Fellow Houston blogger Harry Hamid (not his real name) has been chronicling his battle with cancer for the last few months. As with most of Harry's public writing, his posts and Tweets have been long on mental and emotional impressions, short on nitty-gritty details—at least that's true of the one's that I've seen. This report will have to be similar lacking in detail, vague even, because I'm not sure what I'm authorized to reveal.
Mere weeks ago, Harry was in remission and back at his parents' home. Tonight, I visited him in an ICU in one of the major Texas Medical Center hospitals. When I saw his Tweets taking a turn toward resignation, it was a wake-up. Somehow I missed this post two months ago, so I didn't know about his LifeFlight ride between hospitals. It was his first time flying in a helicopter; his mother told me that he slept through it.
Although Harry and I have never been thick as thieves, I've known and liked him since we both worked on the 2000 Nader/LaDuke campaign. So seeking him out for a visit was a given, especially since he's within easy cycling distance of my home. After several years of not seeing much of him, he came back into my circle a few years ago and provided diligent, meticulous assistance on an organizational project in which I was involved. So I have described him recently as "not a close friend, but a valuable friend." Being an outgoing introvert, I have quite a few of those.
From what I was able to gather, Harry has an abnormally aggressive lymphoma. He's getting equally aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Machines are helping him breathe and digest. He is not speaking very well, barely able to make himself heard; being an attorney, he still has a lot to say.
A Very Harry Anecdote
In 2017, I suggested to Harry that he file to run for a position on the Court of Criminal Appeals. There was a strong possibility, we had heard, that the Democratic Party would not be able to find a candidate for that seat. He seemed open to the idea, but as the filing deadline approached he decided not to. It was probably the right choice: The Green Party of Texas fell way short of successfully petitioning its way back onto the state ballot for 2018. But I wonder whether GPTX and the various county parties would have got their proverbial shit together for a petition drive if there was a statewide race with no Democrat and a clear shot at the magic 5% polling.
As it happened, last year's contest for CCA Place 8 was a two-way race between the Republican incumbent and the Libertarian nominee; the Libertarian peeled off 25% of the vote, a record showing for the L's and guaranteeing ballot access for 2020. (Under the new law, they now have a ballot line through 2028.)
This Just In: Cancer Still Sucks
Have I said before that I'm tired beyond measure of seeing people in my life—decent, talented, fascinating, deeply human people—go through these cancer battles, occasionally winning but mostly not? I've known for a good while that getting older carries a price of seeing more of your peers and loved ones die each seemingly-shorter-than-the-previous year. But surely these past few years have exceeded the quota, right?
Updates to follow. Meanwhile post your well-wishes on Harry's blog or on his Twitter feed, would ya please?
Blogging Sporadically since 2014
Here you will find political campaign-related entries, as well as some about my literature, Houston underground arts, peace & justice, urban cycling, soccer, alt-religion, and other topics.