About Dying

About Dying

 
I love telling of my adventures….

Little death

I’ve come close to death three times. Once when I caught hepatitis from a dirty needle. Second when I was bitten by a rabid dog in India and third when I contracted lung cancer.

Well there was a time when I was eight and on the verge of meningitis. I awoke in the morning and started coughing up blood, lots of it. The doctor was called and I can remember him examining me and then calling my mother over to the window. I can see them now, the doctor talking in hushed tones and shaking his head. Oh dear I’m going to die I thought to myself. They came over to me my mother was ashen. The doctor looked at me and noticed blood on my pillow and asked about it. Oh I had a heavy nosebleed in the night. Sigh of relief was palpable. It turned out I had had a massive nose bleed and swallowed all the blood! So I don’t count that as a near death experiece.

The first time I nearly died was when I was 22 I shared a needle (injecting for the last time – ever) with a friend and eight of us caught hepatitis and had to be hospitalised. I was not going to Neasden Isolation Hospital in London so I dragged myself to my friend’s house In Clydach Vale, Tony Pandy, Rhondda Valley, South Wales. I was very ill. I was slowly dying. I don’t know how I did it but I made it to a local GP and he sent me home with some pills. They didn’t work and I wasn’t getting better. I went back and he saw the true state of me. He admitted me that day to a wonderful hospital high up in the valleys. I was there for three weeks and was treated like a king. I recovered.

The second time was when I was bitten by a rabid dog. About twenty of us were attending a meditation course in Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh, India. It was quite isolated. It was 1976 i think. It was an old colonial hill station and we had rented a lovely house on a hill top. We had a pet dog that started acting strangely and had already bitten six of us, breaking skin. When I saw he had chewed his metal bowl to pieces, well something was seriously wrong. I was in charge of him. Two idiots decided the poor chained up dog needed a walk OMG anyway when I heard I ran to them and the dog was going mad on his chain. I rescued them and in doing so I was bitten.

Six of us were bitten and if he was truly rabid we needed to know. So took him to a local doctor who said yes he was rabid and had to be put down, our cherished pet. So we didn’t accept it, the doctor was a bit daft, so we needed a second opinion. The only hospital was at a not too far away university hospital. We all piled into a taxi for the three hour journey and tied the dog wrapped in blankets to the roof rack. We headed down the mountain. There was a landslide earlier and the road was blocked so we had to return home. In the two days that followed we read up on rabies. It was fatal and you shook yourself to death. It was one of the worst ways to die. We had no choice we had to find out if the dog was rabid so we set off again and told the taxi driver he had to get us through. The landslide had been partially levelled and we managed to bump across. We made it to the university hospital, the dog died on the way.

At the autopsy they confirmed he was rabid. We went to a restaurant and we discussed what we should do. We were very scared. We talked about the anti-rabies injections 14 daily through the stomach wall. There were known side effects, one of them was permanent blindness. We were into day six of the first bite and the minimum incubation period for rabies was ten days. We decided we would have the injections. We returned home and went to the doctors. Yes he could inject us but he only had serum for a few days. He didn’t have enough. We needed more and the nearest place was Shimla a 12 hour train trip away. Armed with a letter from the doctor (he would phone them too) I and a friend headed off.

The journey was relatively uneventful except we had to keep the small crate of serum cold. In the hot parts of our journey we bought ice to cool it.

We were going to have the injections as a group so no one had started, it was now day 9 of the first bite. From what I remember one was over ten but we didn’t talk about that. The injections were horrible. About an inch of fluid straight into the stomach wall. They left lumps of fluid that lasted days. So every day we all trooped down the mountain, got our shots and trooped back. Not fun and this would last for two weeks. This was 1976 in a remote part of India.

Well we all survived OK except me. On the 12th injection I collapsed and they took me up the mountain on a donkey. They called the doctor and he came up to the house to give me my 13th injection. You had to do the course. That night I nearly died. I developed a fever and my temperature went up to 107 and my friends were coming in to say goodbye to me. I had two angels looking after me Kitty Subho an English Thai monk and a wonderful lady who we thought had recently become enlightened. I remember the delirium well. It was a bit out of body, very spacey and voices shouted from a distance. I was going to die but I had no fear just an acceptance.

In the wee hours of the morning the fever broke and I woke up yellow. I had hepatitis again. Think my liver just couldn’t handle the serum. I was ill for about three weeks but what a beautiful spot to be ill in.

Four years ago during a routine hospital check-up the doctor told me they had found a little spot on my lung. After tests it was found to be cancerous. I researched lung cancer and my prognosis was not good. I prepared to die. It wasn’t so bad, I had led a very full life. I achieved an ethereal state of acceptance and said goodbye to the world. This state stayed with me. It became semi-permanent and was a bit difficult to get out of.

After further tests, going up to St James in Dublin they decided they would operate immediately. The consultant surgeon would contact me the next week. It ended up three months later and all this time the cancer was growing. But I stayed calm and did what had to be done. If the operation was successful I would still not get the all clear they were going to take out my left lung. So be it. I was admitted to St James and had the operation two days later. I can remember the prep room and getting an injection then waking up don’t know when in the post op ward. There was good news they only had to take out a lobe. I have a scar running down most of my back where they went in. My mood, that of acceptance, continued.

My oncologist in Tullamore said the cancer may have spread to my lymph and I needed chemo. So I wasn’t clear. Four months later they decide that that was it. Chemo was not fun. I was in remission. Got another year to go to be out of the woods. After 5 years you are considered cured.

Dying holds no fear for me. The mental state that of having done with the world, persisted for a year afterwards. I found it difficult to “come back” . I’m back now but have grown from my experiences. In this day and age longevity is not uncommon and I might look for another twenty years. Well we will see. Whatever the future holds for me I feel I am prepared for it.

I have a WordPress blog so I am immortal. Below is one of my favourite tunes: Gov’t Mule “ Soulshine. I think I let my soul shine and lived better for it.

Please comment and would love to hear your stories  I am sure you have them. A free Cream Tea voucher for the best comment.

Why not join the millions of others who blog, carve out your own niche on the Internet! You will have seen http:// before it stands for HyperTextTransfer Protocol, which tells the Internet you are going somewhere. So go to http://OlderCitizens.org and create a blog of your own.

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McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala

I heard about McLeod Ganj in Juba, Southern Sudan. A young guy called Eddie and someone else were talking about where HH Dalai Lama lived. Eddie was a young guy late teens who had been on his way to India overland but couldn’t get through the Middle East coz of The Troubles. [It seems lika good generic word] . I Love You Cooky. Sorry my new gf. Anyway, we were stuck in Juba, there was no way through Uganda to Kenya, with three choices :

  • Go Back
  • Go Round via Chad, The CAR and The Congo
  • Go up The Blue Nile to Ethiopia and down to Kenya

Here is the map, it had taken us about ten weeks to get there :

Hmmm . Peter the South African guy I was travelling with said he was broke. So he filled up his ruck sack with marijuana and caught a truck back to Khartoum. He said he would sell it in London and meet me in Nairobi. We latter heard through the Nairobi grapevine that the truck had overturned in The Sudd and that he had broken his leg. We had come through The Sudd by river, he had gone by “road”.

Flat Fact : The Sudd stretches from Mongalla to just outside the Sobat confluence with the White Nile just upstream of Malakal as well as westwards along the Bahr el Ghazal. The shallow and flat inland delta lays between 5.5 and 9.5 degrees latitude North and covers an area of 500 km south to north and 200 km east to west between Mongalla in the south and Malakal in the north. {It took about six days, nothing but papyrus, nothing but. You see the odd group of elephants in the distance and papyrus and… yes papyrus..}

Its size is highly variable, averaging over 30,000 square kilometers. During the wet season it may extend to over 130,000 km², depending on the inflowing waters, with the discharge from Lake Victoria being the main control factor of flood levels and area inundation. A main hydrological factor is that Sudd area, consisting of various meandering channels, lagoons, reed- and papyrus fields, loses half of the inflowing water through evapotranspiration in the permanent and seasonal floodplains

The rest of Eddies party wanted to go round. Eddie wasn’t keen as he wanted to get back to England to do his “A” Levels. It would take too long. I had no money so I just hung out and waited for God. We got the dope from a local village and got stoned. I have to tell you this: We were sitting outside having a beer and suddenly the electricity went. Everywhere, The nearest electricity was probably hundreds of miles away. I made this comment at the time :

Someone turned off the lights and turned The Universe on

The stars omg the stars. You guys maybe don’t know what Light Pollution is. I do. I had never seen such Glory. Unpolluted Glory. There was no moon, “only” stars. I didn’t bother to try and count them, apparently between 2 to 3000. I also discovered that you can see by starlight.

Anyway I digress. My 25th birthday was in a week. Peter headed off the others made plans to go round. Then we were chatting to a local official and he said a Government Party were heading out to check out the roads. Eddie asked if he could hitch a lift. The guy said yes. Eddie said he was a bit trepidituious about going alone and would I go with him? Following the dictum “If any man [sic] asks you to go with him a mile, go two” So i said sure. [It ended up over 5000 but I considered “2” to be allegorical]. Anyway after many adventures, we were in Delhi some 4 months later catching a train to Pathancot then a bus to Dharamsala, then another bus to McLeod Ganj. It took a few days. Btw we never flew anywhere. McLeod Ganj was awesome. Absolutely. Here’s what wiki says :

Flat Fact : McLeod Ganj, McLeodGanj, or Mcleodganj, is a suburb of Dharamshala in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, India. It has an average elevation of 2,082 metres (6,831 feet).

Situated on the Dhauladhar Range, whose highest peak, “Hanuman Ka Tibba”, at about 5,639 metres (18,500 feet), lies just behind it, (this mountain looked as though it ought to have a circle of stars around it like Paramount Pictures is it? ) it is known as “Little Lhasa” or “Dhasa” (short form of Dharamshala, used mainly by Tibetans) due to its large population of Tibetan refugees.[1] The Tibetan government-in-exile is headquartered in McLeod Ganj.

Oh dear this is far too long I hope you can speed read. Hi Cooky, kiss kiss. Oh she is so pretty. Wanna see a pic? Ok I’ll put it at the end. So. Mcleod Ganj. First impressions : It wan’t Indian ( I can say that now having been in Leh “Little” Tibet some 5 years later, omg another story). In the centre of town there were prayer wheels you spin that sent out Om Mani Padme Hum to the Universe a few thousand times as it was written on paper scrolled round. At the end was the big prayer wheel It was about 20 feet high I think and about 10 feet across. God knows how many Om Mani Padme Hums it sends out with one spin. I dont like to ask Him [sic] as Hes [sic] got other stuff going on. Everybody in the village would spin them walking up the street. Oh the old ladies were wonderful. I used to listen to them chat and this is how they spoke. It was like this:

“Om mani padme hum , how are you dear?Om mani padme hum Hows that son of yours? Om mani padme hum Om mani padme hum . Fine thanks Om mani padme hum is your husband Om mani padme hum stilll got that Om mani padme hum kidney infection? Om mani padme hum. Ye Om mani padme hum poor thing but Om mani padme hum Amala Lobsang Om mani padme hum gave him some pillls Om mani padme hum Shes so Om mani padme hum helpfull Om mani padme hum….

Yep thats how a coversation would go. At the end of the street was HH’s palace. It was pretty cool. It was carved on rocks everywhere. You would be climbing in the hills and cimb a rock and there above you  was Om Mani Padme Hum, perfectly carved in the rock face.

I carry Hum around with me:

Oh this is relevant. I found the best way to tolerate 3rd Class Indian Trains was to continually chew a bit of Opium. It also stops you from shitting which is an added bonus. I had bought a sizeable ball in Bombay a few weeks back and had been living on the stuff. Then I ran out. Oh I had withdrawls, oh dear like the worst flu ever and then the nightmares. Anyway I had been smoking dope to ease the withdrawls. Just down the road there was a Tibetan school. I had a vision of the school catching fire and kids being trapped and me too out of it to help. I sorta gave up drugs after that. Anyway Eddie was heading back to Blighty on a ticket his parents had sent him. I waited for a sign from whats His name . I waited a couple of years and then followed the path of least resistance, got ordained in Bodh Gaya became Jnana Bodhi and headed off to the jungle just outside Bangkok for about 9 months.

I was broke in Mcleod Ganj. I was in a hotel up the hill and the owner wanted rent. I suggested he let me meet the busses and direct tourists to his hotel. I had done this in Tangier a few years before until I was told to “Fuck off you filthy Arab ” by an American tourist and realised I had gone “native” which is what I tend to do in Foreign Parts, so I … anyway Jesus Mr Digress or what!!! He moved me up the hill a bit higher and let me stay free. I sorta lived on hand outs. Then some people took me up a bit higher because they were going to attend a ten day meditation course at Elysium Fields. Free food and meditation.. cool. I wasn’t very good coz I used to scrounge fags from the ppl. Anyway, long story short I becames Lia’s servant. Very cool German Lady. We practised Vipassana a “lesser vehicle” meditation when we were surrounded by Mahayanists. (Greater Vehicle) I didn’t know it at the time but I was a Paraconsistent Logician as contradictions are quite happily embraced by Bhuddist Dialectic. The west is catching up:

The contemporary logical orthodoxy has it that, from contradictory premises, anything can be inferred. To be more precise, let ⊨ be a relation of logical consequence, defined either semantically or proof-theoretically. Call ⊨ explosive if it validates {A , ¬A} ⊨ B for every A and B (ex contradictione quodlibet (ECQ)). The contemporary orthodoxy, i.e., classical logic, is explosive, but also some ‘non-classical’ logics such as intuitionist logic and most other standard logics are explosive. The major motivation behind paraconsistent logic is to challenge this orthodoxy. A logical consequence relation, ⊨, is said to be paraconsistent if it is not explosive. Thus, if ⊨ is paraconsistent, then even if we are in certain circumstances where the available information is inconsistent, the inference relation Continue Reading

Anyway its on my blog. Oh dear have I lost you? Oops. So Lia was heading off back to Germany, The westerners were heading off to Goa so would I be the caretaker until spring? Of course. I had a gorgeous stone cabin just above the main bungalow. A beautiful garden and the end of the lawn the was a wall. The other side about a thousand feet lower was HH’s pad. I used to wave but it was a bit too far below. Next door was Geshe Rabten o a supa cool Tibetan Dude, HHs junior tutor. Look him up. His servant was telepathetic. I was sitting in my cabin, (btw no electricity or water used to take me a couple of hours a day to collect dead wood in the forest behind me) . I had lent G Rs servant my shovel about a week before. I just thought “I must get my shovel back” I swear to God 2 minutes later there was a knock at the door and there was G Rs servant who said “You wanted your shovel”. Another time Ithere was a knock at the door. I answered and there was a Tibetan Monk, he bowed and said Tashi Dalek ( Hello) and motioned for him to come in. I let him in. He then cleared a spot at the end of the room and set up a portable alter. He then said Puja (mass). I just sat there, being. After a while, I guess an hour could have been two., he packed up bowed said Tashi Dalek and left. One day there was a load of food in pots and pans on my porch. I came back after a bit and stopped. There were a couple of dogs about five crows, my cat and a couple of monkeys eating. These guys are mortal enemies. They sorta put that aside.

I could go on ah one more. In the autumn the Langurs used to come down the mountain to winter further south. They are huge silver grey dudes. Awesome. They used to nick the flowers. They were cool the ordinary ones wrecked my place one day, I had left the window open. Anyway in Spring they used to head back up to the high valleys (where we were the tre line goes up to 10, 000 feet) Anway, they used to sit around the garden eating any flowers around. It was when the Rhododendron trees used to boom. The mountainside used to turn red. I used to make jam from the flowers. I was out walking one day and I saw A big rhododendron in it was a silver grey 5ft foot langur surrounded by red flowers. He looked so gorgeous. I waved but he ignored me. All the creatures used to ignore me. I guess I had gone a bit “native ” again. Sometimes in the winter I wouldn’t see another person for a week. It was quite exciting when I did. I would wave and they would wave back and we would smile……Wow, sorry guys ive rambled on abit. One memory sorta triggers another and another … apologies. It would probably take a couple of years as every moment seemed special.

Anyway heres a pic of my Cooky I promised. OMG she is awesome. Shes a bit younger than me but not that much, well shes older than her pic, um can I say? Ok shes in her forties but omg she looks so much younger but acts her age but we are a bit teenagerish. which is really cool. I sent her a rl picture of me she thought I was “very good looking” hazukashii desu.. Anyway heres a pic:

I see you.

After we had made love, we parted. This tune came on the radio as I lit a cigarette. It was wonderful, I wasn’t alone anymore:

I gave her a domain, OnlyEve.net… um….you can play the above and click here…while listening.. if you want.. its all part of me memoirs.. well if you go there you will see The Rest of The Story

And here is my sponsor Avalokitesvara

Avalokiteśvara (Sanskrit: अवलोकितेश्वर lit. “Lord who looks down”) is a bodhisattva who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas. He is one of the more widely revered bodhisattvas in mainstream Mahayana Buddhism.

The original name for this bodhisattva was Avalokitasvara. The Chinese name for Avalokitasvara is Guānshìyīn Púsà (觀世音菩薩), which is a translation of the earlier name “Avalokitasvara Bodhisattva.” This bodhisattva is variably depicted as male or female, and may also be referred to simply as Guānyīn in certain contexts.

In Sanskrit, Avalokitesvara is also referred to as Padmapāni (“Holder of the Lotus”) or Lokeśvara (“Lord of the World”). In Tibetan, Avalokiteśvara is known as Chenrezig, སྤྱན་རས་གཟིགས་ (Wylie: spyan ras gzigs), and is said to be incarnated in the Dalai Lama,[1] the Karmapa[2][3] and other high lamas.