Hi there friends and neighbors…coming at you live from our Mucous Studios at the corner of Phlegm and Kleenex where we make sure your day starts off gooey and stays that way allllll day.
Day 41/44. I hear the end a coming…its just around the bend…. I haven’t eaten real food since… I don’t know when….
Pain medication is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?
Seriously (or as serious as I get), the end is almost here. Tuesday is the last “official” day of treatment. It will be a full day of two radiation treatments and a chemo dose but bring it on. The Doctors keep telling/warning me that yes, Tuesday is the last day but on that day, my body will be the most saturated it ever will be with radiation and chemo drugs.
Maybe… because of that…. or my body wanted to rebel one last time, but this past Thursday night was probably my worst night this entire process. It started out OK but I felt a little queasy during dinner….. (I didn’t even “drink” my entire dinner!) so went to the room… talked with the missus about her car experience (she has a new one now) and after hanging up.. just kept feeling crappier. Finally decided to try and get some sleep about 10:30 and that;s about the time the fever hit. And then about 11pm, the diarrhea. Add to that… since my throat is under attack (from the radiation), it is trying to protect itself in the only way it knows how and that is to produce mucous. Now I’m not talking about a loogie hear and there. Ohhhhh No. We are talking all hands on deck… all three shifts working into overtime…..full scale production of “copious” amounts of mucous. ”Oh you just cleared some out? Well here, we made more.” And when you have sore throat, clearing your throat always feels sooooo nice.
So lets summarize… chills from the fever…. diarrhea….. mucous build up and hacking and clearing….super tired but …. lets just say “apprehensive” about going to sleep with all the above going on. I don’t want to have…. an accident. NOT a fun night.
So the next morning, same fire drill as previous. They get really concerned over fever in cancer patients. I think I explained but real quick…. they don’t want you becoming Neutropenic. That is basically your white blood cells are fighting each other and you are very, very prone to any bacterial infection. If there had been a hint that I was neutropenic, I would have spent this Easter weekend in a Gainesville Hospital. But, thankfully, all the test came back negative…. I just had some bug…. while my fever is still hovering around 99, I’m doing ok.
When I pulled into the driveway yesterday, my family had these t shirts on…..
The missus made them. Think they may be our new Easter family photo?
Speaking of Easter…. we were thinking about having a neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt this year. The prizes in the eggs will be a little different. Instead of inside the plastic egg having a jelly belly, THIS year… some eggs may have morphine pills and some may have used tissues. Should make for an interesting Easter!
TODAY… so again. just because I’m nearing the end of treatment, that doesn’t mean everything is hunky dory. Like today, the only way I can talk is to whisper. Now I can’t say with certainty, but I swear I’ve seen the missus and the kids high-fivin’ each other out of the corner of my eye. Not being able to talk really sucks.
HOPE LODGE – As you can imagine, the Hope Lodge has a lot of turnover. This week there were three different patients that checked out and they started about the same time I did. I’m glad for them its over but some of these people I’m going to miss. Frank, the one with the parents that met through letter writing has invited me and the missus to his house soon. He is such a good guy. George, the retired Army guy that fought in three wars checked out about 10 days ago and I miss talking with him.
As you can see, this blog is pretty random. (Must be the pain meds). People have asked what the procedures are once I’m done with treatment. For Radiation, I will go see the Radiation Doctor (Dr. Mendenhall) about every three weeks. I think each time I visit, I will get a CT scan and they will make sure we killed that SOB. I think this will be for about 4-5 visits.
On the Chemo side, I will meet with the Chemo Doctor (Dr Reisman) once a week for about 4-5 weeks and then start tapering off. Most of the drugs I’m taking… and I’m taking a LOT…. are coming from him so for the most part, he is going to monitor closely and start weaning me off both the anti-nausea and the anti-pain. They tell me anywhere from 3-8 weeks I will be “back to normal” (Uh… Doc? Whats your definition of normal?) I will get back my ability to talk ….. YES!… and slowly my taste buds. I’m not all that up on the different kinds of social media but I do know that they use Instagram to take pictures of food they cooked and/or about to eat? Well I am going to start taking pictures of food I WANT to eat when I can. As I’ve said before, my sense of smell is still strong and everything smells sooo good. But I’ve lost about 75% of my taste buds. Plus, with a sore throat, you don’t feel like eating anything. But the day I can…. whoa boy…. I might try and gain all the weight I’ve lost in just one week.
CAR – I mentioned the missus car issues in a previous post and thankfully that has worked out. Thanks to all for the blessings and offers to help with mechanics/ and advice. It worked so well last time, I feel like I have to mention this. Recently bought the kids a car to go around town in and it has been nothing but trouble. I didn’t pay a whole lot but now this thing won’t even run, despite the efforts of two good friends that have helped. Basically, if anyone needs a good sized boat anchor, let me know. :-)
Still not sure what to do with this blog after treatment is over. You guys have been great……humoring me ……..and feeling sympathy for me……telling me that my stories are funny….. SURE… once I’m on the mend, you guys are going to drop me like a hot potato. :-)
So seriously, I’m not sure what I’m going to do with this blog. I’ve enjoyed writing the stories. Stay tuned…..
I think that’s about it. I’ll write at least one more… probably while I’m getting chemo on Tuesday
So …. What time is it kids?
UNRELATED STORY TIME !!!!!!!!!!
Today will not be one big story… but a collection of small ones. They do have one thing in common…. and that is… “Dirty Joe’.
For those that didn’t read before, Dirty Joe McCrary was one of my trainers and an “infamous” legend with the Dallas Police Department When he trained me, he had 17 years on and lasted over 30 years. As typical with his generation, 6 months after he retired, he died of a heart attack. He was 6’4″, 270 pounds… big beer belly, for any police out there, you will know this type… he rested his hand on his pistol butt so it was always canted out. Very gruff but heart as big as all outdoors. Smoked too much… drank waaaay too much. The local bar, “Luke’s”, about 3 blocks from the station, carried Schlitz beer, because of him. That was his beer of choice. On many occasions, we would finish up the shift around 4pm and he would say… “Rook…. I guess I’ll be seeing you at Lukes. First round is on you.” And I would say… “Ummm… Joe? I wasn’t actually planning on going to Luke’s today.” He would give me “the look” that all trainers have perfected…. stare at me for 5-10 seconds and say, “I guess you don’t want to pass training all that much, huh?” So at 4:05, I would be at Luke’s ordering a Miller Lite and a doggone Schlitz. I would have to do “penance” for about an hour, before I could go home. Now this wasn’t an everyday occurrence… probably more like once a week.
One day, we received a call of a Major Disturbance at the Anchor Inn Restaurant off Harry Hines Blvd. Now the Anchor Inn had an hourly rate and any given night, you could arrest your various drug dealer and/or prostitute but for some reason, they kept the restaurant part open and people came to eat there. This particular car was the first one of the day so its like 7:30AM. We pull up and Joe asks me, “Think you can tell which car is our suspects?” Over in the right side of the parking lot, an older Cadillac was parked partially on the curb….. with this huge shrub stuck right in the front grille. We mosey on inside and there is all kinds of mess going on inside. Our “perpetrator” (by the way.. NO police uses that term and especially don’t use the shortened version of “perp” unless you are on TV working for the NYPD. So our “suspect” is a woman anywhere from 50-75 years of age. She is on the floor being held there by the cook. Over in one corner, one waitress looks like she is in need of medical assistance and is being attended to by one of the patrons of this fine establishment. By the front counter, another waitress is being held back by some other patrons, because apparently she is not done with our “suspect”.
Once we restore some semblance of order, the full picture of what happened begins to emerge. It seems our “suspect”, lets just call her “Linda”… as in “Linda the Lush”. Well Linda has been out drinking alllll night long. Not sure where but we do know that about 30 minutes before the call came to us, “someone” drove through a yard in a swanky part of town and took out 3-4 very expensive shrubs. According to the owner, valued at $500 each. How she ended up at the Anchor Inn is anybody’s guess but ole Linda, with the shrub still in her grill, pulls into the parking lot, stumbles out of the car and enters the Anchor Inn Restaurant but what she believes to be a bar. Seeing how its 7:30AM and bars in Dallas aren’t open at that time did not compute. So she stumbles in, plops down at a booth. The young waitress comes up and asks her what she would like. Ole Linda asks the waitress…. “Do you know how to make an Old Manhattan?” The young waitress, relatively new to the job says “I don’t think we have that on the menu.” when Linda, not happy with that answer, rears back, and swings with all her drunken might, and wallops our young waitress.
(By the way, an Old Manhattan is an alcoholic drink that has whiskey, vermouth, bitters and club soda. See? Again, entertaining and informative.)
When our young waitress hits the floor, an older waitress, who just happens to be the young waitress’ mother, comes around the counter and screams. “What the hell are you doing?” Linda, not phased at all asks, “Well…. do YOU know how to make an Old Manhattan?” In this situation, there are at least 10 answers she could have given that would have deescalated this situation. Apparently “NO” was not one of them. So ole Linda reared back and walloped THAT waitress. As the cook came around the counter, losing waitresses quickly, he did the only thing he knew how to do and that is tackle ole Linda. Well as you can imagine, ole Linda didn’t take too kindly to this and began screaming bloody murder and that’s about the time we came in.
Daughter waitress gets medical attention from the EMT’s, Mother Waitress is trying, unsuccessfully to cool down because she wants another crack at Linda… Linda is safely esconded in the back of our patrol car and singing the song that drunks have sung for oh these many years, making our job of identifying her problematic. We run the car registration and “think” it comes back to her husband but not sure. Of course there is no purse in the diner or even in her car with ID. We piece together a name and Joe is on the radio with the daytime dispatcher “John”. Now John has been dispatching longer than i had been alive, and was a good dispatcher but liked to get in everyones business. When you check a person, it will check under that name and DOB but it will also give you “sound-alikes” or people that are wanted and have something close to what you are looking for. So William Smith with a DOB of 1/1/60 is clear but there is a Billy Smith 1/15/60 that is wanted. That sort of thing.
So Joe and Dispatcher John are going back and forth over the radio and Joe is getting frustrated because John wants to hear what happened out there and Joe just wants John to do his job when John asks, “Well what does your suspect do for a living?”
Joe paused… looked at me…. then said into the microphone….
“John… the best I can determine, she is a field tester for Budweiser.”
John didn’t ask any more questions.
UNRELATED STORY #2
I’ll make this one short…. yeah, right.
One day.. probably at Luke’s, Joe looks at me and says, ”Rook… my wife doesn’t like you too much.” Well this was disturbing news, primarily since I have never met his wife and certainly didn’t want her mad at me for whatever reason, so I said, “Huh?”
Joe repeated…”My wife doesn’t like you too much.” After I collected myself I said, “Why?” (deep conversationalist that I am)
He said, “She believes that you take up too much of my time.”
I said.. “Well Joe it is true that we spend at least 8 hours a day with each other for five days a week, plus there are the frequent Luke’s trips but I’m not sure what she means.”
Joe said… “I don’t know if you are aware of this or not, but two weeks ago, you was having a fight with your girlfriend in Mississippi and she wanted to break up with you and you were distraught and I had to leave the house and go console you.”
“Oh. I had a fight and you had to console me?”
“Yep. Figured I would let you know.”
“I see. Anything else”
Joe said… “Well last week, I’m not sure if you were aware of this or not but you went to Mississippi over the weekend.”
“Yep… you did.” And you decided to come back on Saturday night and your car broke down in Shreveport and you called me to come help.”
“Yep, you did. And we couldn’t get it started and we had to spend the night in Shreveport, then we had to wait for a garage to open. Hell, we didn’t get home until late Sunday night”
“Well Joe, I guess it’s good to know these things are happening and please tell your wife that I will will try and do better in the future.”
From Joe… “Oh Hell. I told her that already but told her that you were such a screw-up at work, and now with your social life, that it was just a matter of time before something else happened.”
“Ummm… thanks Joe. I’ll try and do better next time.”