Monday, March 23, 2020

I Am the Face of Potential Coronavirus – And It Does Not Feel Good

I am Peter Gorman. I have been writing for the Fort Worth Weekly since 2004, not long after I moved from New York to Texas for family reasons. I am 69-years-old. I’ve just gotten out of Huguley Hospital after a 13-day stay. It was my sixth time in the hospital in four years, all of the stays due to issues that cropped up from my second job, which is as a guide and medicinal plant collector in the Peruvian Amazon jungle. Those recent stays include time for dealing with a flesh eating virus that took three hospital stays, an exploded intestine that took three operations, and just last month, sepsis when my kidneys failed, my bladder collapsed, my legs reinfected, my heart went into severe arrythmia, and a host of less life-threatening problems.
   It is just the way things are for me and I have not changed over the last 35 years and probably won’t. I love the Amazon jungle, even though it will finally get me. I live with that.
   What I did not expect to live with was coronavirus. I am the perfect age, and currently dealing with several severe conditions, that make me the perfect candidate for this virus. Should I get it, I don’t know if I will survive. It would be awful to die of COVID after I’ve survived the jungle, but the reality is there to deal with daily. On the other hand, I can only run so much.
   I clean my hands. I wash canned and packaged goods before I use them. I go to the store with a friend daily but stay in the car and listen to music while he or my daughter fill my shopping list for dinner. And I make spectacular dinners daily – the only job I’m permitted to do. Well, that and cleaning the kitchen.
   But my friend Devon and my daughter Madeleina are still in touch with people in the supermarket. Madeleina’s friends Adrian, a fast-food delivery guy, and Patrick, who works at Target, still come over. My friend Matthew H, with whom I am writing a musical, is in touch with people but over at the house several times a week. We wash, we clean, but we’re not perfect. My younger son Marco comes over to hug me and eat dinner a couple of times a week. And then I have doctor’s appointments two or three times a week, and a home-nurse and physical therapist here several times a week.
   You get the picture, right? I try, but life goes on, even if mostly in quarantine. You avoid what you can, but you don’t roll up and sit in a fetal position. At least I don’t.
   What I miss most are the other members of my family. My ex-wife, generally over for coffee most mornings, is afraid to come and expose me to infection. Her two new daughters have not been here since I’ve been out of the hospital. My oldest son, Italo, and his wife Sarah, along with my two grandkids, Taylor Rain and Teigan Grey, have not been here either since I left the hospital a couple of weeks ago. I am used to seeing them a lot and miss them enormously. Sarah called and asked for a couple of dozen eggs from our coop –- Including half-a-dozen fresh organic duck eggs – and I have to leave them on the front porch for her to pick them up tonight.
    I am not looking for sympathy here. Things are what they are. A lot of people are in much rougher spots than I am. Meals on Wheels was killed a couple of years ago. ow How will those folks get good food now, and how will they stave off the virus without it? Where will people living on the street eat if they can’t dumpster dive because the restaurants are closed and the dumpsters are empty? What will people like me, of the right age and sick, do for food if they have not friends to buy it for them. Will they risk it and shop for themselves?
   This is a huge issue, everyone. I hope you all make it through.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Back From the Jungle, Sick Again

WELL, it's been more than a month since I am home from Peru, where Devon and I treated two fantastic groups to deep jungle work in the Amazon, both in getting acquainted with the dangers of that place and the fantastic medicines it offers as well. Both gropups melded wonderfully. Everything was perfect. EXCEPT>>>>> that I stopped being able to walk or stand on my own, which as not just strange but terrifying.
Things got bad enough that Devon insisted I come home several days early from the trip--days that I was sup[posed to be using to find a boat for my next big expedition--and I was in bad enough shape that I let him lead the way.
If he was not traveling with me I do not believe they would have let me on the plane. I did not realize how ill I was.
I got home on a Friday afternoon and was in the hospital on Saturday morning, one step above regular hospital and one step below ICU. Turns out my kidneys had failed, mu bladder had collapsed, I was holding several gallons of water in my legs and torso and bladder that couldnot pass becuse my prostte had sudenly enlarged horribly. I had a majpor bleeding ulcer and needed four pints of blood, and then there was the infection in my legs.
Oy vey, this was not great. 14 days in the hospital and they set me free with a catheter tied to my privates and my leg to allow me to drain my urine. 10 medicines that have me terrified to use sapo right now because I don't know what the interactions will be. I am still laughing as best as I can. I'm cooking up a storm. I'm getting better. I do not like having to put a 12 inch catheter into my private parts every five hours--that is a serious invasion and it hurts, as well.
Oh, and I got fired from y job at thenewspper--Im too sick these days--and some land I OWN IN Peru was invaded by dozens of people who started butting my pristine forest to build houses.
All in all a tough month. I wonder why I keep getting tested. WHAT'S THE POINT? SEEMS Ive been tested for years now. Do I ever get a freaking diplomaq? I don't think so.
And I know that millions of people every day have it way worse than me. I wish I could alleviate their pain and eliminate their suffering. I would do anything if I could do that. Unfortunately, I'm just this guy in this pretty broken body with no superpowers to heal people.
For all of you, I hope you are strong and share your strength. Hug someone you love and make sure they know you love them.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

New Radio Show interview

Good afternoon. I did a radio show with Dr. Joe out of McGill University in Canada -- the Harvard of Canada -- and think it came out okay. If anyone wants to check it out, here it is:

Thanks. And everyone: Please have a safe and wonderful Happy New Year! I hope it is bright and full of magic for you all!

Monday, December 16, 2019

More food Stuff!!!!!

So I was in the kitchen doing a little clean up. I had a radio show and then a phone call I had to make, so my daughter and Devon went to the supermarket for me today. Naturally, once they were gone I remembered I hadn't told them to pick up any food for Boots the Wonderdog, so I had to go searching in the fridge to see what we had left over.
I was sort of surprised at what was there, none of it more than a few days old and all still good.
There was some left over 4-cheese mac and cheese with spinach, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and scallions, plus an extra bowl of the cheese sauce that I'll probably pass off as dip if there are any unexpected guests tonight.
Then there was Uncle Clem's chicken -- a chicken and broccoli dish in a rich mushroom sauce topped with mozzarella and baked; a nice bowl of thin spaghetti with a shrimp and clam sauce; two pieces of lime chicken; a good sized pot of chicken cacciatore with lots of baby bella mushrooms and red and yellow peppers; and then half of last night's grill: marinated chicken, sausage, and veggies, that was served with corn on the cob.
I guess Boots is gonna eat well tonight even though I forgot to tell the kids to pick up livers and hearts.
And I guess we've been eating well this week.
I hope you are all eating well every day.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Toast and Jam

Okay, so a friend and co-conspirator at the Fort Worth Weekly, the paper I write for here in Fort Worth, has a weekly show called Toast and Jam. Jeff Prince has done about 100 of them and I never checked it out. Now that I have I have to tell you it is fantastic, brilliant, hilarious. Go to and on the home page you will see a couple of the 5 minute bits on the right hand side of the page.
Now he asked me to be his guest last week. One of the things done on the show is that after a short intro/interview, the guest makes a toast, and then the guest jams with Jeff. He said he wanted to sing a jungle song and I suggested I'd write new lyrics to Jingle Bells called Jungle Bells but he nixed that. So I said "Why not do 'Welcome to the Jungle?'" Well, he jumped on that and forced me to sing it. In public. And made me promise to put it up here. So I'm doing that. Axl Rose is either gonna kill himself because I do it so well he's embarrassed that he ever did it, or he's gonna kill me for wreaking his best song. Anyway, here goes.

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Sapo/Kambo Letter to a Writer

A writer in Montreal published a story about frog sweat medicine that was fairly critical of the medicine's actual value to the humans who utilize it. I responded with this:

Joe: Hello, this is Peter Gorman, a journalist, and the person who brought the frog sweat medicine out of the jungle and into the Western World in 1986. One of the people who got my earliest reports on its use was Dr. Vittorio Erspamer of the FIDIA Institute at the University of Rome. He had been studying peptides in amphibians, including the Phyllomedusa bicolor, for years, and was thrilled that he finally had a report of someone who had personally experienced the frog's secretions in the human body, as there had been no previous reports of that.
   Erspamer went through my early paper describing what I claimed occurred to me while under the influence of the frog -- 99 percent of it physical -- then used some of the actual material I sent him to study whether what I was claiming could be explained by the peptides found in the frog secretion. He published his findings in Toxicon, a peer reviewed journal that can be found on-line (or I can send you a link). His early work discovered seven bio-active peptides in the material that easily explained all of the physical symptoms. There were two opiods, a vasodilator, sauvagine, a bradkinen that could jump the blood brain barrier, and others.
   The only thing he could not explain was my sensation of animals moving through me, which he chalked up to my having used a Theobroma cacao/wild black tobacco snuff just prior to the frog sweat.
   The indigenous who introduced me to the medicine were the Matsés/Mayoruna indigenous who live on the Rio Galvez, near the Brazilian/Peruvian border. They do not drink any water prior to the medicine use. They rarely vomit during sessions and never appeared to have any protocol regarding the medicine in terms of diet. They simply used the medicine when their arrows were missing targets, when they needed to take long hikes (sometimes days), got the grippe, among other reasons. I continue to work with a few Matsés and have for more than three decades, and still see no protocol.
    When the same medicine was later discovered to be used by nearby indigenous groups in Brazil, their methodology was claimed to include drinking copious amounts of water to induce vomiting. Gringos have since added layers of "spirituality" to the medicine's use because, well, that's what Westerner's do.
   I am belaboring things and I'm sorry. I just want to stress that there is certainly science behind why this medicine is being utilized by many people. My own account of that first use of the medicine -- including a lot of Erspamer's Toxicon material -- was published in Omni Magazine in the early 1990s with the heading Making Magic.
   Sorry to go on. If you wanted to do a follow up to this piece, I'd make myself available.
Thank you,
Peter Gorman

Monday, November 25, 2019

Food in the Fridge

So I have someone coming tomorrow to start the 10 day sapo (frog sweat) medicine course I give occasionally--which means when someone wants it. When they come I have to clean the house. And in this case the person is paying a little extra for room and board here for the 10 days. So I was thinking about food and looked in the fridge and asked Devon what the hell was in the four bowls in there and could we get rid of it to make space for juices, and so forth.
Devon said: I think there is some fajita stew that you just made a couple of days ago, and a piece of lime chicken that was fantastic. There is also a piece of chicken parmesan you just made, and a bowl of Spanish red rice with garlic, chopped meat and veggies. Plus spaghetti bolognese.
I told him to hold the phone and I'd get back to him but not to throw away any of that. It sounded like an exquisitely tasty tasting menu. The hell with the new guy. We're eating this!!!!