Every once in a while, you wake up in the morning expecting this to be a nasty dream. But there is this bag thingy hanging off your stomach to remind you of the stark reality.
We, Janet and I, have this dream often, except she has it without the bag being on her. We remind ourselves often that this has been a very short journey so far. The operation was only on September 2.
My wound nurse, Annmarie was over on Tuesday to look at the gash on my stomach from the sutures that did not hold. No gash to amuse her. I am healed. One less bandage. Another milestone.
I am done with the daily or twice a week visits from the nurses. Barb called today to try and figure out what my needs are moving forward. The only thing left for the nurses to do is to come every two weeks to disconnect me from the chemo bottle. They are not rid of me just yet.
Annmarie and I talked for a while while she filled in her report. Talked a bit about eHealth. The information the nurses complete on us remain in our possession. They are not transferred to our electronic files. A glaring gap, I think, in the information gathering process.
We talked a lot on how we should keep our sanity. There is no set rule of course. Everyone has their own method. We talked about relationships that are created with patients. How different we all are. The work load. Some of the nurses work from nine in the morning to nine at night. We talked about the need for more communications between the nurses and the hospital staff. More training. More openness. I have to invite her over for a cup of coffee one day.
One more step taken normal a more normal life.
Today was a good day.
Got my H1N1 vaccination from my family doctor, or at least the nurse. My doctor was giving a speech in Calgary. Something to do with whether extroverts or introverts get better grades or perform better. I will have to get the lowdown from her next time we meet. I have had no side effects from the vaccine. The conundrum with this is the following. One of the possible side effects of the vaccine is fever that they recommend you take Tylenol for. One of the side effects of chemo is a temperature for which you re forbidden to take Tylenol. What to do? I got the vaccine a week early so it would not interfere with chemo.
Went for a drive to Bayview Village, all by myself. This is the longest drive I have taken, and the longest I have been out of the house. It felt very good, somehow. I did not take a nap when I got home. I tried, but the phone kept ringing, so I gave up. Did some research in changing the look of this blog. Watched some TV. Not much. Still prefer quiet over noise.
Went to Chapters in Bayview Village and saw a couple of books I think I want to read. Just that is interesting. I have a book on my shelf in the bedroom that I have to read, and a couple of others downstairs. First time in three months that I felt like reading something that has nothing to do with cancer.
Devin has a date with me tomorrow. We are trying to make this a regular day for the two of us. We are going to Taps in the morning to look at shower heads, the height of excitement, I know. We are putting a shower in the bathroom on the second floor. Then lunch (shawarma), and finally a visit to the botanical gardens downtown. I think I will pass on the relaxation and visualisation session this week just to spend more time with him.
It all sounds a bit boring and every day. That, of course, is the whole point. I am attempting to get some sense of normal back in my life.
I accept that chemo week is going to be bad. Maybe that is too strong, how about not good. Chemo week starts on Thursday, with a preamble on Wednesday. It should end the Wednesday after, hence the week. No normalcy in defining the week. So there will be the occasional redefinition of things. Once chemo week is over, the more normal part of life has to start. I did say ‘has to start’. I am not giving myself a choice.
I have to start taking pictures again. Go to the movies. Eva Almos has volunteered since her schedule is more flexible, which allows us to go to a matinee. Fewer people, means less risk of catching something. More reading. More meeting people for lunch at their place rather than mine. More of anything that will make me almost forget that there is a bag hanging on my stomach.
I guess that is why the occasional cheating about normal definitions does not matter. You can never forget about this bag. The tape that binds it to your stomach is a perpetual reminder. Some level of normalcy is a must.