Figuring out what I wanna be when I grow up.
Oop..I AM grown up...

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Weekend Without Radioactive Man

The Man has gone to the hospital in suburban hell to have his radioactive iodine pill  The pill is supposed to kill off any remaining evil cancerous thyroid cells that may still be in his body.  He finished his two week stint of the low sodium diet he had to be on.  (For the rest of the story see A Needle In The Neck Is Not Good Times , and Hold The Salt )

I think my shoulders slumped the minute he walked out the door.  A whole week of no help with les deux monstres looms largely before me.

Saturday:  My sister's birthday.  We have all been silently anticipating this day with a wee bit of dread which is very unfortunate for my sister, but Mom's not here, so none of us are too happy with the whole singing of "happy birthday," not to mention when my sister blows out her candles, they won't be sitting on the Blackforest cake my Mom made for her every year for the past zillion years.  Funny that I complained about that cake too.  It wasn't my favourite--all loaded up with cherries, fudgy chocolate icing and whipped cream.  Hm.  I regret my whining. 

The party actually turned out to be fun though, and we all managed to soldier through it nicely, so yay us.  I guess we've had over 5 months of practice though. 

Jack's wonky loose front tooth finally came out, or rather, he YANKED it out.  He came up to me, with his mouth ALL GORE, and blood on his hands, and blood on his shirt, with a wide-eyed look of near panic and feigned happiness;
"Mom, my tooth came out!"
Me (horrified by the blood); "great honey!"
Jack:  "Mom, could you make my tooth white?"
So, karen takes the blood-coated tooth to the bathroom and starts to wash it, but karen is an idiot and decides there's no point in putting the plug in first.  The tooth, of course, falls RIGHT down the drain.  karen stares in dumb horror.  Jack's uncle takes the pipe underneath apart and retrieves the tooth.  Hooray, all is well in the world again, and the Tooth Fairy can come. 

Sunday:  The Man is thoroughly bored.  He has been in a private hospital room since Saturday.  The only time he sees anyone is when someone brings his meal and quickly leaves the room.  He has to be away from all people for 3 days.  He is also told he must shower 2 or 3 times a day, and he must drink lots and lots of water to try and flush the radiation out of his system as quickly as he can.  While he feels fine, he is stuck eating HOSPITAL FOOD, and there are no benevolent POTATO CHIP FAIRIES floating by with yummy, salt-laden snacks.  Also, they bring him coffee, and not tea with his meals, which horrifies his English mother, even though I told her that The Man does indeed now have a coffee most days when I make it.
For three days, all The Man has been able to do is stay in his room, watch TV and read.  He has discovered that on the channels he likes, the programs/movies that are shown in the mornings are repeated in the evenings.  And just to make things extra fun, the TV remote only has an up/down channel changing button, so if you want to get from channel 3 to channel 50, you must do so ONE....AT.....A......TIME

In the meantime, however, I noticed after a phone conversation, that The Man had a decidedly CHEERFUL tone to his voice--you know, like someone who hasn't been verbally abused by children for a few days, or had to dish out "time outs" or had to pull tasmanian devil-like maniacs apart. 

Speaking of the little devils, Sunday night was another dreaded BATH NIGHT.  So, Ella always goes first.  I ran the water for her bath, and when I called her to come, she was not interested.  No.  She was defiantly sitting on the couch.  Jack can't handle this kind of stuff, so he tried to haul her up the stairs himself.  Ah, if only you could hear the screaming and carrying on.  I stayed upstairs, letting my head pound.  There was some great commotion on the stairs, which ended with Jack wailing, and Ella back on the couch.  Forced to come down and investigate, I asked Jack what was wrong.  Well, his sister (his freakishly strong sister) had dragged him back downstairs and in doing so, I think his toe had folded over on one of the steps. 

"Ella hurt MY TOOOOOOOOOOOE!"  Jack wailed.  I tried, I really tried to be sympathetic, but somehow the image of the two maniacs wrestling up and down the stairs got to me, and the image of Ella man-handling Jack back down the stairs was too much, and I started cracking up laughing.  Then Jack started laughing.  Then Ella started laughing.  We were all roaring with laughter as we headed back upstairs, and suddenly an image floated into my mind--a scene from "Quest For Fire," in which one of the "cavemen" drops a rock on the other "caveman's" head, and even though blood is running down his face, all three of them are killing themselves laughing--including the guy with the injury.  Hmm..must ponder the similarities....

Kids have their baths, story, and are tucked in safe and snug, and I end a second day crying, wondering why everything has to be so hard. 

Monday:  And so it is Monday.  11:02 to be precise.  The Man is THRILLED to be out of the hospital.  His radiation levels were low enough that he could leave and stay at his parents'.  He has been advised that he should stay away from children for ONE WEEK after receiving his pill.  He is thrilled to have had real food, and a decent cup of tea.  Plus, his mother was making his favourite roasted leg of lamb (yech) dinner for him that night.  However, he is to stay 6 feet away from people at all times, and not spend any appreciable length of time in the same room with them, as the radiation leaves his system.  On the phone today, not only does he sound in great spirits, he also lapses unwittingly into English-accent mode for a sentence or two, thanks to being at his parents' house. 

I spent a lot of the day either trying not to cry, or crying as it sunk in that the reason The Man is not here is because of CANCER.  I am filled with so much sadness over the loss of my Mother, and I guess it was self-pity-o-rama today, as I wondered why everything has to be so difficult, and how much crap has to be thrown onto the pile by fate anyway.  Plus, I love my children, but they make me tired.  And so it was DAD TO THE RESCUE tonight:  he watched my kids, and my sister and I went shopping.  She cracks me up.  Actually, I laughed so hard at one point that I peed my pants a little bit.  Yeah, I love peeing my pants.  Thanks, childbirth. 

And so the uphill battle continues...4 more days till The Man comes home. 


  1. I hope Jon is okay Karen. Pretty scary stuff something you don't need. But I'll be thinking of you and your family.
    It is a blessing that you have such a close knit family not like mine at war with each other. I can't imagine having to go through that with my side would be doing handstands!
    How is your dad doing? Everyday i get spammed by him!

  2. Karen, I was crying with you today. Yes, birthdays are really hard because it is always MOM who makes sure the day is special for you, a very hard holiday to handle. I am sorry that your husband has to be away from you and the kids so much, I hope this is the last time and the treatment works its' wonders. Sisters, if you get along they are wonderful. I have two and the younger one and I get along great now, we fought as kids. She is the one who I go shopping with and the same as you we laugh until our sides hurt, I am hoping to pull a shopping trip tonight to booster my soul. Hang in there. The only thing that gets me through the times my husband is away for work is to make the day more relaxed, pancakes for dinner, pjs and cartoons before bed. The less fighting the better. I hope your 4 days goes fast.

  3. Pam: Ha, re; spam. My dad's okay. He has his down days of course...
    Yes, I'm very thankful for my family.
    Jon's been feeling fine, so I just hope, hope hope that his scan comes back all clear.

  4. well Alaina, thanks to nonstop rain, and soaked jeans, I am now wearing pj pants and I truly don't care. Also, you're right--I'm making pancakes for dinner tonight. I usually try to make everything as easy as possible too.

  5. I love it when spontaneous family laughter breaks the tension in the home. What makes it even funnier is when Kieran joins in with booming giggles even though she has absolutely NO idea what is going on.

    But I find that tears usually help more than laughter in the long run suprising enough. Totally counterintuitive.

    My heart breaks that your heart breaks.

  6. Hey, well cancer that's it. Now you know what it takes to get a vacation.

    Are tips on the web on how to get cancer quickly? Probably not. I think Yahoo has a questions & answers page.

    Phrase it like:" How can I get cancer quickly so that I can get a sublime vacation away from the kids? "
    Working draft.

  7. Oh Bennet. Good thing I lurv black humour so much. I can't even think of anything funny to write in response. I'm THAT burnt out.

  8. Matt, I prefer the laughing. Far more fun.

  9. Less than 4 days left!!


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