Tuesday, July 8, 2008

In Which She Attempts to Channel her Inner Martha Stewart and Winds Up with Jerry Lewis

Since mom has been ill, I've been pitching in by cooking their dinners. It's no trouble, since I find it just as easy to cook for five as three and its especially important as we battle stage 3 cancer, that she keeps to a healthy diet.

Which sets the stage recently for a planned meal of herbed pork loin chops, roasted new potatoes, steamed sugar snap peas and a wilted spinach salad with organic balsamic dressing.

And therein lay my trouble.

Now, mom has allergies to msg and sulfites, so finding a balsamic dressing without them is not an easy task and I was not up to the chore of making one from scratch. (I know. Major demerit on the Martha scale.) But I found one - Annie's Organic - and decided I was good to go.

This was a brand-new bottle, plucked by the store shelf by Yours Truly. Unopened... with a plastic sheath sealing the top of the bottle. This is key.

I think this also what's known as foreshadowing but what the hey. We're going with it.

Anyway, I peeled away the plastic seal and flipped the bottle over to blend the contents as the balsamic vinegar had settled to the bottom. Flip down and flip back up and....

You know, somebody at Annie's Organics bottling plant gets a big fat FAIL in my book. I do not expect to have to check whether the cap of an UNOPENED bottle to see if it is firmly screwed into place. And so it was that as I flipped the bottle upright, the cap flew off and three-quarters of the contents erupted out of the bottle in a balsamic geyser of epic proportions.

The velocity caused the deluge of dressing to kind of spread itself out in midair and it seemed to hang there like something out of The Matrix long enough for me to realize that things were about to get very messy and there was not one dang thing I could do to prevent it.

Time returned to its normal speed as cold vinaigrette splattered onto my head, all across both sides of the kitchen, the stove, down my shirt... there was balsamic vinaigrette in my BRA.

The sound of the splatter drew my daughter and parents out to the kitchen to behold my fragrant disaster. To her credit, my daughter started helping me clean up the mess with just a bare hint of a smirk.

Cooking with Gerbil... kind of like vaudeville dinner theatre.

Monday, July 7, 2008

It's all about the numbers

1 diagnosis.
3 weeks of emotion from all sides.
8 doctor's appointments.
1 round of chemo lasting 40 days.
3 choices of how to receive the chemo drugs.
0 prescription drug coverage.
4570 in cash for the chemo pills
5 trips to the hospital weekly to recieve chemo injections
1 decision to use the implantable continuous infusion pump
1 procedure to insert the pump
15 days of external radiation following chemo
1 surgery to resect the bowel, with a stoma and temporary ostomy
30 days of adjuvant chemo
1 surgery to reattach everything
7 days of meals to prepare
1 entire house to be scrubbed down
10 skeins of yarn to finish the ''chemo blanket'' my daughter asked me to help knit
25 years since I last held knitting needles.
8 gazillion deep breaths.
1 pair of 'big girl panties' that I keep yanking up so I can keep my 'game face' on.
6 million tears my mother is trying very hard not to let anyone see

all comes down to 64.

64 percent.

Our chances of a 5 year survival.

Sure, better odds than Vegas. Still a little overwhelming.