Sometimes the human brain reminds me of a pregnant woman’s belly. It just keeps stretching and stretching and then when it’s time for delivery of your first child and you realize a baby is going to come out of THERE; it’s astounding. Watermelon sized infants pass from your body, and that’s remarkable. Then we face the remarkable phenomenon of breast feeding and these two jugs we possess keep producing what is needed simply based on the theory of supply and demand. It all seems miraculous somehow.
I have come to believe the human brain is also “stretchable” in a sense, because it keeps taking input, continues to reason and problem solves. How many times in your life and mine have we said, “I just can’t take it anymore?” Yet, somehow we do take on life because we must and we find we can stretch. Recently I have frequently wondered just how much one individual can take without his/her brain exploding.
Yesterday I had one of those days. It was the weekend, as I’m writing this on a Sunday. We are preparing to return to Portland, OR tomorrow to resume another five radiation treatments for my breast cancer. I confess, I am an extremely high maintenance chick. It’s not clothes and accessories that cause me to retain that title, no; it’s all the needs for comfort and existence. Medications, humidifier, lotions, special foods, computer, books, and manuals about what I should be doing, etc. If only I was stuffing a suitcase with jewelry, scarves, beautiful clothes and fancy shoes, that would be fun. Guess I’d have to own them first. This planning I have to do is all utilitarian. Clothing is a need, but it is not my primary concern. Since I cannot wear a bra as yet, and won’t be able to while getting fried, excuse me, treated, I am wearing long sleeved, colored T-shirts with an overblouse. Now I just look flat chested. I don’t think anyone really notices because I am such a character with my daily hat, etc. it is distracting. So few women wear hats these days, my hats always bring comments.
I also have to pack an extra pillow or two due to a bad neck, food, treats and toys for our little dog, and any other comforts to make this as pleasant an experience as possible. Our hotel has a ramp instead of stairs. It is not a particularly cheerful place although the setting is lovely. I think it’s because we had to get a room that allows dogs, they pretty much stripped down the place; however it is clean, the folks who work there are friendly and it is quiet during the week when we are there. Because one of my current problems is my vision, I am taking old-fashioned light bulbs. Don’t know if they will object or not but I hate those new bulbs. I simply can’t see that well and that is depressing to be in semi-darkness. Are you getting the picture of this high maintenance woman?
I’m amazed at how very understanding my husband has been with all of this process. I’m not sure how long I can get away with the old, “But Honey, I have cancer” bit. Of course, he knows I’m trying to make light of it but there you have it. Now he can return my kibitz with, “Well, so do I, so there.” Now we have the added concern of his extended biopsy on Tuesday and will be so relieved when the path report on his lymph nodes comes back clear. We should get those results later in the week. Our dear daughter will be with us for part of the week and that extends the circle of concern for me.
I hate it when my problems affect my family and her husband and my grandchildren will be inconvenienced. I am most blessed that she insists and simply says, “Mom, I’m coming.” I am also blessed with a great son and son-in-law who are both very understanding and my son will be out in a week to spend that week with me in Portland. He’s flying in from Texas. The following week, my daughter will go back in with me. My dear husband will fill in the other time. We don’t know what his recovery time will be. Naturally, he thinks it will be 24 hours and I, well, don’t know.
I know all of these changes in so many lives are the ripple effect concentrically coming off of my many problems. I rarely feel guilty anymore because I know it is hopeless to deny and out of love and is something I would do for them in a minute. That doesn’t mean I am not awesomely grateful, because I am. I am blessed in so many ways. I also realize all of this help makes me look like a helpless old lady but I am not precisely that. I just don’t drive that well due to pain in my knees and ankles and cannot see well after dark. I know my limits. We also drive a large SUV and the area surrounding the hospital is an old one full of lovely refurbished Victorian homes, streetcars and very narrow streets. It’s quite lovely to us because we are such antique nuts as well as living in an old home ourselves. It’s a good thing we have a fairly small home or it would be filled to the rafters…wait. It is filled to the rafters; so much for that admonishment.
I need to take myself to the market today as well as pack, think, organize and keep my brain from too much clanging. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, I choose to agree with that famous man of history Bernard M. Baruch who said, “To me, old age is fifteen years older than I am.” I love that.
I will do my best to keep up with all of you. Please feel no need to tell me to take it easy. I have no choice and will obey but this, my writing is my passion and it would have little meaning if you were not there to read it, my good friends and acquaintances.
One final quote for today. “A true friend knows your weaknesses but shows you your strengths; feels your fears but fortifies your faith; sees your anxieties but frees your spirit; recognizes your disabilities but emphasizes your possibilities.” William Arthur Ward who was an educator.
We’ll chat soon.