Story 13Feb2022: Rushed Sunday

I stayed in bed until about 8:20ish. I was a bit rushed as I had an invitation to sit in the pew and be the audience for the church at 10:30. Nevertheless, I managed to do all the required steps, to be ready with a gay-pride tie on under a sweater. Discovering my Oxford white button-down collar shirt now fits better and maybe a bit large.

An aside: Years ago, I did just the heavy material white shirts for work and had them pressed and put on hangers. My shirts back then had that perfect flat pocket and slight stark that in the 1990s said this is a serious professional. Now, A dark t-shirt with some dragon or cheap logo says this is the right kind of computer guy to talk to. Hollywood made all geeks wear t-shirts. So at Nike, Inc. I wear t-shirts with logos and pictures. Star Wars and Doctor Who shirts getting the most compliments.

I took Air Volvo to Beaverton. I made it to church at 10:30, and the door was locked. But, I was right on time. So I knocked, and the door opened, and Dan Gray said I was just in time. As you can imagine, the church service was more familiar in-person than by YouTube, and I had one side of the pews to myself; I was the audience. The event went off without any serious issues. Dan joined me in the pews as we stood, while masked, sang Lift Every Voice And Sing. I am not sure adding my talentless singing improved the video experience online, but I tried to sing at least with feeling.

The transitions are hard. One mic failed, but that was quickly replaced by walking a working pic back and forth. Dondrea gave the sermon, and she, being a master of video, made it look easy. Her address was about love, and she described how the late John Lewis handled hate by facing it, often being seriously beaten, and trying to overcome it by provoking it. John Lewis taught us a love that requires action. Not to hate an enemy but to face an enemy’s hate with the simple resistance of protest.

Leaving Beaverton, I headed directly to the Forest Grove Rehab and Care Center at 3900 Pacific Highway, Room 44A, from the church to see Susie. The home has the doors better covered on Sunday, and Pre, Susie’s head nurse for her part of the facility, was at the door and passed me through the rituals. Later the Sunday crew were at the station at the door.

As is now usual for her, Susie was at the nurses’ table in an open area watching TV. Her lunch had been delivered. The aid was feeding Susie; Susie’s hands are too weak after the last strokes and not accurate enough to feed herself. I have not fed Susie for about a month, and the aid was, I saw, hoping I would feed Susie as a family member. But, I did not offer as I wanted to see how Susie was doing (she also choked a lot last time I did it). Susie has finely blender-ed food and thickened (to honey thickness) drinks. Often drinking water by a spoonful. Susie swallowed easily and had no pauses or failed to swallow. This is much of an improvement. Susie ate about 1/4 of the food. The aid says that sometimes she eats it all (even unusual for Susie before the strokes) and other days, like Sunday, just a bit.

After eating, I took Susie for a tour of the facilities, but it being Sunday, there were people everywhere. Also, Covid-19 is loose in the place, so we need to have Susie masked, and we need to avoid being close to any staff or residents unless medically necessary. So Susie and I went outside and toured the little rose garden, including the smokers’ hut. It was 65F with a hot sun and blue skies, definitely not the typical Oregon February weather. We sat in the sun for a bit, but Susie got cold fast, so just a few minutes in the sun. The daffodils, Susie’s fav, are nearly ready, and the rose bushes are waking up. Soon it will be lovely out there.

As is the norm here in the Greater Portland area, the smell was not just tobacco in the courtyard.

We then called Susie’s mother, Leta, using FaceTime in the main dining room. Susie and Leta chatted for some time until the noise of the Super Bowl Sunday party set-up started.

I started to tire as I had rushed all morning and driven Air Volvo to Beaverton and then to Forest Grove. So a short visit. I asked the nurses to let Susie join the party and watch the game.

I stopped by RiteAid and got a bottle of red wine and chips and then returned to the Volvo Cave home. I put on the pregame show and changed into a t-shirt with Cthulhu cult symbols–not a statement but just a clean shirt. Pizza arrived, ordered by Mariah while I was visiting with Susie, which was supposed to be delayed until mid-game but showed now.

Corwin was home as his stuff was thrown all over the living room. I had to move it all to the dining room and then fold a few blankets to feel safe walking through the area.

Mariah experienced the insane slow driving that I had enjoyed on my way to see Susie. This comes with the road-raging pickups that suddenly pass the slow-moving but undoubtedly relaxed Oregonians behind the wheel. If one likes one’s paint to stay on your mode of transport, discipline and watchfulness are required. Mariah makes it minutes before kick-off.

My observation of the teams was that they both contained a select set of highly talented and robust players (it being American Football, you need to be both). When these folks could work together, the team did extraordinary things. But, failures were also notable, with sacks of the quarterback being constant, meaning the ball gets kicked away over and over in the game.

Mariah left after the game with me, with me insisting that she take a pizza-sized bag of leftover pizza. Corwin had woke, had some pizza, and went. Next, I watched the last episodes of The Legends of Vox Machina, a new fav. Unfortunately, I now have to wait for the weekly new episode. It surprised me how dark the animated series had become and that I am used to hearing F**K now. I still like it but recommend it only as a guilty pleasure.

Deciding to read for a while, I found my Kindle lost in the bedding and started on my book Bright Ages. While reading, I managed to tie my muscles into a knot. The pain was incredible. I managed to stand and walk it off. I had already triggered a shock result, and soon I was shaking and freezing. I got into bed and let the warmth slow the shock. This had not happened for about six months. I quickly go into shock from severe pain. In ten minutes, I am back to normal.

Later, about 4:30 Monday morning, my left arm hurt, and I got up and took my usual pain killers, which stopped the discomfiture. The last doses of chemo seemed to have lighted-up some lymph nodes in my upper left arm–it is working. However, I need to manage some pain to avoid shock and sleep through the night.

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