Tuesday morning, September 16, 2008
Today starts on a cheerful and optimistic note. We are doing much better at what have been our biggest issues so far, managing pain and sleep. This gives everything a happier tone. Today’s inquiries are going to be looking into whether it’s possible that the diazepam (valium) could be making me more tense rather than relaxed at night. It was prescribed to make what have been very rough nights go better, but we think we’re seeing a pattern where it actually revs me up. Last night, it was two hours before I slowed down enough to sleep, when I’d been very tired and ready to drop right before taking it. Looking back, we think we’re seeing that pattern for the last few evenings—including back to the famous night before surgery when we had the mystery about whether I’d ever taken the dose Kearney handed me. If that’s indeed a possible reaction that I’m having, I probably did take it that night, and the extra organizing, striding about and generally imposing order would be part of this pattern. I didn’t have a full-blown anxiety attack last night after taking it, but it sure wouldn’t have been a stretch to get to one.
Otherwise, today is about scheduling follow-up medical and therapy appointments and of course continuing to be very sensible about low-key recovering and taking things easy. (I promise I’m really working on this concept.) Kearney is going to help finish getting some things sorted out this morning and then return to Madison to resume her regular life. We are going to miss her. We all feel, though, like things are stable enough for now that it is a sensible next step and as she’s been completely absent from her life and work for more than a week, it’s time. I was going to say she has been AWOL from her life, but that would be untrue: her adviser has been a complete peach about her precipitous departure and absence, totally supportive and kind, so she’s been AWL instead. Thank you, Avtar. Having Kearney here has been a lifeline for us.
Yesterday, Kearney and I got two sets of papers graded for my classes, which was a huge victory and felt wonderful. It took us several shifts to accomplish, but we got a teamwork going where I would read and devise comments that she would write down and then record scores. We got pretty good at it. I still have one more set of papers to go and we’ll try to make headway on that before she leaves. We’ll see if, working on them, we can come up with a better plan for the next sets after this. And, maybe I’ll get to the place in the in the not-too-distant-future where I can do all the reading and writing myself anyway.
First though, she and I have been talking about the records we kept during our medical adventure—hard to believe it’s only been 12 days—and what our counting and logging reveals. We’re going to spend some time this morning counting things, ruminating and writing while drinking hot chocolate and eating English muffins. It sounds cozy. After, she gently insists in her Kearney-way, we do the arm/shoulder therapy thing.
(As an aside, it sure is a good thing I went a number of days without eating anything in the hospital and lost some weight in the process. Since then, presumably due to the steroids roiling my life, there isn’t any item of edible anything that isn’t appealing to me. The good news is, it doesn’t ALL taste good—only almost all of it—so I don’t actually complete everything I start to eat, just eighty percent of it. The flavors are so enjoyable that I’m not worrying about it right now: hey, I just had brain surgery. Like Scarlett O’Hara, there are some things I’m going to worry about another day.)
Michael has a meeting today so a dear friend will come sit with me while he must be gone, as we’re all a little wary of me being alone just yet. I’m working really hard on being graceful about this. This is one of my challenges, one of many in our path. I do so appreciate all the loving help. I just don’t like imposing on so many wonderful people, all of whom of course have their own busy lives and challenges going on in addition to picking up so many of our burdens. (Given my choice, I’d sure rather be able to help someone else, and I know full well that many of those doing kindnesses for us are managing a lot while also adding us onto a full plate. We are so very grateful.) From the dog-running to the teaching to the food to the loving and willing hands pitching in so many ways, we feel like a huge extended family is surrounding us. Which, of course, it is. Thank you, friends.
Here’s a to a great Tuesday for everyone.