Friday, September 10, 2010

Lessons to be put to use later:

In the past nearly thirty-six hours, I have learned:

1. That a terrible sense of inertia sets in when you're waiting.

I hadn't realized how hard it would be to even get out of bed in the morning when all there is to do all day is watch the clock and wait. That makes the reluctance of my patients to walk, or do physical therapy, or do anything but sleep much more understandable. If you sleep, the time goes by a little faster.

2. That people can be really marvelous.

If the prayers, hip-shakings, incense-burnings, and chants of my friends, readers, family, and complete strangers mean anything, I should be floating on a cloud of glory right now. And I am, and I'm thankful. I think about all the nice things people have said all day long, right before I go to sleep.

3. At the same time, though, you're always essentially alone.

Nobody else can get into your head after you've been diagnosed with X or Y, or while you're waiting for X or Y to happen. I had understood that intellectually before, but not on a gut level. As with so many things that you *have* to do when you're human, this you have to do alone. The best you can hope for is another person to watch with you.

4. Cheese is good.

Eating things that take very little effort but give big returns in the texture and taste department is important. I plan, tomorrow, to spend money on late-season tomatoes and green tomatoes and possibly a truffle or two, and have some potatoes as well. With butter. Dammit.

5. Fiction, or even familliar non-fiction, can be extremely comforting.

I'm re-reading the "Little House" series.

6. There is always, always something worse.

I've not yet seen the situation--well, no. I lie. I have seen situations that couldn't get worse, but mostly those people have been on so many pressors and so gorked out that they don't realize how badly they're being treated. Perhaps I should say: as long as you're conscious and functioning, things could always be worse.

F'rinstance, all the critters are healthy. There are no wildfires burning here, and no gas lines have blown up recently. More than that, I have water and power and clean food to eat, and I'm not living in a tent outside Peshawar.

I know I can call any one of a number of besties in the middle of the night, or my sister or parents, and they'll answer the phone. That alone puts me way ahead of a lot of people.

7. Humility often means asking for shit you need.

As I emailed a pal of mine tonight, "I need you to send me chatty emails about the bike you're building; I'm sick of explaining what's going on."

I'm not fearful right now of looking needy. I'm needy, okay? I'm scared, and I'm needy, and I'm owning the hell out of that. It's humbling, but being humbled, in this case, is a very good thing.

8. The human body has an immense reservoir of tears. At the same time, it also has the capability to come up with really bad jokes.

I was thinking today that "Cap'n Lumpy" was a fine name for this (benign, not dangerous, not scary, easily-removed) thing in my throat, but just in case he turns out not to be benign, and he turns out to have spread, I would rename him Benny.

As in "B-b-b-Benny and the metssssssssssssss."

9. Paranoia will destroy ya.

In the last almost-thirty-six hours, I've had cancer. In situ and metastatic. I've also had West Nile, a couple of salivaliths, a brain tumor, lymphoma, sarcoma, mesothelioma, and tacomaroma. I've been feeling lymph nodes and yanking my tongue out and generally exploring every inch of skin for weirdness. After I'd gone over every inch twice, it stopped. But still, it was an interesting fifteen minutes (I'm short).

10. Perspectives change.

To hell with going two-point-seven seconds on a bull named Blue Manchu. I would like to outlive my animals. I'd like to be able to contemplate putting the laundry into the washer without it seeming an insurmountable task. I would like to have a five-minute space, after coffee, when I'm not aware of this *thing* hanging out in my throat and thus over my head.

Still, it's not a bad set of problems to have. Given the alternatives, I'll take it.


birdergirl said...

Hi, Jo. I am one of the lurkers and you do not know me. However, I have read and enjoyed your blog for many months. I worked in a large hospital laboratory as a medical laboratory scientist in many positions for many years, and yeah - microbiology is cool but blood bank is much cooler-IMHO. I just want you to know that thoughts, prayers, and hugs are coming your way from me.

MamaDoodle said...

I love number 5. Particularly since you chose the "Little House" books. I often turn to them when I need to escape my crazy anxious thoughts. My 10-year-old daughter has recently been battling anxiety and I've introduced her to re-reading these lovely books as an escape.

Blessings to you as you wait through this anxious weekend.

Carmel (aka Minverva) said...

Hey, girl. I heard the news today (oh boy), courtesy of LoriG. I'm sending every good thought and "hell no, this is NOT cancer" vibe I can muster your way. A lot of people are in your corner.

messymimi said...

I pray that the final outcome is you become a better person and nurse, if that is possible (you are already about as great as it gets, after all).

Pamper yourself. I wish I could do more than pray, but take up on the offer anyone who can.

Robert said...



Sarah said...

Look, you're kicking ass. Thank you for being forthright.

Just My 2¢ said...

Sorry that your weekend is going to suck. No two ways about it. Keep your chin up - like my Mom used to say, "This too shall pass..."

geena said...

What? Is that the only oral surgeon you can go to?! Find one that can take you on Monday!

Anonymous said...

Another lurker/faithful reader here. I remember those TWO WEEKS waiting for the results of my breast biopsy.

You rock, kid. Keep doing what you need to do and asking for what you need.

WV: hoping

Jenn Jilks said...

All the best to you. I hope things work out well. Thank you for sharing, in truth and honesty, with a sense of humour. You are a role model for the rest of us.

My mother denied her illness, and lied to all of us. I have almost forgiven her for it!

Anonymous said...

Another lurker here, from Texas!
Sending good wishes and doggy zen your way that all will be well for you.

Molly said...

I've been away from the internet for a few days and this is what I return to? UNACCEPTABLE. Cap'n Lumpy, GTFO and stop scaring one of my favorite bloggers.

In all seriousness...I don't comment a hell of a lot but I never miss an entry. Nothing but good thoughts coming from over here.

Crazed Nitwit said...

I'm sending out prayers and hope for a good outcome!!!
I know you're busy and your head is most likely spinning but if you get the time could you please give me some feedback from my blog post I did today?

I'll understand if you don't have any extra time. Thanks for writing your blog!!! I learn something new every time I read it.

woolywoman said...

When things are hard, I read "The Long Winter". Lots of good hanging on inspiration there.

spider (ravelry) said...

sending healing thoughts to you. my dogs have their paws crossed for highest outcome for you.

Shannon said...

Praying for you.