Story 11Jan2021: Processes Started

I started this morning at 6:30 and was feeling better than on Monday. Sharp pain in my incision wakes me–not the alarm clock I was hoping for. I made coffee, read emails, and prepared for the day without issue. I wrote the blog, showered, and headed out a few minutes late.

Today, I will try to go slower and not pull too much on my incisions. The pain slows and fades over the day. There are no signs of infection.

I was late as I spoke to Doctor Barlow, our primary, about Susie and my leave paperwork. I was surprised to learn that our doc was out after being exposed to Covid-19. Doc agreed and has started the plan to move Susie home under hospice. A new hospice team will be formed to support Susie. It will take a few days for this to start. A hospital bed and changes to the house (I will move to the guest bedroom) will be required. Doctor Barlow will also work on the paperwork on my leave that seems to be stalled somewhere. Our doc believes it is possible Susie will be happy at the house and getting out of a medical setting.

Another rainy day with light flooding here in Oregon. I had put gas in Air Volvo on Monday night. I like to keep at least 1/4 tank in the car, allowing me to drive anywhere in the local area and back without issue. Air Volvo uses gas and gets about 21 miles to the gallon. The next vehicle I buy will be electric, but for the moment, Air Volvo gets done what I need to get done. Gas is just under $4 here at 3.90 (remembering that we don’t have a sales tax here in Oregon, so we have an extra high state gas tax of 38 cents a gallon, with Michigan and California set even higher with sales tax, too!). The number of electric cars is causing tax revenue to sink on gas, and soon toll roads will start in the Portland area.

I reached the Forest Grove Rehab and Care Center (Susie is in room 44A) as the pharmacist from OHSU called. I spent 40 minutes on the phone talking to her about the drugs and the care I would need, mostly self-care, for my chemotherapy. I also learned that a bunch of prescriptions has been sent for me. However, I have heard nothing from my local pharmacy.

I finally head in to see Susie and pass the Covid-19 rituals with a normal temperature. Susie is in the dark and, at first, goes back to sleep. I ask her to open her eyes, and then she is happy to see me. The place is noisy, and I think she has learned to sleep through anything now.

Susie is still being treated for thrush in her mouth. Today she is tired, as usually happens after having a good day. We call Leta, her mother, using FaceTime. There both are always happy to see each other. Leta suggests we call Susie’s Aunt Joyce in North Carolina, and we manage to connect by FaceTime with Joyce. Susie and Joyce are happy to see each other and Susie manages some clear-ish words with her Aunt, surprising me.

Susie and I spent time, like yesterday, playing music videos on my Apple. Susie quietly sings along with Bowie, John Lennon (with and without Beatles), and a few others. The nurses descend with meds and soon lunch, so I say my goodbyes and remind Susie (it is unlikely she will remember) that I will be in the afternoon late on Wednesday. I have a doc appointment with the surgeon–a late follow-up.

I experience more unique, poorly skilled slow-motion and overly polite versions of “Keep-way” in cars on the way back home. It always surprises me when folks become scared when driving because it is raining (it is always raining). I return home without incident in Air Volvo.

I decided to microwave some aging potatoes that I cleaned up and heat chicken soup from a can with some extra noodles. I take the potatoes and put on sour cream, pepper, and sea salt. I then scoop soup over the potatoes, mostly noodles, and chicken with veggies. Maybe not a fav but I loved it–I was also famished. I find while healing that I have to eat more and better.

I take a 90-minute rest. I am suddenly tired. A nap refreshes me.

Back to more process, I call Sedgwick. This company runs Nike’s leave and accommodation process. I manage to wait for a human on the phone, and they can handle everything for me. My original request is still waiting for a correct response from Doctor Barlow. The customer support representative places notes in the request to recontact the doc and get it done. This request when approved uses Nike’s paid leave to care for a family member benefit. I would like to get my vacation, all used up now, back. The second request is now revised with an April return to work date. It is likely more forms will be needed to be filled out to justify the extra three months. My chemotherapy doc is ready to fill that out as required.

I had waited until three weeks out before starting to handle all of this. This is because I did not have the strength to keep all of these processes moving before. It is still a lot of stress, but I can mostly handle it.

I talked to my Nike boss, Brad Jones, and reviewed the paperwork and changes to my return to work dates. I describe the chemotherapy process, and he agrees that I should not try to return to work in such a demanding process. He offers to help in any way, as does the whole team in my department, Core ERP.

After this, it is time to read and sleep. I rest for about 90 minutes.

Off to the pharmacy, only to discover no wallet. So back home and I decide another hour rest is in order.

Off to the pharmacy and then to dinner, again, and there is still no prescription (they are sent to the wrong pharmacy, I learn later).

The Sushi Zen is nearly empty, perfect, and I find a seat at the bar on the track. I again select from the dishes flying by. Furthermore, picking a few favs and not being brave. Just things I know I like and will not bring me discomfort. I did slip in crab-stuffed mushroom caps that I had not noticed before.

I returned home and knew that I had not taken any painkillers since morning. So I sat in the chair with a heating pad and watched the next episode of The Expanse. The show did not disappoint as it focused on its best actors and properly left the lesser actors in the background. Also, the good guys are learning that a greater alien power may be rising, and they may have more problems than a civil war. An excellent episode setting up for more good ones to follow. Recommended!

I finally checked OHSU myChart and found my prescriptions are at the wrong RiteAid. I will get them on Wednesday morning. I also need to find a particular hand and feet cream. Reading the instructions, I will need some new habits. Washing my mouth with salt and baking soda, cream for hands and feet, no bare feet, no hot water, and being very watchful for rashes on hands and feet. I will try to start them before they become a must.

I read some more and fall into a troubled sleep. I woke a few times looking for Susie.

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