June 3, 2012
Appetite loss, for the win!
But first, my monthly doctor’s visit went well. My lab-work looks good. Blood cell counts are acceptably high. My liver is a trooper. My kidneys are stalwart. In all, I am a fine specimen, to be envied by the well and the infirm alike, to be imitated in practices of bodily-upkeep, to be desired by enamored ladies and whichsoever gentlemen so inclined. I have single-handedly made 36 the new 35 and brought the benefits of profuse drug-use to the national eye.
But seriously, double score for appetite loss! Shoot, double exclamation while I’m at it!!
But seriously, if I may be serious for a moment and exercise my seriousness, having lost a bit of weight since I began chemotherapy, my dosage was up for re-calibration. Whereas before I had been gulping down 430 milligrams of devil-compound, I am now taking 420 milligrams a day.
Wait, wait, wait . . . minus ten milligrams is not the boon I'm talking about. No, my nurse-practitioner warned against happy expectations regarding my over-all yarkiness. In Temodar terms, 10 milligrams is just a drop in the ol’ proverbial bucket. So why the several exclamation points that are atypical of my punctuation?! Well, maybe I’m just grasping at the ol’ idiomatic straws. Exaggerated enthusiasm notwithstanding, here are the two smiley-faces stickered to my new dosage:
1! Previously, my pills came in two sizes—a 250 mg and a 180 mg. Being different pills, they saw fit to charge me two separate deductibles of 60 bucks a pop. Now, my pills come in one size—140 mg. The new math is one deductible of 60 bucks for total savings of 60 bucks. Hooray!
2! Previously my pills came in two colors—blood-puke orange and pale-death white. Now my pills come in one color—December-sky azure. Clean, crisp, inviting. [see for yourself] In fact, I can hardly wait to take tonight’s round. Alas, I must wait though the waiting be hard.
June 10, 2012
As we are all no doubt aware by now, don’t trust the diarist before he takes his round. I have been told that my jocular approach to pestilence will go a long way in ameliorating my trials and accelerating my recovery. While I have no reason to disbelieve this very hard science, I must confess something. It might smithereen-smash Big Convalescence. (You know, like “Big Oil” and “Big Business” and “Bob’s Big Boy,” if that’s even his real name.) So it’ll be our secret, OK?
It’s like this [huddle around]: Speaking for myself, mind you, laughter, medicine-wise, doesn’t even make a great placebo. Merriment has all the relief value of a donut without the deliciousness. In terms of real assuagement, I mean. Aspirin can mask a headache with the help of a frown just as well as it can with a smile. Smile too hard and your headache will get worse; dare to laugh and the throb will turn to daggers.
The way I see it, there are two kinds of humor at play in this scenario of ours.
Jocundity: the quality or condition of being merry or cheerful.
Levity: lightness of manner or speech, especially when inappropriate.
With respect to the jocund, who in pain can claim to be honestly, genuinely full of cheer? I know that there are people who will claim to be, but, if you’ll excuse the audacity, I question it. I take happiness and pain to be mutually exclusive specimens in the human experience. Big Vicissitude, let’s call it. (I don’t believe this flies in the face of religious “joy” which I take to be a species of the sublime—a teetering sort of phenomenon riding the wobbly fulcrum of the here and the hereafter.)
Levity, on the other hand . . . levity’s the stuff you’re looking for. It’s the goofy shrug when you step on the rake. It’s the Ouch but at least I ain’t Dead. And it serves two purposes.
Purpose the First: as manifest in the age old remedy . . . if I don’t laugh, I’ll cry. This a real thing, by the way. No one told a joke. There is absolutely nothing funny about suffering, but a gentle laugh beats all hell out of tear-streaming sob-fests.
Purpose the Second: in short, for the good of the team. In sickness, your team is your bedside family and your heart-connected friends. You need their support. You need someone to empty your bedpans, someone to Resolve your vomit, someone to fluff your pillows, someone to cheer you on. Someone to love you. (Big Love, that is.) You get these things from your team and, like any team, they need encouragement. Nothing’s worse for a nurse than a nurse in a hearse. Which is to say, encouraged teams are the winningest teams; and nothing dampens the mood of one like gravity. Levity, on the other hand . . . levity’s the stuff you’re looking for.
So, Team . . . a tumor, a lesion, and a cyst walk into a bar . . .