Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Random Notes

The Lost Package Saga
  • Background story started here, and continued here, here, continued over in David's blog, and a follow-up over at Breigh's blog. We've been either getting the runaround at the hospital or phoning EVERY DAY since David was released on August 19. I can't even count how many people we've dealt with, but it's in the double digits, for sure. After a week and a half, it's pretty safe to assume someone has taken it. David was finally contacted by a manager at Mercy Hospital yesterday, offering to compensate the money if a receipt and tracking number is produced. We're sorry this happened, Breigh -- we'll get that money back to you!
The House
  • I've been doing yardwork, eg., trimming hedges (we have two BIG ones out front, three on the side, one in the back) and mowing the lawn and various things. But there's so much weeding and other landscape-type jobs yet to be done. These are all things I never had to do while apartment living, but now that I'm in a house the maintenance involved is nuts.
  • David blogged about our new futon (thanks again Mom!), which is a vast improvement over the couch which never fully recovered from all of Hugh's bedwetting. We tried cleaning it every which way, but if you've got a cat you know how toxic kitty urine is. I even called the Salvation Army to haul it away, and they wouldn't take it! That's how awful it was!
  • I've been shampooing the carpets because Hugh's toxic pee has permanently permeated the fibres, but David suggests we hire a professional outfit because it's a job for the Big Guns now.
  • I'm slowly winning the war against the retention of old bachelor items from "back in the day" -- David's days, that is. College days, and the days of railing against aesthetics, I say, since I can't imagine some of this stuff being appealing in any era. I'll spare you all the gory photos. Think 'House of Usher'-style lamp, a baffling green and orange crocheted doily, kitschy ashtray...
Me: "David, you don't even smoke!"
Him: "It was here when I bought the house."
  • The kitchen is still partially renovated. It looks 100% better, but a long ways off from presentable.
  • I still have furniture to varnish -- the dining room chairs, upstairs cabinet, bedside cabinets -- and I want to rip out the awful carpets if the hardwood underneath can handle it.
  • I've decided I need help with the house, so I'm going to call a housekeeping service to come in maybe once a week. That way I can at least get the renovations going again.
Chemotherapy and Radiation
  • David's appetite has taken a steep dive, but I'm making an effort to get him eating properly. The oncologist warned us the chemotherapy has a tendency to make a patient's weight drop, so we have to prevent that from happening, even if it means high-calorie foods. We bought a blender yesterday so I can make David smoothies and get him ingesting nutrients that way instead of trying to force him to eat. At least he isn't nauseous like he was the first weekend out of the hospital, but often he loses interest in food and just doesn't want to eat. I have to tempt him all the time.
  • David's completed four full days of radiation, twice a day, and he has another six to go. The treatments are at 7:45am and 1:45pm, so it means early starts for us and I can practically do the trip now with my eyes closed. Every time I drive him to the Radiation and Oncology Clinic, I take advantage of their free automatic espresso and coffee machine and trashy tabloid magazines. I had to dig for those, under Field and Stream (a jarring early morning reminder that I'm ensconced in rural Pennsylvania).
  • We're by far the youngest people at the clinic; we're very conspicuous there because everyone else has white/grey hair. It's no wonder the radiologist couldn't believe David has small cell lung cancer: "You don't smoke??"
  • Yesterday morning the radiation machine BROKE, and the technician lives two hours away, so the whole day was moved forward. I hope this doesn't happen often.
  • They've been giving David a new drug via injection 15 minutes prior to the morning treatment to deal with the esophageal burning, which helps.
  • They're monitoring David's vitals closely, before and after each radiation treatment. His blood pressure is good (apparently the injection has a tendency to lower it), but his blood counts are a bit low, hence extra diligence re: food, etc.
  • Chemotherapy is on a three-week cycle, so according to this schedule David should be starting another round at the end of next week. He has an appointment with the oncologist on Thursday, so we'll find out then.
  • The chemo nurse said no crowds and no small children because David's immunity is taking a beating with the effects of therapy, so we've been avoiding places like busy cinemas and malls. Netflix all the way!
  • I haven't finished the documentary "The Fog of War", but I will... my knowledge of the Vietnam War is sketchy at best. I wasn't familiar with the name Thomas McNamara before the film was released.
  • Tom Hank's "Castaway" = overrated. So much fuss over this movie, and why? I couldn't see him stuck on a desert island undiscovered for four years in this current era of global activity. Maybe 50 years ago, but not today.
  • "Garden State" = overrated, not to mention glaringly deficient in New Jersey accents. It had its moments, though, eg. the shirt-against-wallpaper scene. Some funny bits in the Special Features section, especially the Jewish culture jokes.
Diagnosis Aftermath
  • We've received a volume of cards, e-mail, phone calls, etc., that we're still trying to catch up on. If you've sent us something and haven't heard from us, we haven't forgotten, we're just behind!