(Hank Williams, Sr. reference)
It is 1:23 in the morning of December 11, 2008. I feel kind of like Sean Penn in that movie about a guy on Death Row. That is too dramatic, I know, since his fate was sealed and mine is not, but I keep thinking of that movie and his long walk (it was called Dead Man Walking, I think).
I do not think I am a dead man walking. I called myself that last year, when OncoMan said my days, weeks, and months were numbered. But I do not feel that way.
I think I do not feel that way.
My wife came home from work ill today. Maybe she is sick. Maybe she is sick from worrying. She said to me tonight, “I am worried that he will say what he said last time, and I don’t know if I can handle that.” Last time, the time she refers to, June of ’07, he said I was dying. He said that I had a minimum of 10 months to live, whatever that means.
I am not as worried as she is. But I feel for her. I would rather be me than her, and that is the truth. I would not say that if I did not know she loved me. If she did not love me, I am sure that my travails would top hers easily. But since she loves me, her heart breaks. On more occasions than anyone has a right to expect. If our positions were reversed, I hope that I could be half the person she is, half the person she has been.
I am fairly certain that I would eventually fail that comparison.
I think of the calloused fingers I used to have, from playing the guitar so frequently, how it hardened my fingers and made it easier to play. I know it better now, now that they are soft again, that the frequent playing, the callousing, was good, made me better able to handle the instrument, better able to do what I wanted to do, what I needed to do.
And so it is with her to some extent, I think. I think that all of her years in the nursing business have hardened her to some degree. They have certainly made it easier for her to know what to do with me, to know how to deal with me, to know what emotions to expect of me and of herself (although I fool her). I do not mean that she is hard-hearted. Nothing could be further from the truth. I simply suggest that she has had practice with some of what is happening.
Still, she cried tonight, and she is ill.
Because it is me.
She said she didn’t know what she would do if OncoMan gave a pronouncement like that last one. She added that she didn’t think he would, that I look more alive than I have for quite some time. I agree, as funny as that sounds. I agree.
I told her I had this cough again, and that was something to consider, but that regardless of what he said, I was not going to worry. If it was bad news, of the kind we got a year and half ago, then I would seek another scan, another opinion. I do not feel like I am dying.
Isn’t that a funny thing to say? I mean, really? Raise your hand if you know someone that asks that of themselves on a fairly frequent basis. Okay. Put your hands down if you do not know a cancer survivor or are not a cancer survivor. That is what I thought.
It is just me and you.
I am worried, just a tad. This week, after quite a battle to get my sleep cycle back to normal, I have been up again, haunting the CSN site in the early morning hours, or trying to sleep and reading and hoping the book is boring enough to put me to sleep, or even that it becomes blurred words if I continue reading. But I have read two books already this week, neither really worth mentioning.
Twice my wife has awakened and found me, eyes wide shut, awake and trying to sleep on the sofa in the den, glasses on, book on chest. Maybe I am worrying more than I think. It is, after all, nearly 2AM now, and I am still trying to explain this, knowing I have an appointment at 11:45.
Noon might have been more appropriate, now that I think about it, High Noon.
That aside aside, I went into the CSN Chat Room I suppose seeking some comfort and some pity and some sympathy and all of that stuff, and there was someone there contemplating the death of a spouse.
I am merely contemplating a bad review, if you will, and this person is worrying about losing a beloved spouse. It puts things into perspective.
I brought it up every chance I got, of course, like the little boy everyone else in class hates, raising his hand to answer the question, “I know! I know! Oh! Pick me!” Trying to get some attention, I think it is called. 🙂
There is really nothing to worry about.
It is what it is.
Still, I wrestle with these emotions and with this anxiety and with the knowledge that it is impacting my wife greatly, probably my son as well, probably my daughter, too, maybe even my son-in-law.
The last time, when I got the bombshell that I was dying, we were not expecting it. I think that is what worries us most now. I know that is what worries my wife most, as she said as much.
We now know that we cannot anticipate anything, we cannot assume anything. It is the unknown, I suppose, that worries us most.
Some have asked me how I could stand to wait for results, and I have replied pretty much that I have no reason to hurry. If it is good news, then it is good news. If it is bad news, then the wait was well worth it.
I am rambling, I know.
My wife is a nurse. She can access my records any time she wants to. She says that she has not done so, for ethical/professional reasons, and I believe her. I think. Otherwise, her crying would really bum me out, as you might understand if you think about it.
It will be fine, and this little missive will turn out to be way too dramatic.
But I now understand clearly why people hate to go in for that 3-month, that 6-month, exam, especially early on. We should be thankful, of course, that we make it to these rounds.
We forget that in the passion of the moment.