So, if I said to you, “Time is a funny ole thing,” you wouldn’t necessarily argue, would you? Certainly not without some clarification.

We’ve gone back and forth about that on this space before. Well, I assume we have. I mean, I’ve gone back and I assume you’ve gone forth.

But the point I’m generally trying to make is that even though an hour is always an hour, always 60 minutes, always 3,600 seconds, if you had a stopwatch and were supposed to press “Stop” each time an hour passed, even given a generous cushion — 10 minutes either way, say — you’d probably still be wrong way more often than you would be right. Right?

I don’t claim to have any idea why this is, I guess I don’t even know if it’s a universal truth. The only thing I can say with certainly, I suppose, is that it’s true for me.

At no time, nor place, is this more apparent to me than when on some monumental journey, physical or mental. Say, driving to Florida from any New England state (or the geographical equivalent in miles) with more than one kid and/or dog in the car … Can I get an amen brothers and sisters?

I don’t know if having DVD players, iPods, cellphones or other electronic doodads makes a difference, but I rather doubt it, unless kids are somehow forbidden to use the word “mine” for the entire trip. The dog can take his chances.

As far as mental anguish? How about waiting for lab tests? Any lab tests, even/especially pee-on-a-stick.

The second anniversary of my stem cell transplant is just around the corner. Talk about an event that ran the gamut from the blink of an eye to spilled molasses in February.

The time leading up to the actual process was painfully long, but there were so many details to be fixed that any less would have been criminal. And as the day approached ever so slowly, key bits of the procedure kept popping into our heads — “You’ll be given enough strong chemo to kill you … twice;” “You’ll be in isolation for about 20 days;” “Then you just have to wait for the new cells to take hold.”

And as time went by, those actual phrases, though not their portent, became more and more succinct: “chemo, kill, twice, isolation 20 days, new cells, hold, chemo, kill, isolation, hold, kill, kill, kill.”

And as the number of words dropped, the speed with which they would present themselves in my brain would grow … until they didn’t.

After the verbal climax of the transplant itself, we began the arduous trip back to what we thought would be a clean bill of health, but what turned out to be less than that.

Still, as we recovered, foods would be dropped from the prohibited list; I no longer needed a mask, first indoors, then outdoors, then in small crowds, big crowds, etc.; my hair would grow back.

The days were taken up with watching for signs that I was getting better, whatever that meant. Time flew, time dragged, an hour lasted every length of time imaginable except for 60 minutes.

And now, all those 37-minute, 76-minute, 61-minute, 44-minute hours have added up to almost two years. So, even the sum total is a gyp.

I mean, in many ways it seems like just yesterday Sheri and I were on our way home from Boston and I had rain fall on my bald head for the first time ever. But, too, it must have been way more than two years ago that Sheri and I sat on my hospital bed in Boston and stared at the dry erase board willing my white blood cells to climb from two to 6,000 so I could go home.

And what have we been through in those two years, people? You’ve had your share of 71- and 54-minute hours, and so have we. And here we are. Still standing. Sheri is a little tipped to one side because of her broken leg and ankle. I’m not quite as upright as I was two years ago and chances are you may not be either.

I’d still take my journey over anyone’s. How ’bout you?

Jim Arnold is a former copy editor for the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. To read more about his journey through cancer, visit his blog,

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