Monday, February 23, 2004

This Is An Adventure?

Dave’s Great Adventure, Book 2
Chapter 2, Verse 5
February 23, 2004
This is an adventure?

I guess I can’t use the Robert Burns quote again...the “aft aglay” thing...been too recent that I used it. Maybe I can do a search of Burns’ stuff to find something that counsels patience.

We stayed home this weekend waiting for me to get better, and slowly I did. I woke up Sunday morning with a clear chest, but by the afternoon I was again wheezing and coughing. I was disappointed. I called the RMCC on-call folks and told them that I was still sick and would be unlikely to be able to get the cytoxan the next day, so that they would cancel the orders and all the meds wouldn't get brewed up in the pharmacy unnecessarily, and then get wasted.

But today, I woke up with an absolutely clear chest, no congestion and feeling great! I thought, hey, all Kathy’s hot tea has fixed me. I can get the stuff today after all. So we went in ( I had an appointment anyway to get checked out, to get the catheter flushed, etc.) and were there by 9:30. We went to the back where I was to get the cytoxin and the other meds, but first we had to discuss the fact that I had put everything on hold. I told them I felt just great today, but after a couple of calls, they decided to have the doc in the clinic, Doc McSweeney, check me out first. He’s the doc that first put everything on hold last week after I showed up on their doorstep with my cough. Pete’s from New Zealand.

We talked about how I was feeling and I told him I felt just fine. Then he checked me out. He looked in my eyes, in my throat and then listened to my chest. Then he said, “ ‘ave yoo listen’d ta ya chest?” I looked a little puzzled. “Wi’ a ste' oscope?” he continued. I admitted I hadn’t. He insisted that I do just that and handed me his stethoscope. I applied it to my chest and with one breath was hearing wheezing!

Damn! I only THOUGHT I was better.

“Tha’ was better than tellin’ yoo , wasn’ it?” he said. Indeed, how could I argue with what I was hearing. Pete then said we needed to wait longer, perhaps until this coming Thursday, to see if my chest truly would clear. So we made more appointments, Kathy and I proceeded home and she started fetching me more hot tea!

So goes this very slow “adventure.” But something else happened today, only Kathy didn’t realize it at first. Today was our 34 1/2th anniversary. I took Kathy out for a late breakfast at El Tejado, where she ordered chilaquiles, her favorite Mexican breakfast. Then, this afternoon a bunch of flowers arrived for her, reminding her of this rather obscure anniversary. I figured that was the least I could do for her after all the caring she’s done for me over the last two years, not to mention the previous three decades! It really has been quite a ride for us. When we met, I was an ROTC cadet and she was a student teacher in a small college in west Texas. Now, decades later, we have three kids, a nice home, and because of a love of traveling I got from my parents, we’ve been all over the western hemisphere. I guess we’ve been as far west as Hawaii and as far east as Moscow, and from the Arctic Circle in Norway to, more recently, the Antarctic region. Quite a ride.

So, today I found that my family has been up to its usual pranks. A couple of boxes appeared in the mail. The larger was labeled, “Open in case of baldness.” Well, I’m not yet bald but expect to be soon, so I opened the boxes.

I’m now ready for any situation involving baldness and an unprotected head. The box contained a Broncos hard hat, a coonskin cap, a classic ABA Nuggets baseball cap, a Viking horned helmet, a cowboy hat, a Burger King crown and a “write-your-own-message” ball cap with detachable letters. The prepared message on it says “Chemo Victim.” Plus, there were a couple of baggies with hair from our granddaughters with a bottle of Elmer’s Glue with which to apply it to my bare pate. And that wasn’t all. If you’ve seen ads for the movie Calendar Girls, it involves a group of middle aged women who pose undressed in calendar pictures to raise money for leukemia research after the husband of one of them found he had this diagnosis. Well, I’ve now got the calendar! Proceeds of the sale of the calendar still go to leukemia research. Look for one at I asked Kathy. She said she wouldn’t pose nude in a calendar for me! How about that?

Plus, I’ve been getting daily get well/ thinking of you cards from my friends and co-workers, Joan and Debbie. Thanks, guys. I look forward to your daily messages.

Meanwhile, I’m almost getting used to having the silly tube hanging out of my chest. It still bothers me, but I can ignore it for the most part. I shower daily with it hanging out, washing carefully around it, and then I have to put a bactericidal potion on the wound every day. I also usually sandwich the thing between two layers of gauze and tape it to my chest to keep it from flopping around too much and tangling in my undershirt. I hope to get it taken out in just over two weeks. When I asked how it is taken out, the doc said, “We yank it out.” Ouch! I can’t wait.

Recently a couple of folks have told me, after reading the stuff I churned out from the Antarctic, and from this never-ending “adventure” series, that I ought to be a writer. Can you believe it? Hey, folks. I AM a writer. Is there any doubt that I write a lot of stuff? It’s just that nobody will actually pay to read my stuff. I have to inflict it on friends and family. Actually, you can all blame the aforementioned Joan for having to hit the delete button so often when you see the dreaded letters “DGA” in an incoming e-mail. Back in July 2002, when I was about to start my first round of chemotherapy, she asked, “Are you going to keep a journal?” And I did. And you’re still getting it.

And just last weekend I found out why. In an article in the Denver Post book section, the Books Editor reviewed a book by a doctor Alice Flaherty, a neurologist, about a condition called “hypergraphia“ which is a compulsion to write. Dr. Flaherty has this affliction. (I’m not making any of this up.) Her book is called The Midnight Disease. It turns out that brain damage or disorders may be a cause of hypergraphia. Many famous writers, like Dostoevski, Lewis Carroll, Tennyson, Poe and others were epileptic. Also, manic depressives tend to write a lot. Flaherty noted that while in a depression support group, all the manic depressives were keeping memoirs. Hmmm. So, did one of the many rocks that hit my head during my childhood cause all this, or is it just my latent manic-depressive personality that’s to blame?

I’ll leave you to ponder this interesting question. And, of course, there’ll be more later.