Sunday to Monday night was a mix of sleep and events. I was awake at 4AM with nausea, and my stool went from loose to near explosive at the same time. I was happy that I got about three hours of pure sleep, but the challenges were manifold when waking. I took an anti-nausea med that was good for 12-hours and managed the other symptoms when I awoke again, more rested at 8:30ish, getting more sleep, with more medications.
Aside: I am feeling better this Tuesday morning, so the blog is more expansive.
After that, I have very little memory of the morning. I had to count pills later that day to check that I had actually taken my chemo meds! I have a vague memory of Corwin leaving for work. He was actually up in time to walk to work which was good as I was not ready to drive with the new meds and the possibilities of a total failure that best not be described.
I can be the worst forgetful professor, and I was surprised that I cannot recall most of the morning on Monday. I will see if this gets worse or if it is an event from taking the various meds. I used to forget what was for lunch, and I often put work entirely out of my mind until I returned the next day. It is a survival skill for a computer architect at the shoe company! So this might just be me instead of more chemo-head.
I do remember that I was feeling drained and very unsettled. So instead of finding lunch, I ordered on GrubHub a sandwich and soup delivered from Panera Bread. I wanted a chicken salad sandwich and French Onion soup. It appeared just afternoon. Thanks to Natasha and Jason for the GrubHub card.
I was then going to get dressed, but I was suddenly crushed by chemo drugs and took a short rest of an hour and was then able to get a shower and get dressed. All the side effects seemed to be finished with me. So, while not feeling great, I climbed into Air Volvo, froze until the 72F setting and the seat and steering wheel heaters settled, and drove to Forest Grove.
I am driving slower in Air Volvo, and while my reactions are good, I am still surprised by the traffic. It is the first no-lock-down Spring Break in two years! Folks are on the roads with the kids, I realize and decide that slower is OK.
I arrive in the late afternoon at the Forest Grove Rehab and Care Center found at 3900 Pacific Highway, Room 44A. I pass all the Covid-19 rituals to gain access. Susie is happy to see me. Susie is in bed and resting after being up in the wheelchair for the morning. She is having a better day and recovered from yesterday’s panic. I can feel the exhaustion returning, but I manage to call Susie’s mother, Leta, and she and Susie have a friendly chat on FaceTime. Susie is much more tired and oddly talkative. I only understand some words, but Susie seems relieved and happy to see me. After the third yawn from Susie, it is time for me to either sleep in the chair or head home while Susie sleeps.
I head back and still drive a bit slow in the strange Spring Break traffic pattern. Air Volvo arrives home, and I am tired but not staggering. Better.
I read in bed; I am still cold all the time, and the blankets help. If I fall asleep in the chair and let my head fall back, I get cold air into my throat, followed by a sudden unpleasant waking and simulated throat close-off from the extreme cold sensitivity. So best to nod off in the bed while prone!
I am no longer brittle from the chemotherapy, and my hands can handle the monster-sized book, The Words That Made US. I wanted to read the footnotes, and I find this best done, still, from a hard copy of a book. Unfortunately, Kindle has not yet worked out a good process for this and maps.
I return to this popular legal work from a Yale professor and one of the great scholars, Akhil Reed Amir. I am just to the point of the Declaration of Independence when I return to this book. I am excited to return to this book as I am hopeful it will deal with slavery, it does, and the archaic writing style of the author is a pleasure to read. Most books are written for high school reading level, not this one. But, the writing is clear with the seldom-seen usages and words not distracting from the text but adding a bit of flair to the often dry subject of words. One would almost think the author is celebrating words.
The book does not disappoint, and I have trouble putting it down. I have reached page 169, and the author is covering the strenth and weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation. Again, while usually a boring subject, the author makes it interesting and often brings in quotes from the folks living these times to illustrate his arguments. Finally, the author is a lawyer and professor and often states his opinion, which is refreshing to have the author be more than a reporter of facts. The author states his sources and usually has lengthy footnotes.
Returning to the narrative, Corwin and I had decided to head to Chang’s Mongolian Grill for dinner tonight. It has re-opened for dinner. I wear a mask, as are all the staff. We are almost alone, at first, and Corwin and I enjoy making our dinner from the raw food and then having it grilled. Tea and pancakes are at the table. As usual, I wash my hands after getting my cooked food. Not just for Covid, as the process has exposed me to a lot of raw food, and thus I always wash my hands.
The place gets a crowd soon, with most not wearing masks but respecting those who are masked. Social distancing is still respected. It is Spring Break Monday, and groups are coming in with kids. As this is a Mongolian Grill, their ventilation is good. Apparently, the grill is a big hit for Spring Break.
Before arriving for dinner, Corwin gets to take the wheel of Air Volvo to travel to Chang’s Mongolian Grill, and we practice some lane changes. I explain how to properly change lanes as Corwin goes for a more racing lane change at first. Then, I get across that the blinker and the slow just drift to the next lane are done to allow the other cars to react. I also point out that if you don’t see the car, at least by going slow and clearly signaling, they get a chance to miss hitting you.
Corwin almost tested the airbags, but I managed to get him to stop before he pulled out in front of a truck on 209th. On the better side, he could stay in his lane better, and his reaction to stop lights was good. His turning still needs work. He did park Air Volvo perfectly this time.
Later chatting, Corwin was concerned that the near-accident would have been fatal for us. I pointed out he is driving Air Volvo, and it is nearly impossible to die in that SUV. Air Volvo airbags are tripped on side impacts, and Air Volvo has window-side airbags. Had he pulled in front of the truck, instead of experiencing a car crash, it would have been like being trapped in a giant cannoli flying down the road sideways, and we would likely have been unharmed. And Michael would then be looking at the new hybrid XC60 model at the dealership. I think I would stick to the same color.
I drove us home. Which was good as two cars simultaneously cut me off at low speeds, and I managed to drift behind them and change lanes at a very close distance which shocked Corwin. Spring Break, indeed! And, I, too, avoided being trapped in a giant cannoli.
At home, I went back to reading. I finally put down the heavy book and slept. I manage to sleep until 5AM, when I awake fully rested. Nice to be back to waking in the early morning!
I also managed to stop a new nightmare. I dreamed I could not see. I could only find my way by hand, feeling the walls. Then, one hand can no longer feel the wall that should be there. I have one hand that is now feeling cold stone walls. I still cannot see. I am not in my house anymore! All I have is one wall. Do I now continue to walk with the one hand following the wall and find what happens next? Do I let go of the wall and wander blindly without my hand as a tether to the wall? Did I hear something? I refuse to have this dream and manage to scare myself awake.
I cannot sleep with the lights off when I am seriously ill. The darkness scares me. Something left from childhood and also a product of a powerful imagination. The light stops the nightmares for me, and the scary dreams will come if I am ill.
So many reasons to be happy and awake so early, before sunrise in the dark.