Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

I am so over 2015

Right before Christmas, I learned that a swim buddy who had gone to the doctor for stomach pain had been diagnosed with stage four gastric cancer.

In case you’re not familiar with stage four, it means ‘get your affairs in order, and soon’.

It was the last thing anyone expected – we knew he’d not been feeling well, but to go from “I need an antacid” to “They tell me I’m going to die and they can’t help me”, well, that’s… difficult.

We all want life to be fair. Good things should happen to good people, right?

People who love everyone and bring nothing but joy to the lives of others deserve all the best – like winning the powerball and dating vapid supermodels while relaxing in their obscenely awesome mansions.

Good people don’t deserve to be blindsided by the news that’s they’re going to die, painfully, really soon.

And when they do die, it hurts like hell.

You think it’s easier if you have time to prepare, but it’s not.

I can give you advance warning that I’m going to hit you in the head with a brick, and you can brace all you like, but you’re still getting hit in the head with a brick.

In the midst of all this, a co-worker headed home to the San Fernando Valley after working a day at Fox.

Since said co-worker had a newborn baby at home, he opted to ride his motorcycle so he could get home faster and spend more time with his son.

As he crossed over the Sepulveda Pass, two cars collided.

I’ve heard two stories.

One was a car swerving out of control, the other was flying debris.

Either story results in him dying on the scene.

The local news kept showing pictures of his downed motorcycle while trying to placate the irritated commuters who just wanted to get home.

Perhaps to their newborn sons.

The memorial services for both men were the same weekend. One on Saturday, one on Sunday. Both were lovely, thoughtful attempts to celebrate a life.

But both services had the feeling that something, somewhere, was just not fucking fair, and someone, somewhere, needed to fucking do something about it.

FYI, given a choice, I’d choose the hit to the head with no warning.

The knowledge that it’s coming just makes it worse.

But thank your deity of choice that all the shitty stuff happened in January.

You know, get it all over with right away.

Or.. not.

A week ago, one of my teeth started to ache.

Said tooth has always been… difficult, ever since getting a shitty National Health filling while living in a certain un-named place.

Said shitty filling broke right after college and became an even larger shitty filling which never stopped giving me problems, but I’d go to the dentist, she’d say my bite was ‘off’, and grind until said bite was back on.

Then, Saturday, I had a nice hot cup of coffee and it felt like someone hit me in the side of the head with a very hot nail-studded brick.

All weekend I figured it was my bite, again.

Then, Monday, when I saw the dentist, I got The Look.

You know, the look you get when someone is about to tell you something that is exactly the opposite of what you wanted to hear.

“This isn’t a bite thing any longer, and I can’t fix it. The tooth is making you sick. I’m going to refer you to an oral surgeon”.

Then, the dreaded words: Root canal.

I’d never had a root canal, but I’d heard horror stories.

I must have paled or pissed myself or screamed or something, because she felt the need to pass me a tissue and assure me that the oral surgeons were ‘very good’ and I’d feel better right away.

I assumed I’d go for a consult – but when they finally saw me 90 minutes late (speaking of the brick and the warning, think about 90 minutes sitting in the waiting room of an oral surgeon reading the pamphlets about everything that can go wrong with various teeth), I was ushered into a room where a nice lady tried to chat about the weather while laying out instruments which would have given the Spanish Inquisition a massive boner. Or something.

So I had part (one – two is next week) of a root canal, which, honestly, wasn’t as bad as I had imagined.

Now my biggest problem is craft service and the lack of soft food.

Let’s all hope that’s it for the year.

Please, let this be it for the year.

Filed under: cranky, mishaps, Non-Work, , , , , , ,

7 Responses

  1. chucksnuc says:

    Hmm, cancer. All the kids (over 50) are doin’ it. Even many who do not volunteer for it. All I can say is: be aware of your body and don’t ignore those things out of the ordinary that seem to persist.
    It’s much better to be given a new job (eating and exercising to save your life) rather than an end date to your journey.

  2. andrea says:

    I’ve had root canal x 3 (tried to catch a baseball with my face). It’s rare that anything nowadays can be fixed, once and for all, hang the cost. So there is that to be grateful for. But I am sorry for the unfairness your friends’ fates. I have noticed the only thing worse is when a loved one is murdered. That goes on and on and on without end. Clean exits are the rarest gift. And I’m sorry I can offer this about root canals, like you need more great news (I’m in the depths of a dark February myself): the tooth becomes more brittle over time and likely will need a crown.

  3. 2008, my Mother is diagnosed with lung cancer. She opts for surgery and something went wrong, thus began a four month, five night a week, all night, sojourn for me in hospitals and nursing homes so my father could rest knowing she was not alone. Couldn’t get her better and she passed suddenly of a heart attack when I wasn’t there.

    Dad, of course, was immediately diagnosed with prostate cancer, so from ’08 until ’13 I was looking after him, moving into his home to care for him in the last six months of his life, culminating in my being there to hold his hand as he passed in his own bedroom in his own home.

    All bad enough, but my best friend died of pulmonary fibrosis unexpectedly exactly one month before my Dad passed.

    To say I’m still reeling from events of the past 7 years would be accurate.

    Death, when it comes for me will be welcome as I’ve no fear of it and believe it to be the beginning of something new rather than an end, but there can be no denial that it sucks getting left behind when people you care for go before you, whatever their age or the cause.

    Root Canals? I also found it nothing as bad as I’d heard over the years, but will caution you about this: The crown they put on in the end…. I had two molars next to each other done at the same time, and one of the crowns felt “off” from the beginning. Sure enough, constant infections and swelling in that area of my gums ever since…. Miss one evening of flossing, and the next day I may not be able to chew.

    Moral of the story: If the crown gives you and problems after the first couple of weeks, make them re-do it or it can turn into a real bitch.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I was so happy to be done w/2014, thinking maybe I’d be in the clear. 6 wks in I realize I completely jinxed myself. I’m sorry about your friends–hang in there…

  5. I worked with Paul many times over the past few years at Radford. He was just about to start work on a returning show there when he was killed. His gaffer — who had taken long motorcycle trips with Paul in the past — said he was one of safest riders he knew.

    His understanding of what happened is that Paul was in the second lane, riding safe and minding his own business, when a truck went out of control in the opposite lanes of the freeway. That truck hit another car, sending debris flying over the median barrier into a car traveling just to the left of Paul’s motorcycle in the first lane. Seeing heavy metal coming his way, the driver of that car instinctively swerved to avoid the debris — but in so doing, took out Paul and his motorcycle. According to this account, he never had a chance.

    When it comes to such accidents, age has nothing to do with it — life can pull the rug out from under you for no good reason and with no warning at all. Still, a lot of bad things do seem to be happening early in this new year. A friend who follows astrology tells me that “mercury is in retrograde,” and although I’m not among those who tie our fates to the stars — and given all that’s been going wrong of late — she might just have a point this time.

    I’ll tell you this much — all the shit hitting the fan lately has me riding very carefully on my daily commute to and from work over Laurel Canyon…

  6. Marci Liroff says:

    Oh honey, I’m so sorry for your loss.

    I’m not going to send you a story about root canal or my friends dying too. Sometimes you just need to vent – which you did very eloquently.

    I hope you’re out of pain soon and on your way to a healthy mouth.
    Sending love to you and your friends’ families.

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