I heard him sit up on the edge of the bed. “Are you alright?” I asked softly, trying not to startle him in the dark. “I can’t sleep, I’m shaking again” he replied.
The last time he had the shakes was when he stepped down the dosage on his pain patch. He went through withdrawals. Every time he tried to fall asleep he would get the shakes so bad it would bounce him awake. He couldn’t sleep or even relax for several days. Finally, he adjusted to the new dosage, but it was hard getting there.
He was a hippie during the 60s and never got addicted to opioids but now in his 60s the pharmaceutical industry did it in two months.
Tonight though it seemed more like he might be overtired and his nervous system was having trouble resting. He took some herbal remedies and was eventually able to fall back to sleep. I whispered a quiet thank you into the darkness when I heard him gently snoring.
Now I was the one who couldn’t sleep. My body was willing, but my brain had started to worry.
At Tom’s last chemo appointment, the receptionist presented us with an unexpected bill for $121. I tried to hide the panic I felt inside. A sign on the desk reads all money due must be paid at the time of your appointment. I could see the worry in Tom’s eyes, he didn’t want to miss a treatment.
I handed her my debit card even though I knew there wasn’t that much in the checking account. I prayed that the overdraft protection would cover it. When she handed me the receipt to sign I breathed a sigh of relief. It cost me in bank fees, but Tom got his treatment that day.
I’ve heard that when you become an enlightened being you don’t worry about money…but I’m not there yet.
My face stretched into a yawn and I snuggled under the covers, the next day was Thanksgiving and I didn’t have to get up early. I was looking forward to a low key, easy day as I finally drifted back to sleep.
The sun was up by the time I awoke the next morning. I took my time and did some stretching before getting out of bed. The kettle was already heating water for tea when I got to the kitchen and the fake fireplace was on to give the illusion of being a winter’s day. It was forecast to be a record setting 89 degrees today.
Even though it was going to be a hot Thanksgiving we were all in a good mood and looking forward to the day. In the last week Tom’s appetite had returned and he was excited about the day’s menu. It made me smile when he sang a silly song about how much he loved pie.
I decided to take a quick shower before breakfast. Even though it was a scaled back menu I was excited about cooking because it made things seem normal.
For just a little while I didn’t want to think about cancer, doctor’s appointments or side effects. I wanted to watch the Macy’s parade on tv while I made a meal that would put us all in a food coma for the afternoon.
The bathroom door opened not long after I got in the shower. Tom asked if the water was backing up on me because he could hear the toilets percolating. As if on cue the water started to rise in the shower. I rushed to rinse the shampoo out of my hair and get out before water started spilling onto the floor.
Even after spending thousands of dollars on a new leach line this summer we still have problems with our system. The last time he came out the plumber ran a camera through it and told us that the line from the house to the septic was clogged with roots and would have to be replaced.
That line runs through the laundry room under 6 inches of concrete. He told us how much the repair would cost, and my heart sank.
He was very kind when we told him we couldn’t afford the repairs. He told us to try root killer to keep the line clear but at some point, we would have no choice except to fix it.
The root killer didn’t work.
This was a snag in our Thanksgiving plans, but we have been down this road before and know what to do. Tom grabbed the plunger and started working. He could usually get it moving.
But not today.
He tried all the tricks, but nothing worked. He got bigger tools….still nothing.
The harder he tried the more frustrated he became. In just the last few days he had started to feel stronger and more like himself. But this was taking a toll.
This was the hardest physical stuff he had done since starting treatment. He had the desire and the know how but his body still wasn’t up to it. The half of his face that could sweat was doing so profusely and he couldn’t catch his breath.
And I wasn’t helping the situation by standing at the bathroom door telling him to stop before he hurt himself.
It was breaking my heart to see him down on the floor doubled over trying to breath. He has fought so gallantly to this point, I didn’t want him to die plunging the toilet.
When he finally gave up 2 hours later I considered it a victory.
But I had been too wrapped up in my own fear to realize how important this had been for him. There was sadness in his eyes and he didn’t want to talk to me as he stormed off to his studio.
My emotions were running high and I slammed around the house gathering up the makings for pumpkin pie. We couldn’t use any water in the house, so everything would have to be carried over to Sunshine House to cook.
After the pie was in the oven I sat down and started to cry. Everything seemed out of control and I am tired of worrying about money. There is great abundance in my life, but not in my bank account.
But I didn’t want to be sad today. I had to make a conscious effort to pull myself back from crazy town. It helped that the pie was starting to make the house smell delicious.
When the pie was done I texted a picture of it as a peace offering. We gathered at Sunshine House and started working things out. There were a lot of shared feelings and a few more tears but we got back on track.
It turned out to be a fun adventure having our Thanksgiving at Sunshine House. We figured out how to stream video on the smart tv so we could watch a funny movie while we ate our dinner. It may not have been the day I planned but when I looked around the table all I saw was love looking back at me.