FROM THE EDGE OF THE FOG  [LUPUS UPDATE PAGE 2]  HUNTER GRAY   12/22/04  AND NOW MUCH UPDATED SINCE ORIGINAL POST

 

When I close my eyes, I can sometimes see the light of the fires and hear
the drums in the insular seclusion of closed and guarded night ceremonials
in the sagebrush and cedar country -- which I often experienced from
childhood on.  And sometimes I see the light of our hunting campfires on the
yellow pines in the Sycamore wilderness.

As always, I need these -- and very much now.

And more as well.

It has been about a year or so since I left the local mountain hospital for
the third time in three months. I could not really walk. At that point, the
lead physician in my extreme SLE Lupus situation [ I had just been diagnosed
with diabetes to boot], looked at me and pointedly said, "Lupus is a
ravaging wolf. This may be the time for you to divest yourself of your
possessions." [We did not do so.]  A few days later, a rheumatologist told
me, somberly, "You have a very, very serious case of Lupus."

Although committed, as always, to a fight to the mat, I did plan tentatively
for inexpensive cremation and a move into a Chase and Sanborn coffee can
which we duly purchased.

From the onset of this acute vampire-like -- or should one say werewolf? --
malevolence, things had been tougher and tougher:  extreme weakness, pain,
rashes, acute anemia, massive sweating, cramped hands and feet, and much
more.  Finally, after several weeks of procrastination on my part and once
at the hospital in early September ['03], they did a colonoscopy which
produced no evidence of cancer -- but did see me suffer two major heart
stoppages in less than 30 minutes.  Every available doctor was immediately
rushed into that situation but, when my grandson/son, Thomas [21], tried to
enter the room he was blocked.  Eventually, I went home without a
diagnosis -- and we then went through all sorts of other cancer checks:
countless x rays, blood tests, cat scans, bone marrow testing.  No cancer --
blood or otherwise -- surfaced.

But our hematologist, tops in his field, with a fine dermatologist,
eventually arrived at a diagnosis of SLE.  However, the medicine they
prescribed was not enough to check the rampaging systemic assault which was
now producing massive facial sores, vasculitis, pneumonia, thrusts into the
liver, and kidney reverberations.  Another stay in the hospital [November
'03], stronger meds, and I again left unable to walk with much
effectiveness.  Then, diabetes struck.  With a blood sugar reading of almost
one thousand, I staggered into the hospital [December '03] and passed out.
There was another cat scan -- and more -- and a young doctor told Eldri
gently, "Not everyone survives this. If he succumbs, do you want him brought
back?"  Her response was, "Bring him back."  Obviously, wherever I was at
that point, I returned.  But it was weeks before I could walk in any real
sense.

SLE -- rare, with no cure, and frequently lethal -- has been known to attack
one's mind and nervous system in general.  But I do seem to have retained
control in those quarters.  [At least no one has dared say otherwise.]

There have been a million tests since then, but no more hospitalizations.
The kind and splendid Tribute in which many participated has been a Very Big
Card -- along with all of the other kind words and good thoughts. Last
Spring I began to walk, in my old rough hill and mountain country which
begins virtually in our back yard, and, however slowly, I keep at it with
significantly increasing success.  And very recent and full blood work
indicated things are now much better.

I am still on this side of The Fog.

The Chase and Sanborn coffee can sits, now almost forgotten, on my dresser.
But Eldri and all of the kids still worry and very much so -- especially
when the omnipresent SLE is attempting, as it periodically does, a full
dress open comeback [sudden fatigue, wobbly legs, pain, cramped hands and
feet, shortness of breath, etc.]

There are always those who "have it worse."  Maria is involved in a care
facility in which a patient -- obviously once a young and vital ranch
type -- has Huntingdon's Chorea.  This, which did in Woody Guthrie, has no
cure, and no positive stability of any kind at any point.

For my part, I have done a pretty thorough life review of my own this past
year and a half, am pretty well satisfied [though I'm of course far from
perfect, there are no faces from the past into which I can not look with
equanimity], but do hope to accomplish more on the social justice front.
[And I constantly dream that I am again teaching.]  But via medicines and
doctors and all, my movements are still circumscribed -- and I do get badly
bored.  I have had no personal religious revival -- my basic faith in that
realm remains quietly intact.  The other day, I lined up my seven firearms
in a Gun Mass [five big bore Western lever actions, one .10 gauge 3 1/2 inch
magnum single barrel shotgun, one .22 mag six shooter revolver] and, in
priestly fashion, anointed them one by one with oils and caressed them with
words and felt gun cleaning patches.  Idaho had two more earthquakes, a 3.0
and a 3.5 last week -- north of Boise [western Idaho]. A few days ago, at
Boise, a distraught father called the police on his inflamed teen age son
who had a bayonet.  The police took care of that situation by shooting the
kid to death.  Over here at Pocatello and environs, racism certainly
manifests itself -- but nothing recently lethal.

We have had a few weird phone calls and I have spotted strange vehicles
moving slowly in our immediate area, but there is nothing definitive to
connect this with, say, the Stormfront White Nationalist Community which has
shown some interest in us.

I do keep writing.

A bona fide Native ceremony is always Genesis.  I will get that as I always
do.  And, hoping to go black bear hunting either this spring or next fall,
I'm researching good and promising country in southeastern Idaho [Soda
Springs region]. Bear meat is good medicine for us. [Grizzlies in Idaho are
rightly protected these days.]

And in a comparably critical dimension, social justice activism is our
life's blood.  We will never give that up and keep as busy on that front as
we possibly can.

And I can say this:  If I ever pass into and through The Fog, I won't be
sticking around for Blissy stuff.  I am coming back to this world -- quickly
and nosily.

Our best to all.  The coyotes howl, the bobcats yowl, and as the old
Western saying goes, "It's a great life if you don't weaken."

In the [now snowy] mountains of Eastern Idaho

HUNTER GRAY  [HUNTER BEAR]   Micmac /St. Francis Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
www.hunterbear.org
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'

In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
high windy ridges -- and they dance from within the very essence of our own
inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down
on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings.  Then
it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft and mysterious and
remembering way. [Hunter Bear]


Dear Hunter Gray, Dear John Salter, I am so grateful that you are on this
side of the Fog.  Thank you for your beautiful message, beautifully written.
I have shared it with special persons who do not know you but who need your
tranquility and your passion for social justice and your fight against the
Fog.  Keep us informed about your bear hunt, and your thinking, and Idaho
goings-on.

I just read about a recent dust up at the University of Idaho re: slavery
and etc.  I'm clipping the article below.  No time for us to turn back now!

Stay well, old friend,
Joan C. Browning
Lewisburg WV  24901-4147
  [12/22/04]

 

Hunter: Whatever happens—and I think you’re going to around for a long time, probably longer than I will—you’ve had a hell of a life. The Chase & Sanborn coffee can is a nice touch. Mazel tov! Steve

Steven F. McNichols  [12/22/04]
268 Bush Street, #3602
San Francisco, CA 94104-3503
 

Hi Hunter,

I hope that Eldri, you and your family have happy holidays.  I will always
remember the many fond times together at the Grand Forks Hardees.

Take care old friend,

Kevin  Henke  12/22/04
 

 
Like your fog piece quite a bit, very honest writing, but the tone scares me a bit.  Are you having any premonitions or anything?
 
John Salter [Beba]   12/22/04
 

I have weathered a brutal combination of travel and of writing demands from my work.  Through it all, I have taken part in the Saturday peace vigils here in town whenever I have been in town, And I have gained strength from the people I have been with, whether in New Orleans, La Coruna, Washington DC, Boston, Ste.-Adele (Quebec), or New York who are fighting the AIDS epidemic and its two-legged allies.  And I have also taken strength from the integrity and courage of the people on these lists and mightily so from yours, Hunter.

May the health of the solstice and of a mass of different peoples' holidays be with you all.

best
sam friedman  12/22/04

 
 
Hunter,

Many thanks for your being you, and your struggle personal, medical and
political, is an inspiration to all of us to carry on.

Carry on brother,

Jay Schaffner  12/22/04
 

Thank you, Hunter.
For the coming year I wish you renewed health and strength, vitality and
happiness.  In whatever form it comes. . I think it comes from community,
humanity, and grace. You certainly have these.

I am physically well, emotionally distraught by the nature and direction of
our country.  But I'm involved with a site called www.buyblue.org, and we're
getting LOTS of media . .  .CNN, Fox, Washington Post, Detroit, Dallas,
Cleveland, all over. . .

Cheers and good wishes to you and yours,

Martha E. Ture   12/23/04

 
 
Well, my brother, your e-mail neglects one of the primary organizing principles:
tell others what to do and organize them to get it done. What do you need and
what can I do? It has been some time since we were in contact, but you have
remained in my thoughts. How can I help and what must I do to keep this ball
of friendship and solidarity rolling? When I close my eyes I sometimes see Palestine
or Serbia, which I just returned from again, or the garment workers in south-central
Kentucky I was lucky enough to fight alongside of or the mines and miners I
grew up around or the cornmeal mush on my grandmother's stove. And it all fits
together for me in that complex relationship of forces we call class and class
struggle. Be in touch and get me organized to help you somehow.

Salamat,

bob rossi  12/23/04


Hello Hunter,

Great article !  Always good to hear from you. 

Thank you for keeping me in your information loop.  I wish you a
wonder-filled Christmas and joy for you and your family.  As an older friend
of mine says, "Every day above ground is good."

All the best.
Walk in Beauty, Peace.  Scott Colborn   12/23/04
 

Hunter:  [via e-card]

So good to hear from you.  I will aim Drew [Andrew] at your e-mail;  he arrives later tonight.

Vivian Berg   12/23/04

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Karin Kunstler
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 2004 18:18:49 -0500
Subject: Hello Hunter Bear!

Who would have thought back in 1962 that 40+ years later my daughter (now 33) would be able to do a Google search and find a picture of me when I was holding Maria on my lap when she was an infant and I was 19?  And when Jessica told me that she found a picture of me, did I think that the picture would lead me back to John and Eldri?  When we all were ensconced safely on the campus of Tougaloo, and in constant fear and danger when we stepped outside the campus, we never thought that the world would change so much and we would be able to communicate this way.  I have read much of the information on your web site  and am saddened by your struggle with serious illness and the pain you experience, but I am awed by your courage, your unceasing commitment to what you believe in and the energy you muster to reach out to those of us whom you taught and inspired.  I send my wishes to you and your family for a better new year than the last and, for all of us, wishes for peace.  -  Karin [Kunstler] 

 

From David McReynolds  12/25/04

This is, I think, the frankest (and in some ways the most painful) report
you've given of your situation. You made it through last winter and I join
all the others in hoping you make it through this one. At some point all of
us vanish through the fog. But none of us should be in a hurry.
Particularly when there is so much to be done,
and when you are needed for the task.

Let's hope the coffee can remains out of reach.

Peace and happy holidays,
David [McReynolds]   12/25/04
 

from the warmth of an untidy studio apt. in NYC (let me see if I can find a
photo of the mess and attach it).

NOTE BY HUNTER BEAR:  12/26/04

This good note [attached] by David is worth carrying to the good BWB list.
Beba, of course, about four days ago, wondered if I had had a premonition of some sort.  And David and many others [with whom I share much agreement on things] have given me a good push toward survival!  I certainly intend to survive -- but, as all of us do, I want to live effectively.  This is a rare disease -- my especially lethal version of SLE is very rare.  No version of Lupus, the many SLE variants or the purely skin kind, have any known cure. "Management" is the physicians' basic approach and, with my variant, even that is speculative and very possibly limited to a few years at most.  But anything can happen:  we are encouraged by my recent blood work results which do indicate the kidneys -- a key cause of Lupus mortality -- are now presently much safer.  My return to orderly and proportionate foot growth -- most recently, 15 to 16 -- which the medics make no effort to even try to explain, may be a positive harbinger.  There is talk of a Lupus "cure" before too long and I have had a couple of contacts with the Oklahoma-based study on Natives and Lupus -- which is seeking to isolate a particular gene. [Some estimates have Native Americans as many as ten times more likely to have Lupus, with Chicanos and African Americans and Asians not far behind. But it can hit anyone.]

Boredom is a major adversary of mine -- with or without a debilitating
disease.  It is up to me to deal with that.  I do have the intellectual
resources and my normally  broad range of interests does contain many that
are still quite viable.  Things happen which draw me out -- an "Idaho
situation" or, very recently, a friend [a mining engineer with U.S. Bureau
of Land Management] coming by to successfully ask me to give an appropriate address to their agency staff on forthcoming Martin Luther King Day.  Hard to be totally bored when surrounded by a large [and occasionally
contentious] entourage of family and furry [and fishy and turtle] friends.

And I am planning a black bear hunt.  I may have to do more waiting than
walking, but I can -- tough as it is -- be patient.  I plan to use my
Browning/Winchester 1895 lever action [30/06].  If it's good enough for
Teddy Roosevelt [the '95 was his favorite], it's good enuf for me.  Well,
anyway -- Ducking on that one!

Winter here can be tough -- but we now measure everything against North
Dakota in which we resided for some years.  Compared to that, Idaho is
border/tropical.  [An ND winter is long and lows can hit 30 to 40 below on
many occasions -- with windchills going to 100 below or worse.]

Everyone here  [eight people] was pleased with his/her Christmas take -- and Veblen's analysis was once again emphatically confirmed.  Meanwhile, the house is still a colorful mess of wrapping paper and boxes.  But, as my
father would say in comparable circumstances -- and I am sure David would
agree vis a vis his intriguing New York habitat -- "It's a lived-in house."

And with Maria and Thomas' Mimmie often involved in care facilities, we hear frequently of people who have things medically far worse than I.

It is very good to be associated with the people on BWB and some other lists
as well -- all of whom are involved in meaningful activism in the Save the
World Business.  That's more priceless than the richest gold lode.

>From David McR -- 12/25/04

This is, I think, the frankest (and in some ways the most painful) report
you've given of your situation. You made it through last winter and I join
all the others in hoping you make it through this one. At some point all of
us vanish through the fog. But none of us should be in a hurry.
Particularly when there is so much to be done,
and when you are needed for the task.

Let's hope the coffee can remains out of reach.

Peace and happy holidays,
David
from the warmth of an untidy studio apt. in NYC (let me see if I can find a
photo of the mess and attach it).



HUNTER GRAY  [HUNTER BEAR]   Micmac /St. Francis Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
www.hunterbear.org
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'

In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
high windy ridges -- and they dance from within the very essence of our own inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings.  Then it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft and mysterious and
remembering way. [Hunter Bear]

 

Dear Gentle Man, I received a copy of your recent letter via friends in NE. who  said,"...I am sending this on to you because you will know what he is talking about..." :>)

I just wanted to send you my best wishes and courage for yet another year on the planet. It is quite amazing to be here at this time and to connect with others who "see." I have marked your web site and will continue to look in on you to see what new thoughts you have to share. Your experience with doctors reminds me of my own remark...that is why they call it a practice. :>)

Much love and good medicine to you and your family. With best of wishes. Bobbie Guillory  12/26/04

 

Hunter: I know  what happened. You drank some Coors by mistake. That's why you have Lupus. Steve

Steven F. McNichols
San Francisco, CA 94104-3503   12/26/04

 

From David McReynolds:

Several years ago my friends and I assembled a wide range of beers,
Japanese, European, American - maybe ten in all. We had a blind tasting of
all of them.  Since I don't drink anymore, I simply tasted each one, but I
certainly concurred with the result.

While there was no unanimous "first choice" (in a sense no reason to expect
this, because Dutch and German and Japanese and American beers differ quite a bit), there was one unanimous bottom choice. Coors.

Even back in the days when I drank, Coors ranked very low. I never
understood the "Coors cult". My advice for years has been that people
shouldn't drink Coors because, politics aside, it is a dreadful beer.

Happy New Year,

David [McReynolds]  12/26/04

 

COMMENT BY HUNTER BEAR:  12/26/04

Now that we seem to be reaching the Confessional, I must admit that, while I have had virtually nothing to drink alcohol-wise for a very, very long time indeed -- I do have many fond memories involving Johnny Walker Red with Malt Liquor as chaser.  In fact, so fond was I of JWR [and still am in the academic sense], that I insisted the cover of the first edition of my book, Jackson Mississippi: An American Chronicle of Struggle and Schism, reflect that basic color shade.

To the Memory of the old M&M saloon at Butte, and the still functioning Palace Saloon at Prescott, Arizona, as well as the Rose Tree Buffet at Flagstaff. 

Best - Hunter Bear

ESPECIALLY WORTH NOTING:

Note by Hunter Bear:  11/24/04

A day or so ago, I posted to a couple of lists on several matters --
imminently severe weather for us in Eastern Idaho, John Reed
["Storm Boy"], a very recent and not far away 4.0 earthquake.
I also indicated a trip to our medics last Friday saw,
among other things, a good deal of blood taken for more testing.  Good news! A nurse has just called to indicate the test results have just come back, all OK -- and, in fact, things are improved.  This means, among other
things, that the kidneys -- object of general concern -- are now much safer.

And the rain and snow storms, which I like much, are now upon us.

As Ever, Hunter Bear [with new Size 16 feet and new Size 16 Lowa Mountain boots]





                                                                                                                                                        

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