The PASSENGER’s LOG
STAR DATE 9 September 2021
MISSION: ACES & EIGHTS
GENESIS two-seven. Officers’ Lounge
I’m on-board the Genesis two-seven, I stumbled into the Officers’ Lounge. That is weird because most people stumble out of the Officers’ Lounge. It isn’t weird for me, though, because stumbling has become the event of the day. I recall my day based around at what point I tripped or nearly fell and I calculate from there. That is hyperbole, of course but if you ever need someone to hand carry some nitroglycerin for you, best if you ask someone else!
I found the lounge completely empty. Even the cyborg-like creatures that operate the place and serve others were not there. I had time to look around a bit . I have been in a contemplative mood more and more as today’s appointment with Dr. N drew closer. This past week has been a preparation for the visit. A pulmonary function test last Friday, a CAT scan last Saturday and a walking (O2 saturation level) test on Tuesday. It was not that I was nervous preparing to see ‘Doc’ but my thoughts grew more and more toward the lack of certainty with which we have been faced. At the beginning, you may remember, there was a question about the diagnosis and if it could be one thing that was inter-mixing with a second creating an anomaly, blurring the true diagnosis. Now, it seems those days are not gone but relative to whomever reads a particular report on a particular day. What we did not have, though were the particulars!
That is when my eye was drawn to a print well framed and hanging conspicuously on the wall near the back rooms. Allow me to give you a closer view of the picture.
Someone must have been flying our starship too close to 1977!
That is when it struck me. Playing the hand you’re dealt.
The photo here is from a military patch worn by special forces in Kandahar and it is a replica of the hand held by Wild Bill Hickok when he was shot from behind while playing poker. After that, the hand, Aces and 8’s was given the moniker, “Dead Man’s Hand”.
Now, PLEASE do NOT misinterpret this! I am not saying I’m dying, planning on dying, would like to be dying, believe I have no chance except by dying…,
What I mean by the reference is when we know we must ‘play the hand we are dealt’ – it would be really very nice to see the cards! Each player must. know what kind of hand they are holding! It is just about impossible to strategize in any card game when you do not know what you have in your hand!
Having a firm diagnosis or a plan of treatment, even if that plan is simply lessening symptoms and hopefully delaying the spread of the disease, would be a relief. It is not an issue of little faith. My trust is in God. He will complete His perfect will. He’s God. I simply would like to know as much about what we, as a crew, are up against.
That brings us to the visit with Dr. N. I must tell you that having walked with Dr. N these last six months has caused me to appreciate him that much more.
Dr. N reviewed all the tests, the actual CAT scans from now and from the spring. He showed me the graph of the overnight breathing tests, answered questions and clarifyied the issue of inflammatory processes and scarring. Now, I can read my hand! I know what cards I’ve been dealt better now than anytime up to now.
As of today, I am not substantially any worse than I was in the spring! That is about six months of little to no progression of the disease! That is FANTASTIC! There is some times I find my breathing more labored and when my power banks shut down, I am down! The O2 is helping me sleep and I am more rested. It’s not perfect. There is a lot of coughing but it is mostly at night. Coughing is better than coffin… I’ll take it! Well, a couple of crew mates should be by in a minute. I’ll sit here in the Lounge and hope to get up a game of Dajarik. If one of the cyborgs return, I’ll order up a Bantha Milk, light blue though the steroids are causing me to gain some weight!
Thank you all for your amazing prayers and support. Christ , thankfully is Captain of this vessel and he will take it where it needs to go! Please never take my using of what are hopefully fun settings for my voyage story as detracting from the seriousness for anyone who has personally or as a family dealt with IPF. Nor should you imagine I do not appreciate the gravity (except in space… sorry) of the impact my disease is having on those closest to me. It is their welfare which most concerns me and I lay it before the Lord every single day.
Ross , The Passenger