What do you do when you’re attached?

22 Nov

What do you when you’re attached?  (My chemo protocol entails coming home attached to a bottle for 44 hours, after the hospital infusions).

Each to his own. Some people are so exhausted that they simply can’t move. I know the feeling. I refer to it as “hitting the wall”. Feeling as though I’ve  literally walked into a wall which drops me into heap. I can’t fight the phenomenon. I crawl into bed – sometimes I need to be helped – and sleep it off. 

Fortunately, that’s only some of the time. Not too often. My ever-caring wife for the rest of the time begs me not to “do too much”. But it works for me. I like being busy. Funny how life works out. Having been forced into early retirement, I now have time to volunteer and participate in projects and pastimes that I never had the time for. Keeping busy also keeps my mind off all those continuous aches and discomforts (particularly from the abdomen) which never let you forget what’s really going on. I simply do whatever I need to – with my bottle firmly attached – be it pottering in the garden or getting out and about. Some people may think I’m a bit of a “hero” but it’s not that – I just think I’m doing what’s best for me. There’s also the aspect of being in public in such a peculiar situation – hooked up to a  bottle of 5-Flourouracil. Too many of us fear things we’re not familiar with. When people see it for themselves for the first time and are able to ask me a few questions face-to-face, it helps both me and my interlocutor.  

So what did I do today when attached to my chemo? I bought a second-hand car!!! Another bizarre aspect of my new reality. Many of my perspectives have changed. I was always the conservative one in the family, with an eye on the finances – saving for the “rainy day”. Well that day truly came last year. Not only did it rain, at times it poured – we all do our share of crying in the family. I try not to feel sorry for myself – my character is to keep looking forward. Not look back nor stand still. When I was in hospital, and then in a wheelchair, I  certainly didn’t need my car. Neither Pam nor I were going anywhere – except for too many visits to Tel Hashomer. We “lent” Pam’s car to our daughter, Sidelle, who lives in Jerusalem. It made life so much easier for her especially as she, like her sisters, was so keen to get home to visit me as much as possible.  It’s impossible to turn the clock back and extremely difficult to “unlend” a car from a caring and loving daughter. Now that I’ve got the time, energy and will-power to do more, why let transport limit my activities?

For the moment, we’re making life as easy as possible.

 Another dip into the savings – long may they both (life and the savings) last!  




2 Responses to “What do you do when you’re attached?”

  1. fightingpancreaticcancer November 22, 2011 at 9:21 pm #

    Until my dying day I will never forget waking up one morning just before Pessach, to see that Martin was not at home. This was after one of the very first of the Folfirinox treatments – he was still unbearably weak and shaky from his indescribably difficult time in the hospital (maybe he’ll blog about that one day…) I went into total meltdown mode at that point – where the hell could he be … the mind just boggles and blanks. And then I heard his key turn in the door, as in the golden days of old before the cancer hit, and in he walks, carrying boxes of wine and matzot. “Somebody had to do it,” he smiled, “Isn’t the seder tomorrow night?”
    It was, and he led it, attached to his bottle of tricks, and he made it right until the final lines of Chad Gadyor … and then he helped load the dishwasher and tidy up the kitchen … and all the time the chemo was dripping into his beautiful body.
    Ein milim – there are just no words. Just let this treatment work, just let this treatment work … God, are you listening to us here?

  2. Ilan (Clive) Shachar November 23, 2011 at 6:38 pm #

    Martin –
    It has been quite a while since Norrice Lea . We were never exactly the closest of friends, but your experience, and the way you and Pam are handling it ,touches me as it clearly touches so many others who have been closer to you both than I. As I have said before, all who know you are privileged and enriched by being allowed to participate, albeit very much from the side, in this journey of yours. Despite your openness and eloquence, none of us can really begin to imagine what you and your family are having to do in order to cope. Having said that, I cannot imagine anyone coping as positively and as courageously as you.
    Looking forward to many more rounds of golf, glasses of good red wine, and abundant doses of your irrepressible good humour.

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