The day started with me waking to a call from Evan. He wanted to see Susie hang out and play a game. I was game if we could delay this until noon. It was 9ish when he called. So I got up and started on the morning tasks.
The chemotherapy ended at 10PM on Wednesday, but the effects will take days to wear off, and it will likely take weeks for the anemia to reverse, and my allergies are not helping as I cough and sneeze. I am also wheezing a bit which means I am not getting enough sleep and rest. So I am pretty much still weakened and struggling, but I am excited to leave behind chemotherapy and cancer.
My hair did not fall out entirely but is much thinner, and my hat seems to have become larger. I need a haircut as it is strangely long in some places and thin in others. l have to see when Zeriada has an opening sometime soon.
It is Maundy Thursday, but my church is still struggling to run services, so only a Good Friday and Easter service are planned at First United Methodist, Beaverton. I am helping to cook breakfast for anyone who shows up early, about 9ish, on Easter. Sophia will help me; she is a younger person but is excited to learn how to make pancakes. I remember teaching Pastor Wolff’s son Author years ago, and it is good to share this again; thus, Sophia will be a Methodist Man on Sunday! I have acquired two electric grills over the years and will be there at the church at about 7:45.
Aside (rant): Maundy is a word derived from Latin. Many churches officially replaced the Maundy Thursday with “Holy Thursday, ” but most Anglican-derived Christian denominations keep the older name like the Methodists. So yes, Protestant churches retain the Latin that even the Catholic churches no longer use! I find it personally a mistake to retain these obfuscating words as it confuses and separates people. This Thursday should really be called Jesus’s Story as that Thursday is the beginning of the story that ends with Jesus’s death on Good Friday (another confusing name).
Returning to the narrative, I wrote the blog, had some more Irish Black Ginger Cake, and finished my email and other morning tasks. I was able to get that done and hit the shower at about 11:30. Being dressed within minutes of noon.
Evan was a few minutes late, and we finally got aboard Air Volvo at 12:30ish. I was drained now. We reached Forest Grove Rehab and Care Center at 3900 Pacific Highway, Room 44A, at about 1ish. Susie was just starting lunch when we arrived. We promised to return soon after lunch, and I left her in the hands of the nursing aids who fed Susie.
Susie cannot balance a spoon and get the food where it needs to be. She is also a choking risk and has pureed food as the last strokes partially paralyzed her left side and affected her ability to consume food. However, there is hope for an improvement as Susie can speak now with some clarity. In addition, she can now hold a cup and drink from it, all vast improvements.
Evan and I take Air Volvo to my usual haunt, the Grand Lodge’s Iron Grill. There I have the hummus plate and Evan his usual pizza. I am still a bit uneasy from the chemo, the anemia, allergies, and exhaustion, but lunch is good, but the service is slow.
Now running later than I planned, we stop by Wallmarts to get a computer mouse. Susie’s roommate, Terry, needs one, and I forgot to bring one. We find a cheap but universal mouse for Terry, and I pick up a few gifts for Easter for Susie and Corwin, kites, as that seems more of an Easter theme than the sharks, Barbie dolls, and nerf guns now available to celebrate Jesus’s resurrection. So for Easter, I can hang a kite in Susie’s room, a butterfly.
Next, we get yogurt for everyone and return very late to the facility. Terry is happy with the mouse and the extra batteries I got her (cheap at Walmarts), and the yogurt is distributed. Susie is unwell, we discover, and this upturns our celebration.
Susie is suffering from abdominal pain again, and this time it is much worse than a few days ago. Susie is saying it is 7-10/10 pain. The nurse checks in, and Susie refuses a small morphine dose but instead goes with Tylenol. We are now focused on Susie, and I hold her hand and just be with her as we wait to see if the pain will fade. The nurses believe this to be a repeat of constipation which can be terribly painful. Susie is getting laxatives already and is kept seated in the mornings to help. I had read in New York City (they had a study taped on a wall on Mount Sinai West when we were stuck there for five weeks until Susie was well enough to travel) that using gravity was the best fix for constipation.
After thirty minutes, Susie was improving, but the discomfort was still terrible. Susie agreed to a tiny bit of morphine but refused at the last minute and then changed her mind again when she learned it was a small amount and was oral, not a shot. The pain faded as the issues, let’s say, passed.
Evan and I stayed until 4:30ish to ensure that Susie was comfortable and feeling safe again. Susie was tired out from the pain and, after being changed to different clothing, was comfortable and said it would be OK for us to go. I got a kiss and headed out with Evan.
We took Air Volvo to The 649 Taproom. Unfortunately, on our way, we kept being caught in the same hail storm. The Oregonian driver would go slower and slower, and the storm caught us. We got to be hit by the start of the storm at least four times, and Evan laughed as I yelled at the other cars to go faster so we could outrun it! But, alas, we had a turn that took us fully into the storm, and we were pelted with snow-sized pellets for ten minutes. We finally reached The 649 looking like we had faced a snowstorm.
The 649 was a bit busier than 3ish when we usually get there, but we got a larger table and pulled out the board game Architect of the West Kingdom. Evan wanted to win this time and played very well. Unfortunately, I misplayed a few times and had just enough debt to give Evan the game by two points. I could have avoided the debt–next time! Evan managed to use some of the game’s new features this time to his advantage, scoring an impressive 50 points.
We headed across the street, giving up our table, which was in high demand as The 649 was nearly standing room only when we left for dinner. The Mexican place changed our order to-go when I got a text from Dondrea reminding me it was Theology Pub night and already past 7PM. Today I running late for everything and had not noticed that it was evening.
We headed home in Air Volvo, and Evan ate his meal at the house and then headed out. I joined the Zoom meeting and found the discussions off-topic from Sacrifice. It is not unusual for the church meeting to wander a bit. My dinner of shrimp grilled was not much better than I could do on my grill. Not recommended. I ate it while listening.
Theology Pub is a meeting that, before Covid-19, used to meet at a bar and drink and discuss theological issues. Now we supply our own beverages and talk on Zoom on the second Thursday of the month. This month’s topic was Sacrifice. I was cold and tired, so it was hard to be present at the meeting.
After the meeting closed, I read and tried to sleep. I was freezing again and tried to relax. I got up and found on eBay some unusual stamps from Ukraine for sale and ordered them. Postage and shipping were very high; the world still suffers from high logistics costs. Which has some irony when I am buying stamps. According to the eBay explanation, the profits from my purchase would help Ukraine. I am sure that these stamps are not being sold secretly by Russia and feature the recently sunk Russian naval cruiser.
I finally slept after 1AM. I planned to start early on Friday but managed only to begin at 7:30AM.