[cancer] Trying to put things into perspective

Well, let’s see. My mental acuity has returned sufficiently for me to track complex conversations over extended time periods, specifically between one medication cycle and the next. Just today I’ve begun experimenting with extending (slightly) the time between medication intake, which is the first step in weaning myself off the opiates. I’m starting to be pretty seriously bored, also a good sign. My walking range is beginning to extend now, walking a mile in 25 minutes this morning without ever stopping to breathe. And I can play Sudoku again, which has long been a sort of mental marker for my state of stress and ability to focus.

On the down side, I still can’t read worth a damn. Even tracking a decently long article on the Web is tough. I continue to have no interest in picking up books. This is only my second attempt at a blog post since leaving the hospital last Sunday, as even that much narrative awareness is only available to me in fits and starts.

Over the next week or three I’ll try to document my hospital experience. We’re definitely in the anticlimax right now, that trough between surgery and the pathology report. Next Monday morning, and I go in to see the thoracic surgery team, then the oncologist. We’ll have the last stitches on the drain port taken out, followed by a discussion of the chemo path. will be in town Monday midday, and the three of us will spend some time sorting through what it all means.

Right now, I don’t know. And I won’t even have a glimpse until then. All the grief and terror is still out there. It’s just waiting for another turn of the wheel, for the business of the moment to come spilling out like blood on sand.

This has been a tough road, in all the obvious ways and in more than a few non obvious ones as well. I don’t suppose it will get any easier, though eventually losing the ‘busted ribs’ sensation from the chest incision will be helpful. Details to come, as I understand or can recall them. For now, suffice to say my hospital experience was good to excellent, the food wasn’t bad, and friends and family really came through.

I swear I’m getting back on this horse. One stirrup at a time. There’s just a freaky lot of stirrups here.

I’ll leave you with a thought. Not so long ago, the single overriding sensory impression of hospitals, at least in my experience, was the smell. Nothing has an odor quite like the damp, disinfected, bandage reek of a hospital. Lately, though, the quality of the cleansers has improved. Or perhaps my nose has been stunned with age. Because now my single overriding sensory impression of hospitals is the beeping. Literally two or three dozen different alarms which beep in the nurses’ stations in the halls outside the rooms. Different volumes, keys, pitches, tempii. It’s a symphony for one-note sonics, written large across my waking dreams and sleeping thoughts.

That noise will follow me all my life, I suspect. When the time comes, please don’t wire my coffin for it, ok?

Meanwhile, I leave you with this cheerful image of me eating in the hospital.


© 2009 Shannon Page

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So far I’ve come…

2 thoughts on “[cancer] Trying to put things into perspective

  1. You know, you’re right. It used to smell more strongly, and it has changed. Bizarre.

  2. Alley says:

    don’t you love those drain things? I had two lung surgeries, one in each lung less than a month apart. 2nd one was the hardest, both for the dr because of tumor placement and me cuz of recovery. Almost died from pneumonia b4 I got out of icu. Had lung drained twice. A rather interesting, archaic medical procedure LOL. Doc said he never had a patient watch him while he drained LOL. That side is also always tender even almost 2 yrs later and has some nerve damage, sometimes so much so with phantom stabs that I get paranoid the cancer is back. But I’ll take paranoid with aches over tumors any day :). I’m so glad you are home and mending. My best thoughts for you always, Jay. 🙂 Alley (Pat Hauldren)

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