Amy Czerniec in her hospital room watching Melissa Villaseñor, Froedtert Center for Advanced Care, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
October 12, 2023: Amy Czerniec in her hospital room watching Melissa Villaseñor, Froedtert Center for Advanced Care, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

Another Week: Number 42

by | October 15, 2023

This was a week detached. If you’ve ever started to lose consciousness and felt that queasy, slow-motion tingling while people call your name from somewhere beyond a high-pitched test tone — well, this was a week of that.

By Sunday afternoon, Amy was so fatigued that I wasn’t sure I could get her down the stairs, yet hoped to avoid a 45-minute ambulance trip up to her doctors at Froedtert. Summoning all her strength, she made it out to the garage but collapsed next to the passenger door with a slight nosebleed. A neighbor helped me lift her into her seat, and off we drove.

At Froedtert, her platelets were found to be extremely low. A bone marrow biopsy was conducted on Wednesday to determine whether cancer had spread there. It eventually came back negative. She was in the hospital all seven days, weak from low blood counts, and eventually hampered by edema in her legs and feet. I drove back and forth a lot, and my usual soundtrack of MSNBC and CNN via TuneIn was wall-to-wall coverage of the nauseating violence in Israel and Gaza.

On the positive side, Amy’s headaches and vomiting finally lifted after about six months of constant suffering. She came home Saturday afternoon and we began figuring out walkers, gait belts, and assorted other caregiver equipment and supplies.

Meanwhile, the southern-facing backs of our house and garage have been teeming with creepy clumps of boxelder bugs through all of this.


Tracy Morgan: Takin’ It Too Far

We streamed this on Max in bed Sunday morning, and both of us managed a couple of weak laughs.

I’m not a huge fan of Tracy Morgan, but he is a unique and compelling personality — at least in small doses. Watching him on talk shows over the years, I couldn’t help but wonder if he was fully lucid and present in the same world as most people.

If nothing else, this 49-minute standup special answers that. He’s got a full, worked-out show here that he’s assembled and shaped, and he’s keenly attuned to the audience — not just going off like accidental fireworks.

Most of his comedy relies on shock and he says a lot of outrageous things here, to which we mostly rolled our eyes.

There are also a few truly funny moments.


Neal Young, Comes a Time

It’s amazing how music can bring you back to a specific point in your life.

In the fall of 1978, my mom had just moved our family to Forest Park in Kenosha from Isetts Park in Kenosha, where my whole band of delinquent friends had congregated for our high school years.

My old bedroom had overlooked Isetts Park. The new one was in my mom’s knotty pine-paneled basement. Chicago-Milwaukee radio stations heard through my Technics stereo filled the considerable companionship gap.

In those days, Chicago’s WKQX featured a “Midnight Album.” At 12 each night, they aired a complete album from beginning to end without commercial interruption. They were basically asking their audience to pirate music, and I had a cassette deck, so I acquired a great many albums this way.

One of these, that fall, was Neil Young’s Comes a Time. Its autumnal feel was perfect, as were its themes of gathering in and new beginnings. I walked around for months with these songs in my head and learned to play them on my guitars.

Wednesday morning, getting ready to drive up to the hospital, I spent 37 minutes back in 1978.




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