Story 13Jan2022: Longer Stay

Working backward, I was late to bed and was reading before midnight, but I was asleep by midnight and did not wake until the morning.

I have been taking my pills at 10AM and 10PM. Precision will be required when the chemotherapy starts. I am trying this week and next to learn new habits that will help keep me healthy during the three months of chemotherapy.

Before taking my pills and reading until falling asleep, I decided to finish the animated version of the Batman comic, The Long Halloween. This is a two-part film with each part more than an hour and not cheap (over $30 when buying both on my Apple). The new Bat Cave YouTube channel recommended this as background for the upcoming Batman film. Harvey Dent is one of the main focuses of the story and his transformation to Two-face. I enjoyed it, but a couple of times, it felt like a checklist of villains, but the story was complex, and I had guessed the mystery, but the reasons had escaped me. So a good mix of Batman, difficult puzzle, and a tour of villains; recommended.

I also started cleaning off my work table in the house. I am stronger now; the anemia is gone, and I have begun to put things away. Before, I was more like a battery and would run down; I needed to conserve my actions to only essential items and just stacked things on top of another (messy). Now a bit of housework and cooking is not a drain. Of course, I still need a nap to recharge, but the nap length is shorter, and the energy level after the rest is good.

The chemotherapy comes with anemia, low white blood counts, and a host of other issues. So I expect the housework will suffer, but the pandemic has taught me many strategies to reduce the work. For example, I sort the mail by the trash bin outside. Most of the mail goes directly to the trash container. No paper blob now. Extra copies of bills, usually medical, are torn up and trashed. Bills are paid online. It helps.

BTW: all utilities, mortgage, yardwork, and taxes are paid automatically. Only the cable bill and the car insurance require intervention. Medical bills are a judgment call as some bill the wrong amounts, and refunds appear weeks later.

I attended the Theology Pub now Zoom meeting, the second Thursday of the month @ 7PM by Zoom. We have met for seven years (!) and used to meet at a loud pub in Beaverton and talk while eating and drinking about serious church issues. The hardest part of the previous live format was the table was long and the noise a bit much. Being heard was thus difficult sometimes. The Zoom format is easier to be heard, and folks from Idaho and/or other states can join us, but we miss the old Racoon Lodge bar and those fine sour beers (well, maybe just I miss them).

This time we talked about being called and what that means, how it happens, and what are our experiences being called. We did compare and contrast the idea of a calling and gifts (skills if you like). The gifts enable the calling is sort of where we landed on that. Calling is something you find (or it finds you) that gives you a feeling of completion and helps you make yourself and the world better (my words). The meeting went on for just under 90 minutes, with Bob calling us to end when his glass of Grand Marnier ran out.

I finished the other half of my lunch, a Subway tuna fish sandwich, for dinner with a can of peaches. There were fresh veggies on my sub now. Again, the doc said a healthy diet and no restrictions.

I got home about 3:15ish from Forest Grove Rehab and Care Center, Room 44A. I spent multiple hours with Susie, got lunch, and came back. There was a chance that the staff there had managed to schedule a hospice nurse to come. The Legacy folks had called me in the morning and informed me that despite the whole week going by, they did not service the Forest Grove area, and I would have to start over with a new agency that I would have to find on my own. I was a bit unhappy with the Legacy folks as I pointed out that they wasted a week and that despite the fact they do not do Forest Grove, Susie was to reside home, which is not Forest Grove. Logic suggests all they had to do was drive out a few more miles for the interview, and then Susie would move back to their coverage area. That logic or exception did not change their refusal to help. They did call the Rehab nursing director, Judy, and Judy then started the paperwork there in Forest Grove with another hospice group they work with.

Judy and Pre, Susie’s head nurse, started immediately on the paperwork and process to get Susie supported by Bristol Hospice. A group that Judy and Pre know and they said are just amazing. They hoped the paperwork would get processed soon. I thus stayed late as I might get a late hospice nurse in. Did not happen, but Friday may still work.

Moving backward to before lunch, I am now getting there in Forrest Grove about 11ish as I need to take my pills with food at precisely 10AM. Susie was still sleeping but was dressed in a clean shirt and was comfortable without pain.

Susie chatted via FaceTime with her mother Leta and then with her aunts and uncles in North Carolina via FaceTime. Gene, Glenda, and Joyce were happy to see and talk to Susie.

Susie and I watched a 2001 Elton John made-for-BBC concert on YouTube. Susie softly sang along. She was tired, and I let her sleep for an hour. She was so happy that I was there when she woke, something that had not happened in a few months!

I watered her plants when I got there about 11AM, still going backward, and she was thrilled to see me. Her nurse said that Susie just lights up when I come in. I try to be there every day.

I drove there about 10:20ish, and the drive there (and back) was absent the usual jokers, and I made good time. Not sure why driving is better on Thursday, but I did pass two wrecks (who hits a bus?) on the way home. All looked like low-speed wrecks, the damage showing that folks must have turned into someone or gotten in the way.

Still moving backward on the day, the morning started at 7ish and went slow writing a blog and having breakfast later. It is nice to not have that crushing anemia and surgery-induced exhaustion suddenly slow me.

I got a note from my chemotherapy doctor explaining that I should, with only four cycles, not have to endure the loss of dexterity from nerve damage.

I was up and going about 7ish now, taking an extra 30 minutes of sleep. I was still awake at 5ish and then 6ish and fell dead asleep just in time for my iPhone to make me restart being awake again.

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