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San Francisco Gay Pride parade

November 18th, 2003

Here In Oakland
A drive down to Palo Alto this morning at ten, an hour an a half to cover the forty miles to the Stanford hospital. An accident on the way adding ten or fifteen minutes to the trip, another accident on the way back adding about the same. Life driving in the bay area. Maybe it means employment and therefor traffic is up, maybe it means fender benders cause traffic jams.

I had the last PSA test done up here in Oakland and the results sent to the doctor in Palo Alto three months ago to avoid this very drive and I've been wondering why they hadn't sent me the results.

You didn't call?

Well, you know. Sometimes you avoid the subject. The truth will come soon enough.

They'd received the results, but the test they run in Oakland isn't accurate enough. The lowest PSA it will measure is point one. Point one is a bad result, it needs to be under point oh-five so they drew blood this morning and will let me know Monday or Tuesday. If it's still point one I suspect I'm dead. So much for vertigo and an aching head. It's like a game of chance, each new hand erasing any concern you had over the last. Aces and eights.

I don't believe the Oakland test doesn't measure below point one (whatever) - why run a PSA test that doesn't provide useful results? - I believe they want to run another test on their own turf to confirm the result. And then again I believe them, that they called and were told the test is not accurate below the reading of point one, just as all things in Oakland are less accurate and it will turn out to be all right. Aces and eights.

Are you really worried?

I'm interested in Monday's results. I've been half in and half out of a "doom is on the horizon" reality since the spring of last year. There's a whole generation right behind me that's going to go through these same realizations: there's a beginning, there's a middle and yes, an end. Get your head around it. Shit. I was thinking ninety would be an interesting goal, plenty of time yet to remain in denial, plenty of time to shoot pictures and watch old Simpson's reruns.

You OK?

I'm OK. Write it down, get on with it. We'll see Monday. I'm just not certain what happened this morning, whether the doctor was seeing something he's seen too many times - patient management and all that - or was the Oakland test a test that wasn't accurate enough to properly measure the really low counts you get when they've removed your prostate and the test will always deliver a point one result at the bottom end of the scale. Hi, ho. It certainly is Tuesday. Here in Oakland.

The photograph was shot at a San Francisco Gay Pride parade with a Nikon F5 and the 135mm f 2.0 Nikon (Nikkor) lens on Kodak TMAX 400.