I joked with friends the other day that I am sitting here eating bon bons while Dom is out walking the halls.
It’s really not far from the truth.
Under the windows, with the amazing view we heard about long before we moved in here is a chest of drawers. Right next to the bank of 8 drawers is a recliner. In which I sit. A lot. The drawers face the recliner and the top two drawers contain dried mango, almonds, crackers and dark chocolate. There were a few days where I couldn’t eat, just processing this news, this new life, and those days were not my highest functioning days. At some point you make yourself eat.
And then you can’t stop.
I sit in the lounge chair tapping away on the keyboard, and just reach over, slide open the drawer, and there’s a snack. It’s really far too convenient, this hospital living. It’s highly inconvenient for both of us to face a cancer diagnosis, so we’ll take our ease where we can get it.
On the flip side, I am trying to move. I’ll throw my yogi toes on the floor and catch as catch can. I draw the curtain and do some handstands when I’m sure nobody is looking. I have a fear of being scolded for doing something dangerous in the hospital. I’m pretty sure if there’s a place to conquer fears of no one finding me crumpled on the ground from a failed hand stand, a hospital room with people’s heads poking in every 15 minutes is the place to conquer them. But I’m still secret squirrel about it. I also found the stairs. Day one of this whole drama, and a nurse told me to use the elevator to get to my car….so, I used the elevator. It was imprinted in my brain to use the elevator. Once I started crawling out of the depths of trauma induced confusion, I realized, there are stairs. I can use the stairs. So it’s not all bon bons all day. But, I’m still in awe of my man, who dons those wireless headphones, a thoughtful gift, and boogies up and down the halls.
I’m feeling a little more ownership over all of this. This space, this treatment. All of it. I’ve begun throwing things away in the community fridge. I’m sorry, your drippy cartons of stinky days old Chinese food is going. I know you are not coming back to eat it. Someone left Fettuccini Alfredo with the used kitchen fork entirely covered in cheese for about a week. I tracked down someone from the kitchen and asked if they’d like to take the fork. Nope. Manky, nasty business. In the trash it all goes. I just can’t be my normal conservationist self and nothing is safe from my clean sweeps.
There was an entire family of Mom, Gramma and three children, kicking the furniture and looking about ready to jump out of their skin in the family room yesterday. Gramma was ripping things off the shelf trying to get the kids to read a magazine with Barbara Streisand on the cover or play a game. Kicking the furniture was far more appealing. I decided I didn’t need anything at that moment and was on my way.
I also think because Dom is feeling so much better, I have more energy to be irritated. Exiting the parking garage for my daily circle, a woman cut me off turning left directly in front of me, and then just forgot she was driving for a moment. I just sit, staring into the distance, until she remembers she’s actually still driving and not yet parked. My exit and circle around the block was just enough time for her and her partner to get out of their truck and I catch them standing right in the middle of the lane, cutting me off yet again. They were oblivious to me, patiently sitting there, waiting to safely maneuver around them. They still didn’t cross, they just walk toward me, past my open window and she mutters at me, “you’re ridiculous”. Yes ma’am. Me, patiently waiting for you to get your bearings in a parking garage is ridiculous. I am ridiculous. I didn’t betray my irritation, I just acted as if they didn’t exist all whilst actively trying not to run them over. I want to scream to them, my husband has cancer, be nice, and I realize, who knows the depths of trauma their loved one may be facing. And I shrug the whole thing off and am free to move on. Literally and figuratively. I guess I have the energy to be irritated, but still, ain't got time for that.
You know what I think might be a little ridiculous? The nervous looking new dad, who looked a bit soft if you will, one not accustomed to carrying heavy loads. He was loaded down with bags, a large and heavy basket of fruit and about 10,000 helium balloons. Our eyes met as I passed by him, and the look in his eyes revealed something. Fear? Something. I’m not sure. Somewhere in there was a brain calculating how to fit all the schwag in the car, in addition to a mother and child. The balloons alone would take all the available head space in the car. Note to self: save the balloons for another day and bring dad a stiff drink.
We asked our nurse today how many people are camping out at the hospital like I am. Not as many as should be he said. That made me feel even better about being here. They, who bring me coffee every morning, do not see me as an added chore, but a healing benefit.
I also change Dom’s sheets every day, so there is that.
But, what a wonderful unit that sees the benefit of families being together. Counting our blessings every day.
Dom’s still not feeling the effects of chemo. We realize it takes time, but for now savor this period of feeling good. He did sleep a lot yesterday. Every now and then he has to catch up on lost night sleep. When he wasn’t sleeping, the nurses would wander in and out to talk about whatever came up. His electric razor came in the mail yesterday. He’s not allowed to use a straight razor, the risk of infection if he cuts himself is too high. So we ordered a razor, and after over a week without a shave, he was quite happy to have it. We found the mirror in his hospital table, wrapped a towel round his neck and away he went. We welcomed the nurses to our beauty parlor as they filtered in to escape the ever ringing bed alarms.
Another day in paradise. No definitive answer on when he will be discharged. It’s basically up to his body, and how fast he can make some new white blood cells. We both look forward to going home, and feel quite safe in our little cocoon and are in no hurry to leave the constant care. I guess, either way, it’s a win win.