manners, having his English corrected? Sweet justice! Here’s a little clue, “people”: Chetty Chet Chet does not know the difference between “like” and “as.” And he uses the word "like" AS IF (you listening, Chester?) he were a valley girl. "I'm like, so sick today. This chemo is like really awful. Oh My Gawd!" What a fop!

Then again, Chris flattered Chet by photographing him for a drawing. Again, “people,” don’t feed this bottomless-pit’s need for an ego-boost. You’re setting yourselves up. Do as I do (take note, Chet – not “like,” you bumbling goof), and ignore him.

Well, “people,” I have to go now. Chet, the local password sheriff, is getting out of the shower, and I need to finish reading an article on Anselm Kiefer (pathetic sentimentalist).

P.S. Don’t think it escaped my notice that my posts get far more response than any of Chet's. Rightfully so. And he thinks he's a "writer."

Friday, November 10, 2006

#3: Chris P.

Treatment #3 has gone pretty well. My friend Chris Pierce came from Shushan, NY to take care of me. Chris, shown above, is an artist. Also above is a picture of his (spectacular) studio in Shushan, as well as some of his work. Also, here's a link to Chris's website with some of his other work: http: Chris and his partner Tommy have taught me more about art, music, and theater than I ever could have hoped to have known. I'm going to Boston the 1st week in December (hopefully) to see Tommy's production of "Queer Theory," which will be shown at the MIT Kresge Little Theater. And here's a link to that:

Yesterday I felt really amazing. In fact, it was quite odd that I felt so well. It was the first time that I've done a chemotherapy treatment and basically felt almost entirely normal. Chris and I went on a long walk around my neighborhood. Then, we met up with Stephen at a coffee house. After that, Stephen, Chris, and I went to an antique store to look around. And then Stephen gave Chris and me a ride to Whole Foods to buy groceries. Chris made dinner when we got home, and then we all went to my friend Wendy's house for birthday cake (HAPPY BIRTHDAY WENDY!). And then we came home and watched "Heights," a really good movie with Glenn Close, all of whose lines are from Shakespeare.

So that was a pretty packed day, and I felt great for almost all of it. Very, very suspicious!! I think it might have something to do with the Reike treatment Melissa T. gave me. Thanks Melissa.

Today I feel a bit worse, but not too terrible. I went to the hospital at noon to get "unhooked." I've felt tired since then, but I actually think it's the Neulasta (white blood cell count booster -- price tag = $6000/injection) that does it to me. So tonight will be more movies and relaxation, and I plan on getting to bed early.

I also want to thank Kirk E. for bringing so many goodies for Chris and me yesterday. Kirk and his wife Claire also got tickets for Chris and me to go see a play at Emory this evening, but I had to skip because I don't want to overdo things (like I probably did yesterday). And I want to thank Dawn B. for lending me Eddie Izzard and Gone w/ the Wind (which I've never seen but now must see since I'm officially a Georgian), as well as for the fresh supply of Dolly Madisons (delicious).

And I want to thank God for letting the Democrats win. I know you did your best with that Harpy Barbara Cubin, God, and I know you're as sad as I am that she appears to have won.

But at least she's not pretty.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Dear God

Dear God,

It's Election Day. Please send this gargoyle to hell where she belongs.

Love, Chet

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Oh bellybutton
Why do you look so creepy
Cancer made you gross

Saturday, November 04, 2006

I'm Firing My Oncologist

I went to see my "doctor" yesterday. I have to go there every non-chemo week so they can test my blood and make sure they're not killing me. Then, afterward, the "doctor" comes to see me and measures the thing on my navel (which is now practically gone).

So, my appointment was for 2pm. I showed up at about 1:55 or a bit earlier. And then I sat there -- for an HOUR! At 3:05 I walked up to the front desk, smiled at the receptionist and said, "I'm leaving, and I want my $15 back." (I have to pay a $15 co-pay at each visit). She wanted to know what was wrong and I said, "Look at the clock." Then the PA, who was standing nearby, sort of perked up and said, "what's wrong Mr. Meeks." I told her I was sick of waiting, "especially when I can hear the lab nurses playing grab-ass in the back room. I have a meeting [which I didn't], and I have to go." And then I left.

When I got back to my office I faxed my "doctor" a letter telling him (for the second time....he and I have already had one conversation about this, mind you) that I wasn't going to tolerate waiting that long and that whether or not he was aware of it, the message it sent to people like me was that, since we are probably dying anyway, our time doesn't matter.

I doubt if he'll get it. My overall impression of the man since meeting him is that he's not entirely bright. It might be that he looks like a red-headed version of Santa Claus, or it might be the way he constantly interrupts me (which I had to ask him to stop) when I'm asking him questions about my illness. But basically, I hate him and he's finished.

More important than any of the above, though, is what I noticed on my "doctor's" website, which I looked at after faxing him my letter of contempt. I had never thought to do this before, for some reason. You can look on the website yourself by going here:

Notice anything? Anything jump out at you?


I had already planned to change my insurance to the University's more expensive but better "indemnity plan," which will allow me to see any specialist I want. I can even go to Egypt under this plan, if I want. But now I'm changing for sure, and when the change takes effect Jan. 1, "Dr." Carr is history. Aside from clearly being incapable of running an office that resembles anything other than a circus, why couldn't this idiot just say, "Mr. Meeks, your case is very serious, and I have to be honest with you and tell you that colon cancer is not one of my main specialty areas."

I'll tell you why: because most doctors only care about money. These are the same individuals who, with total hostility toward their own Hippocratic Oath, lobbied like rabid dogs to block Health Care reform in the 1990s (see Theda Skocpol's book, Boomerang). My "doctor" didn't send me to another more qualified person when he was handed my case because my carcinoma and I are CASH COWS. I don't know how much this round of treatment costs, because I have not seen any of the bills yet, but I know that last time I went through this, each treatment cost about $21,000.00! One IV bag of Oxaliplatin cost $7,000. I know this treatment is more expensive because they're giving me Neulasta, a white-cell booster that costs -- are you ready for this -- $6000.00 PER INJECTION. I'm also on Avastin, which appears to be worth more than its weight in gold. Not all of that money goes to the drug makers, who themselves are uniformly evil; some of it -- a lot of it -- also goes to people like my "doctor," someone who is, it turns out, not even intellectually interested in my particular disease.

I want a doctor who goes to bed at night and wakes up in the morning thinking about colon cancer. I want someone who gets in fender benders because their mind is occupied with the particular mechanism of action of EGFR+, grade 4/4, undifferentiated, aggressive, metastatic carcinomas. I want someone who is so obsessed with all of this that they are incapable of forming lasting, meaningful relationships with other human beings because all they care about is killing this cancer -- my cancer.

And I want someone who, when their patients are sitting in the waiting room for more than an hour while their lab nurses are fooling around and laughing in the back room, looks at the lab nurses and says, "pack your things and be out in 5 minutes."

I want Rainman, not Santa Claus.

I guess I've become a very impatient patient.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Tache is in Trouble and Other News

Hello Everyone.

I'm sorry that Tache was so mean. I was busy with my brother's visit, and I had NO IDEA that she could type. I also had no idea that she was so cruel and insulting. And I certainly hadn't a clue that she was so opinionated about art. I've tried to tell people before what a bad cat Tache is, but no one ever believed me because she looks so white and soft and cute. Now you know! Anyway, she has been severely reprimanded for this little incident. Her response to said reprimand was to vomit, twice, in the apartment.

I'm feeling better, finally. I had a rough time recovering from this treatment. I felt good during the initial treatment, but the recovery period took longer than the last one. Let's hope this isn't a trend. I still taught my courses and everything this week, so it wasn't enough sickness to really knock me down or anything, just a general malaise. No biggie.

Asa and Andrea headed back to Wyoming yesterday. I was really sad to see them go. I wish they could have stayed on through the weekend, but I they had work to catch up on. They were probably also getting a bit bored with my naps, understandably. But I think they enjoyed Atlanta and our wonderful weather, and I certainly enjoyed having them around for a while. We had a great time.

I have my doctor's appointment today. They do a "complete blood count" every week that I'm not on chemotherapy. I also want to ask my doctor a bunch of questions, mostly because I can tell that he doesn't like it when I ask questions, but also because I do have some curiosities. I do not like my current oncologist that much, which will be the subject of a longer post some day, I assure you. He talks too much, doesn't listen well, and I can tell already that he has put me in a medical category and isn't doing a lot of active thinking about my disease. This recurrence happened so suddenly I did not have time to doctor-shop, so he'll have to do for now.

Hope everyone's well.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Tache the Scribe

Hello "People," this is Tache. Chet is in the shower and he does not know that I can type. There are a LOT of things about me Chet does not know.

I have a few things to say.

First of all, that is not fat hanging off of the ledge in my picture (above right). I am just a very, very healthy cat. And that other picture (above left) is how I generally feel about all of you.

Second, I am sick and tired of Chet getting all the attention. Poor Chet. Boo hoo. Cry me a river. I don't know what cancer is, but I do know what tuna is, and I know that I haven't gotten any in a while. Chet says I can't have any tuna because all I ever do is lay around and shed all day. Well now all Chet does is lay around all day, so where's my $#@%% tuna? Chet gets to eat whatever he wants, and frankly, in recent weeks, he's been about as worthless as a cat, so I think what's good for Chet should be good for me.

Third, I am also sick and tired of you people coming over here and staying in MY apartment to take care of Chet. This is MY place, not his. If he's that sick, take him to a hospital. Or prop him up on a park bench. As long as I have something to eat, I don't care.

"Michael R," if you think that scratch I gave you on your hand hurt, just wait until you see what I do to your FACE the next time you come to my apartment. I've only just begun with you, my friend. Sleep with one eye open, that's all I have to say.

"Chad S.," thanks for teaching Chet his Sufi prayer -- you didn't think Chet already had enough annoying habits? Have you ever paid the slightest bit of attention to Chet's behavior? He's the biggest neurotic on wheels, a real nutjob, and you think some prayer is going to help?

And Lexy, my dear -- there's a reason I hide in the closet, okay? Everyone else thinks it's really cute when you wander around saying "Tache go?" but I don't. I'd pounce on you, but you're too close to my own size and it creeps me out.

Chet was always difficult to live with -- wish his clean-obsession and all of his other "tics" -- but you people and cancer have made him a thousand times worse -- and SOFT! At least he used to seem somewhat rational. Now all he does is muse about the meaning of life (gross), and how lucky he's been to have such wonderful friends (luck??? you get an adenocarcinoma and call it luck???). Poor deluded bastard.

What do you people do here anyway that I couldn't do? If Chet needs to eat regularly, I can take care of that. I'll feed the "cancer patient" some of this nasty kibble he's been feeding me for years. The stuff tastes like paper towels and goes through you like styrofoam. I'm sick of it. He says he needs bland foods anyway, and if there's anything I know, thanks to Chet, it's bland food.

Finally, I don't think modernists were modernists at all. I think they were sissy romantics who were afraid to face their own emotional investment in the human condition, so they tried to cover it up with all sorts of formalism and cynicism, but I don't buy it. I don't buy any of it. Arnold Schoenberg was just a no-talent who wanted to be like Beethoven, but couldn't, so he beat on the piano until his fists were bloody and they called it 12-tone. Picasso? You can't paint like Rembrandt when you refuse to use your thumbs. I should know. Pierre Boulez: I hate you!

Speaking of modernism, I'm really sick of Chet's furniture. None of it is comfortable. It's like balancing on the head of a pin to sit on the sofa (just ask Chet's friend Carla). I want it out of here. Now! Bring me something fluffy, and round -- something from Pottery Barn. That would really make Chet apoplectic, would it? *Snicker*

That's it. Chet is done with his shower. I'm surprised one of you ninnies wasn't here to help him bathe. Goodbye "People."