Are you sitting down?

The view from the dorm
February 19, 2004

Three solid days of work in Wyoming plus two for travel.

I got here through Denver on a twin propped plane with no restroom. It holds about 15 passengers. I have to stoop to fit through the aisle. There’s a tinge of adventure every time I make this trip.

The dorm I stay in has steam heat, peeling yellowed wallpaper and narrow army-like beds. There are a row of pay-phones in the lobby, but no extensions in the rooms. My digital phone switches into analog mode and drains the battery.

It’s really hard to get a hold of me when I am out here.

When I’m working, I can access email through the web.

I got several notes from family the previous day: Call ASAP, they each read, with no other detail.

Turns out my father had a stroke.

I take this news in stride and they said he’s doing fine. Don’t worry.

This morning, I get another note. Call ASAP.

I get a hold of my brother and he asks me if I’m sitting down.

I am.

Dad’s stroke was caused by a tumor on his brain. It started in the lungs. They’ve found it in his liver.

It’s in his bones.

It’s Cancer.

The doctors say he has six months to live.

I’m writing this down, but I don’t know what I am thinking. It’s been hard to think of anything else, and since the news, I’ve been operating on auto-pilot.

I’m trying hard not to believe the doctors.