Friday, 14 August 2009
Times Three No. 7
Friday, August 14th and I could gladly choke myself or kill someone. Times they are a-changing. Crack.
Jacquie is on the 5th floor while Sheldon is on the 7th. Angelique and Nadalene are visiting Sheldon upstairs and Mickey, Toni and I are visiting with Jacquie downstairs.
After a while Angelique, Nadalene, Joey and Sheldon come and join us in Jacquie’s room. It was such a nice evening and it almost felt like we were in my living room.
Sandy made Jacquie and Sheldon bottles of hope and Sheldon loves his. It is Hector the Mexican Cancer Fighting Bastard and Sheldon can even pull Hector’s head off. He loves it. Jacquie’s is quite pretty and she loves hers too.
Sheldon tells how it hurts him to know that he will not see his nephews and nieces grow up. I hope he does get to, wouldn’t that be amazing.
Suzie and Camille drop by and we talk and we talk. We talk about how Jacquie has drawn a line in the sand and wants to know directly what her family is willing to do for her and her son. Who will walk through the fire with them? And who will be the ones that can only cheer from the sidelines.
Jacquie has been told that she is making people feel guilty and that they can only do what they are able to do. She is told that she is pressuring people.
I say to Jacquie that she has every right to ask for what she wants. It is now or never for her. People constantly ask what they can do and mostly they want to hear ‘that you really can’t do anything.’ I tell Jacquie that no one has the right to shut her down. She is still able to ask for what she wants and if others think that is pressuring them or making them feel guilty or they are not able (when really the better word would be willing) that is on them and certainly not on her.
Fortunately for Jacquie many people are more than willing to walk with her and Sheldon. Camille who lives out of town will basically be living in town to help Jacquie and Sheldon get through this. Joey has been walking with Sheldon from the very beginning. Joey and Gord take turns sleeping over with Sheldon so that he does not have to be alone.
Many others are taking up many positions and it is truly the way it should be.
Sheldon, Jennifer and I go to the third floor so Sheldon can get a bone scan.
While with Jacquie I ask the nurse to get physio and occupational therapy to come and talk to us. I ask why Jacquie hasn’t been started on her physio and I say that occupational therapy should be up to help her get in a wheelchair so that she can have some freedom of movement. Jacquie has no motion on her left side so cannot stand or get out of bed to get in a chair. We need them to show us what we can do so that she can at least be strapped into the chair on the left side so that she doesn’t fall over or slide down the chair.
I go to cancer care to get my own treatment. When I arrive there I look like a total scrag and I see another patient that is getting chemo dressed to the nines in a beach outfit. Her outfit was all tropical flowers and she even had on shoes that made me do a double take. They were clear plastic on top and the soles were platform with flowers on them. Seriously, some people are meticulous and I look like I just got up off the floor where I slept all night.
Sheldon, Gord and I talk to the pain doctors and they tell us that the bone scan came back negative. Thank God for small mercies. Sheldon, however, is still in pain. They are readjusting everything.
Jacquie has her first radiation treatment and it took a long time to get her set up. She is in a lot of pain. I ask her if it was okay and she said that there was a four year old crying ahead of her that was getting radiation; and after seeing the little girl having to have it done, she had nothing to complain about. She felt devastated for the little girl.
Camille, Angelique, Jennifer and I are all with Jacquie having a great visit. Jacquie’s two grandchildren (Luke and Grace) are kissing Jacquie’s hands and lying all over her. It is so cute because after they kiss her hand; Jacquie tells them she feels much better and moves her fingers.
Sheldon phones me and wants another hair cut so I run him up the clippers and some clean pajama pants. He is in pain, has a lot of visitors, and Joey shaves his head and his beard. He looks very handsome after.
Josephine and Angelique come to Jacquie’s house to swim. Josephine keeps calling A.J. and wants A.J. to come out of the house. We tell her that she isn’t there and then she tries to get in the house through the patio doors calling A.J. Grace yells from the pool ‘Josephine my grandma is in the hospital where she is getting all better.’ Something inside me cracks a little more.
I just left the hospital and Jacquie is barfing her guts up in a pail and Suzie is cleaning it. Jacquie started radiation on Tuesday and started her chemo (in pill format) today. It hit her instantly and I wonder if her nerves aren’t playing a big part in how sick she is, as over the last few days she has been nauseated too. Maybe it is even the radiation. She says she feels to sick to go for the radiation. That won’t be good if she starts to miss the radiation.
I tell Jacquie that she can’t miss the radiation; she basically tells me to shut the fuck up. Nadalene says 'Mom how would you feel being nauseated with your head screwed down to a table?' I know, I know. I just don’t want her to miss her radiation.
Suzie tells me the nurse is giving her gravol and it isn’t working. I ask the nurse if the chemo pill could be doing this already and she replies ‘chemo can be very nasty.’ I reply then give her some kytril or pills specific for nausea with chemo, not just gravol as it is obviously not working.
Sheldon’s pain is not under control and the pain doctor talks to Sheldon, me and Jennifer and tells us that he has discussed the issue with palliative care because they know more about oncology pain; and they told them a different way to give him the medicine that might help him better. Crack.
There is to be another family meeting with the oncologist tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. for Sheldon. I’m assuming treatment will start Monday.
Camille, Angelique and I are in Jacquie’s kitchen and Camille is crying because she misses Jacquie being home. Camille is taking care of Jennifer’s kids so that frees Jennifer up to see her Mom. Camille says she keeps picturing Josephine trying to find A.J. We all start to cry because we want her back home. We know how Jacquie would be making us all tea and something to eat and insisting the barbeque be lit.
Ben calls to tell me his Mom said that she is not mad that I was yelling at her before about not missing radiation and that she did go. They gave her the kytril when Suzie and I left and she felt well enough to go for the radiation.
I started to cry and felt relieved. I told Ben to tell his Mom that I love her and together strong. He does. Crack. Jacquie and Sheldon are resilient and far stronger than they know.
Walking through the fire is when we face the most difficult challenges in our lives. We never look for it but eventually we all go through it. Some will have the courage to walk with us and others won’t.
I don’t know if how we perceive a situation is something we are born with or if it is a choice we make at some point along the way. But I do know that Jacquie walked the fire with me and I will walk the fire with her.
*artwork by Kelly Vivanco