Thursday, May 27, 2010

In Which I Am Become An Industry

Once Upon A Time I did it on my own. All of it.

In fact, most of it I did on my own only a month or so ago.

Now, it seems, it takes an entire community, a veritable industry of people, to keep me stable. To maintain, as they all eventually end up saying, my quality of life.

Yesterday afternoon my home was invaded by an army of women (well 3 of them anyway). Lindsay and I ran and hid out in the bedroom, shut the door and crawled under the covers. Beyond the bedroom door was bedlam: laughing, shouting, giggling, the roar of vacuum cleaners and floor polishers, the strong sickly stench of powerful cleaning products.

We have been granted house cleaning services for the next few weeks while radiation and chemo therapies seek to return me to something like my former level of self-care.

Friday I go for a pedicure at the Providence Health Center, until I can bend over through the pain far enough once again to reach my own toes.

On Monday Kevin, our landscaper, comes to cut our grass, dig up our weeds, and prune our bushes.

On Wednesday a visiting Registered Nurse will be out to monitor how I'm surviving both my treatments and my newly intensified level of supportive-care. The radiation oncologist wants to tap my lungs to drain off the fluid that is causing me to be so short of breath and to spend so much of my time coughing. The medical oncologist wants to maintain the level of fluid and use it as a gauge of the level success of the specific drugs being administered during my chemo treatments.

The visiting nurse is a compromise. The fluid will remain and the current quality of my life will be eroded as the price to pay for a better future. But the nurse will alert us all if the situation becomes unstable. Or downright dangerous.

And I am astounded to find that it suddenly takes an entire industry of people to just maintain me.

Life was once a simpler thing.

When I did it all on my own.