Friday, August 22, 2008

In which we learn something...

When I arrived at mom's with dinner (slow-cooked apple-glazed pork loin, roasted ginger cinnamon butternut squash and roasted asparagus. Did I mention I handle stress with saucepans??) tonight, she was looking solemn. (also annoyed)

"I learned something important today," she announced.
"Do tell," says I.
"well... if you spend your days having your ass end nuked, and they tell you that Pampers Ultra Sensitive Wipes will make your daily business more pleasant? They are lying."
"And do you know WHY?"
"Um. I am afraid to guess."
"I will tell you. It is because whatever is in the damn things leaves a film. Like baby oil. BABY OIL. Which serves to amplify the radiation and if you thought your parts were burned before???"

She trailed off, looking really, really pissed.

Boy is it hard to think of a response to a greeting like that.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


We're in Week Three of chemo & radiation in CancerLand out here and it reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally bites. Mom's holding up, I guess, but I've discovered something that feels worse than seeing your child weeping. Moms can comfort their children, making things "all better" with a hug and a kiss and maybe a Hello Kitty bandaid.

But when YOUR mom suddenly dissolves into tears? There just ain't enough Hello Kitty bandaids on the market to make that all better.

She's trying to keep hold of her sense of humor. Surgery looks to happen in October, and she'll have to have a temporary ostomy while she heals. Can't say she's looking forward to that, but my daughter (who has clearly inherited the family twisted humor) has promised to knit her an ostomy cozy. (Like a tea cozy. Only.... not.) She was going to make an octopus, but between the two of them, they decided an octopus was not suitably vile enough to fit the purpose and they have settled on a remora.

It's funny how your whole world can abruptly narrow down to The Disease and its eradication. Ok, its not funny at all, but you get the idea. Still, there are moments of hilarity in which we think we might get through this. For instance, she's opted for the continual infusion pump for her chemo. The port was surgically inserted into her chest, and she has a bag that holds her chemo. Every 2 minutes, it sends another burst of chemicals through the tubes and when it does, it makes a little squeaking noise.

Her cats? Think there's a mouse in that bag. They have spent the last three weeks trying like hell to find that damned mouse. We cannot seem to convince them otherwise.

* * *

My cousin was married this past weekend and mom was unable to go so the rest of us drove out to attend. As late as Friday, I still had nothing to wear, and dashed into a local TJ Maxx on my lunch break. As luck would have it, I actually found a possible dress and squeezed myself into their absurdly small changing rooms to try it on. I must admit that although I was wearing a good suit, underneath of it I was hardly dressed for success. My unmentionables were of a caliber that would probably inspire more laughter than racing hearts... but I had no plans to share them with the general public, so whatever. I'm confident that many a woman out there has done the same thing around Laundry Day.

So the dress appears to fit and I get it zipped most of the way... tug. tug. Oops. Huh. I can't seem to get it to move. Tug. Tug. Tug tug tug TUG. Aw hell. I try and unzip and.... nothing. Nada. It's stuck. I'M stuck. Tug tug tug yank tug. I am really really stuck.

I manage to snake one arm out without dislocating my shoulder, and contort myself and the fabric enough to see that the zipper is actually broken, and as I zipped it up, it was coming open beneath the zipper pull. Yep. I am well and truly stuck and will need assistance to get out of this.

I hold the bodice up and go in search of the 18 year old attendant. We do not fit into this little closet of a changing room together, so the girl stands in the open door and starts yanking on the zipper for all she is worth. I am trying not to fall on my butt, because this girl has got some serious upper body strength and I'm close to flying backward with every attempt she makes.

Finally, she gives one last savage yank on that zipper and it practically FLEW downward. And so, alas.... did the dress. She exerted so much force on that last pull, not only did she rip that broken zipper open, it pulled the dress clear OFF of me and it fell onto the floor.

Just as three women entered the dressing area.

And there I stand, trying to gather the shreds of my dignity.

Go figure.

* * *

Also? I don't think I hear myself thinking, lately. Mostly I just get this high-pitched humming noise that could possibly indicated that I've shorted out my brain. Overload. Syntax error, does not compute. In the family roles, I've apparently been cast as the worker bee, the "fixer", the problem solver.