Reality Check

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I was literally pacing this morning, not knowing which way to turn. Pacing is my physical manifestation of overwhelmed. I need this, no, (turn /walk) I need that, (turn/walk) must, should, can’t,(turn/walk) what first? How can I? STOP! Stop.

Breakfast in Bed

Daily tray of pills to go with the morning coffee. What a start to the day!

The past week has been a reality check for Dave and me. His response to chemo was over the top. And, not in a good way. Although we have the dehydration under control, and his creatinine (kidney function blood test) is back to his normal level, that’s doesn’t mean we’re back to normal at all. He is up and down all night to the bathroom. Sometimes within minutes. He now has a non-UTI (urinary tract infection) UTI. That’s means the he has the symptoms – need to go, can’t go, pain, etc., but no clinical data to back it up. No fever, his white cell count good (elevated is a sign of infection), no bacteria noted in the urine sample. (Does this mean prostate problem?) Dave is special this way. He also once spent several days in the hospital for a non-pneumonia (pneumonia-like was the diagnosis) pneumonia! (Come to think of it, he also got pneumonia when he took the pneumonia vaccine. He never did that again.) But I digress.

Reality check. The bottom line is summed up in his statement to me during one of our early morning talks in the dark this week: “I’m afraid I’ll never be the same.” It went from a question a few days ago to the statement. Fear.

I keep wanting a “do-over.” Can’t we just get back at least to life before the chemo? When you could get out of bed, get to school, think, laugh, get mad over politics, eat, wash dishes, make a pun, hold me, sleep for three hours straight, walk to the doctor’s office (we‘ve taken the wheelchair lately), have Friday coffee with your buddies, read, lecture…

This list is too long. Look at what has gone in a week. All I can do about it is cry. It’s too much change too fast. I try to hope that he’ll bounce back, but instead another problem crops up. I guess the good news is that the rash we rooted for, is going away. (Be careful what you wish for) The Tarceva is leaving the building. But what has it left in its wake?

I can only get up, dust myself off and do my best each day after a fall. As he sleeps, there is peace and comfort. Before the day is over we may need to call Group Health about the lack of relief (how long before the antibiotic is supposed to make a difference?). He needs to drink at least 2 liters daily to keep out of the IV room. Nothing like drinking more water to make you pee during a non-UTI UTI.

As most of the country gets blanketed in snow, the sun is shining here today. The first week in February is an excellent time for winter chores in the yard. I once knew an avid gardener who used to take this week off from work because the weather is usually very cooperative. The bare trees and ground makes it easy to get around and pull unwanted vines before they get out of control. Often this week is dry, crisp but comfortable when you work up some warmth while raking or digging or trimming. It seems to hold true. the patches of blue sky are encouraging.

Yard work, like writing, crying and exercising is cathartic activity for me. Once completed, I have a sense of cleansing and renewal. It gives me strength to start again. Perhaps I’ll pick up a pot of pansies for the back patio when I go to the store today.  That’ll be my garden work!  Carpe diem. Seize the day.

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