The Downhilll

The DownhilllOn the one hand, we’ve been busy – organizing and signing prints for the archive – some 500 so far – at the same time as the body is crashing in unprecedented fashion.

I can only just walk as I write this and if it weren’t for my new best friend Susie Bautista, a home health care worker, I’d be much less mobile than I am. My left arm has gone from paralyzed to stiff – it gets in the way a lot. Thanks to the enlarged prostate, much of my time is sent traveling to and from the bathroom. Impaired mobility plus enlarged prostate equals some degree of misery, if I do say so myself.

Susie has cheerfully chipped in and helped the poor, beleaguered spouse with some household chores when she isn’t tending to me. Other bright spots include John, Julie and Grace, who continue their weekly cheer-up mission, to good effect

My stamina is steadily declining and I’m napping more, often twice a day. Sitting up is becoming a chore, And did I mention the sore back? Misery, indeed – and all from side effects rather than the tumor itself . The good news is no seizures, just a little intermittent weirdness with muscle spasms.

The power wheelchair gets me around when I’m up. I’m still dependent on Linda and Susie to get me up and do all the little things like move my (decaf) coffee cup from breakfast table to garage or wherever I’m working..


About Chris Gulker

Chris Gulker, a self-described Infuential Blogger, lived in Menlo Park, California with spouse Linda. He passed away in late October 2010.
This entry was posted in All, My Brain, New Life, The countdown. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to The Downhilll

  1. Alan Doe says:

    Great to see your smiling face on this tenth day of October, 2010! Congratulations on getting your photographic collection compiled. You put most of us (photographers) to shame. By the way, the students have been shooting film and one young man asked me about the camera he was using–an F3 that was slow-sounding due to low batteries. On the back, in the film slot, was your name from the newspaper days. I got to share with the class how many of them were using equipment from “this amazing photographer” and how the cameras and lenses had seen everything from presidents to the Academy Awards. Your legacy reaches far and wide. The thoughts and prayers of many from WRA are with you and Linda.


  2. Lamar says:

    Chris, I am using the LX-3 I bought per your recommend and getting some interesting (?) shots. Posted a shot to FB of a nervous rescue team waiting out a coastal surf rescue by the Coast Guard. I am most appreciative of your good photographic advice. Another legacy gift from you.

  3. Chris says:

    Lamar- always risky giving camera advice,but glad it seems to be working out- I love mine!but then I’m a one- handed hemiplegic photog not many of us around !

  4. John Donald says:

    And yet, there you are, smiling for the camera. Would that we all had such grace when dealing with our minor vicissitudes.

  5. Chris says:

    Alan- you really know how to cheer a guy up.. I hope those F 3 batteries will still take a charge..big news here is that G. RayHawkins, who formerly rep’d collections by Annie Liebovitz, Helmut Newton et al. has agreed to be the agent for the Gulker Photo Archive. WRA photo student makes good it would seem…

  6. I always look forward to reading your posts. They are always interesting and informative.

    WRA photo student makes good…. how cool is that? Still continuing to make good, I’d say.

    I used to use an F3 when I was working at OSU. Great little camera. What was the name of the new Nikon you recently purchased? It was one that you could adjust so you were able look down into the view finder and thus not be so obvious to your subject.

    Take care…

  7. Libby Tigner says:

    Chris, thought you might appreciate this story about John Quincy Adams:
    is said that one day in his eightieth year as he walked slowly alomg a Boston street he was accosted by a friend who said, “And how is John Quincy Adams today?” The former president of the United States replied graciously, “Thank you,John Quincy Adams is well sir,quite well,I thank you.But the house in which he lives at present is becoming dilapidated.It is tottering upon the foundation.Time and the seasons have nearly destroyed it.Its roof is pretty well worn out,its walls are shattered,and it trembles with every wind.The old tenement is becoming almost uninhabitable,and I think John Quincy Adams will have to move out of it soon;but he himself is quite well,sir,quite well.”And with that the venerable statesman,leaning heavily upon his cain,continued his slow walk down the street.

  8. Carol McCrary says:

    Chris dear…. Seems miracles continue to happen. Susie and Grace and Halloween. We wish we were closer, but know our love and prayers surround you and Linda.
    Carol and Bob

  9. margret gulker brady says:

    Hi Chris,
    Just finished reading about unexplainable circumstances that the author calls, when God winks. It reminded me of the printing magazine, Wendell discovered in a rest room that had your picture in it and led us to finding you after so many years. Realized that we hadn’t communicated since our daughter Karen died. Speaking of God winking at us, the Karen winks would fill another book and have led to me to many new activities helping to save the world, one tiny piece at a time.

    I mentioned to you before that our friends son, Jason Teeple had suffered from brain and spinal tumor problems and it appears that you both are now suffering from similar side effects resulting from your successful treatment. Jason returned home to his family in Morristown last year and with his sister and parents is exploring all his options and conferring with a multitude of specialists on the east coast. I’ve been attempting to help in small ways by designing his new space to function better and soothe him. He is very patient with my suggestions and even uses some. We recently painted his ceiling sky blue for example so that when he is in bed he can feel more a part of nature. As we design his new bathroom, which now only has a tub, your comments about the 3″ rim to the shower proved very helpful. Its a point we had been debating.
    Jason in turn attempts to help me maintain my computer at a level where I can function without being overwhelmed. Considering I turned 75 this summer, I’m pleased to be functioning at all given the fact that I was not supposed to survive much beyond 30. So much for predictions, especially those of doctors, who do the best they can I guess. I’m still trying to figure out what I should be doing. We have decided that lugging 50 foot ladders around, maintaining our 1887 victorian monster house is not a practical way to live and have put our home of 36 years on the market. Our son and daughter-in-law had begun having nightmares about being left with the chore of clearing our 18 rooms full of accumulated treasures and files that only I know about. By the way, is there anything old or sentimental that you might be pining for? So far I’ve found new owners for some old army helmets, a Jackie Kenneday doll, my hippie clothes and firehouse mugs. We have books stashed in every nook and crannie and only I know where to locate which book when I need it. Its been fun passing books on to friends and charities. I have a major job ahead of me archieving my family history papers and pictures and the research papers I’ve written, now very loosely organized in several places. I keep reminding me that I should be grateful that I’m able to do this instead of complaining about the work it takes.

    As we learned with Karen’s 11 year journey with cancer, you can’t predict the future, good or bad so we might as well make the best of each moment whenever we can.

    I’m sending Jason him your web site link, so watch for word from Jason Teeple, another talented, artistic computer geek. Love Margret

  10. Patrick Getze says:


    hang in there big guy, so glad you keep this blog, it makes me smile seeing you smile 🙂 I’m coming to visit in November, looking forward to seeing you and Linda and the rest of the fam.


  11. Today is the 15th and we haven’t heard from you for a few days. It is always a concern when you don’t write… so our hearts are reaching out for a second time on the post.

    You are like a knight riding a white charger. You just keep going and going and going to relate the news and to spread knowledge and cheer. You are a blessing to us all. You and Linda, your princess in the tower, are the bravest and most enduring of all.


  12. H:mmmmm. the previous was supposed to end with little hearts but I see it translated to question marks. Software glitch.

    Love you both.

  13. Discovered 15 years ago when in love with someone in LA & now is departing when it seems the 1st love in 15 years with someone in LA has begun. Maybe that’s where I belong if solitude doesn’t work out anymore.

  14. Miki (Beaver) Moreno says:

    Hi, Chris,
    April called to let me know how you’re doing. This is the first time I’ve commented on a blog, so have mercy.
    I just wanted to say I’m thinking about you and how much support you gave me going to pre-natal check-ups. You were there the first time I heard Phaedra’s heart beat and I was so happy to have a friend to share it with. Phaedra has a little girl of her own now, she’s a lot like Fay and Fay’s a lot like me, so of course Katy is somewhat strange.
    Anyway, thanks again,
    Love, Miki

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