September 18, 2009:
I moved into Maitri quite suddenly, so my plans about how to use my two homes has been pretty seat-of-the-pants. And that's turned out to be quite fine. After being in my temporary room for a few hours (my permanent room becomes available on Sept. 30th), I decided that I needed to let my roots grow into my new home. I didn't want to jam those roots into their new environment, rather, let them ease in at their own pace. This meant that I spent my first night there, then, the second night as well. Now I see myself spending all my nights there. That's moving in.
So much of tuning into the rhythm of the place involves being there for meals and night time. There's so much to adjust to. I have pills brought to me at specific times. There's the option of dining with other residents or in my room. And speaking of dining, I no longer have to cook for myself. A mixed event: I love to cook and I like the results. Still, the time and dexterity are harder on me than in the past, so it's appropriate to hand over that responsibility. My current room overlooks the cross streets of Church and Duboce. This is a major traffic hub and I have to say, I totally enjoy the urban sounds of the streetcars, buses, cars, underground, etc. I used to take all those transportation systems within the past week and it cheers me to hear the mechanical brakes and accelerations as people are carried from one place to another. My apartment on Fulton is much more quiet by comparison and I have a big tolerance for the noise.
The two tasks that occupy my thoughts are the dispersion of my worldly goods and setting up a telephone tree. Here are my thoughts about giving away my stuff. Many people have requested something or things that they've always liked of mine. Also, I've asked people to take something that seems a good match. I've kept a list of the people and the things. In the next few days, I'll send out an email to each person reminding them of the gift. If the object has a dimension that makes it hard to put in a car, I'll send the measurements so that you can arrange for appropriate transportation. If you live outside the Bay Area, we'll figure out shipping. I would like to be out of this apartment by the end of October, so the next few weeks will be busy with people arriving to pick up their things. All of this retrieval will be scheduled. I may be here, or it may be another person such as Gaetano who has volunteered to be there for the occasion. Unfortunately, this will not be a major social moment. I would really appreciate it if you could come here, pick up your gifts and do a slow U turn. We can visit at leisure when I am at Maitri.
The second planning is to set up a communication tree. Here's how that works. Eileen Lemus has agreed to be the trunk, the person responsible for sending information about my condition to ten or twelve people. Those ten or twelve people will have a list of folks that they relay the information to via phone or email. This system allows for 150 to 200 people to receive messages very quickly. Whereas, if one person were to try to...well, let's not go there. For right now, this tree isn't an immediate requirement. It's growth will start when Eileen contacts the branches and the branches contact the twigs or leaves. Sorry, this metaphor is getting awfully tired very quickly! But, you get my drift. Right now, the blog serves to keep all of you informed. The tree will be most appreciated during the end of my life when I'm no longer able to manage the information about myself. I'll be living it, but I won't be able to report directly. At that point, the blog will be taken over by two or three writers, and the telephone tree will also be sending out information. As the tree starts to grow, you'll be contacted. Whew, no more organic allusions for a few paragraphs!
In terms of my health, I am very well cared for. My pain management system is being tested, tweaked, etc. I am much more comfortable. My ability to sleep has always been good, but I am more deeply rested in the past few days. It's as if my body said, "OK, I'll get you through the end of your work and career, and then I need to fall apart a bit." Which is exactly what happened.
I know that many of you have questions about how to reach me. Right now, I retrieve my messages from my land line twice a day. You can still use that number--(415) 921-1819--for a couple of weeks. After that, you may use my cell phone number: (415) 517-9278. When I move into my final room, I'll give you that number so that you may directly call me on that line as well. I don't imagine a lot of correspondence, but my new address is Maitri Compassionate Care. 401 Duboce St. San Francisco, CA 94114. Attn. George Stevens
As many of you know, Maitri is located near the corner of Church and Duboce streets. At the exact corner is the vintage clothing store: Out of the Closet. Maitri is right next door with a Japanese entrance. Parking is sketchy, but the public transportation is fabulous. Actually, parking isn't that bad. Just remember that you are in San Francisco!
I have felt so supported by the people who moved mountains to get me into Maitri within 24 hours of realizing how deeply I needed care. Also, all the people reading this blog whether you have sent emails or not, your energy has been a part of my ability to make this move with little or no ambivalence. The time is right. The place is available. It's my pleasure to make the move.