Saturday, December 17, 2011

Trip to Florida Part II

Don and Marty
I came to Florida to check in on Don, my step-dad. He and my mom got divorced about 12 years ago after 23 years of marriage. Don has developed a brain tumor--a glioblastoma. He is receiving chemo and radiation right now. His girlfriend, Marty, is also suffering from cancer--cancer of the throat. She has beaten it back several times already. I really wanted to meet her, so I decided to go down there and check things out. This isn't really a blog about my life, so I'll just be posting the sketches I took with a few captions. Suffice it to say, it was a tough trip.
Don receives daily radiation for 8 minutes a day for six weeks. He wears a mask over his head, which allows them to target the exact spot. This sketch does not show the acid green cross hairs that show the machine where to radiate. Here, a nurse fits the mask on for Don's second treatment.
A sketch of what Don's tumor might look like. It is not encapsulated and cannot be operated on.
During the treatments, I would take short walks in the neighborhood behind the center. Oak trees are my favorite part of Florida.

Some attempts at trying to sketch just the mask.

Marty looks unfortunately like a zombie here, because I colored her eyes in too much. And that's water in her hand. She can't eat or drink much--most of what she takes in is through a feeding tube in her belly, under her shirt. We played Parchesi. She couldn't talk much, but I was happy to meet her. Her dog was a sweetie too. Not pictured--her cats.

I keep trying to figure out the best way to represent my recent experience with memory, which is that diving down (into the wreck as Adrienne Rich would say), there are moments of intense wonder and joy, all colored and influenced by the shades and shadows of every other experience--pain, boredom, sadness, beauty, layer upon layer, second upon second, year upon year. The above diagram is an attempt at thinking about this memory experience as a series of glass panels, through which light builds and amplifies.
I tried to draw the same feeling another way, with lines leading from one nodal experience to another, the different colors representing the different sensory conduits and memory channels that connect it to the the other nodes. What resulted looked surprisingly like a series of glioblastomas.

Don watching TV.

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