🔥🔥Impassioned Marketer
🗣️Speaker 📋Coach ✍️Writer
🚑Aortic Aneurysm Survivor
🙏Devoted Dad


According to my health tracker I slept 7 hours Monday night. 1 hour and 28 minutes was "REM sleep", but only 45 minutes of it was "deep sleep" as compared to the 1 hour and 20 minute minimum recommended. I suppose that's why I still felt tired when I woke up at 6:30am. 

It was another chemotherapy day and I went into Sully's room to wake him up. He lay sleeping with the blankets pulled up tightly to his neck, and the window was cracked. An icy breeze blew in. He insists on sleeping with the window open regardless of the temperature outside. Our dog Lennox lay next to him like a human, also with his head on a pillow. 

I kneeled over Sully, gave him a kiss on the cheek and whispered in his ear that it was time to wake up. I told him he needed to get moving so we weren't late. I told him I would grab his towel and that he needed to hop in the shower. After 5 minutes of coaxing he finally got up and made his way half-asleep to the bathroom. Once I heard the water running I went to get ready myself. 

The usual routine ensued, coffee stop on the trip to the hospital, loud music and silly conversations, and him complaining that my driving was making him nauseous. He was on an empty stomach because he was getting another spinal tap this visit. 

The morning progressed as usual. He has a spinal tap every few months to test and ensure there is no cancer in his spinal fluid. They have become routine, but never routine for us. He gets the same nervous look on his face each time they wheel him into the procedure room to sedate him. They allow me to go with him until he falls asleep. I rub his feet the whole time. I tell him I am there and that I won't leave his side until he falls asleep. It makes me sad. 

Once they have him all connected I move up near his head before they administer the anesthesia. I rub his furry head and whisper in his ear reassuring him that everything will be fine and that I'll be there when he wakes up. I don't know what else to say or how to take away his fear. I say mostly the same things every time, simply trying to do my best to quell his anxiety. 

The nurse pushes the syringe and within a few minutes his eyes slowly close and he falls asleep. It gives me an eerie feeling and I wonder if that's how it goes when they do lethal injections. I leave the room the same way each time: with a kiss on his cheek and a lump in my throat. Each time I go back and sit in the empty room. I just sit and stare, and it feels good to just sit there and do absolutely nothing. I don't use my phone, I don't work on the computer, I don't read. On these spinal tap days I spend a good 20 minutes just sitting there becoming one with the moment. 

After a half hour or so they wheel him back into the room. I stand up and help the nurses move him from the stretcher to his own bed. His body is flacid and I prop him up and arrange his limbs in what I think would be a comfortable position. I rub his head for a while, and I Doordash some food because I know he will be starving when he wakes up.

I return to my chair next to his bed and I go back to work on the computer. He wakes up after an hour or so, we chat, and then he goes back to sleep. They start his chemo drugs. He gets 3 drugs today; Methotrexate, Pentamadine, and Vinchristine. It's a lot compared to a regular day.

He wakes up and eats. Time passes as they feed the poisons into him to attack the cancer. 

At one point he starts getting severe cramps. It's not uncommon. Normally he does well with the chemotherapy sessions, only occasionally getting some nausea and fatigue, but today the cramps make him restless and bring tears to his eyes. I was working on the computer and he yells "Dad" to get my attention. I was in the middle of a Zoom call and had to log off. He pointed to a huge pile of vomit on the floor next to the bed. 

His stomach was a mess. Within a few minutes he asked to go to the bathroom. The diarhea poured out of him. We spent the next couple of hours returning to the bathroom a few times. He was miserable and stayed that way for the rest of the day. We carried a puke bucket with us upon our departure, and he fell fast asleep when we got home. 

Over the next 24 hours I pumped him full of water and forced him to eat even when he wasn't hungry. His ass was on fire from the diarhea but nothing a little A&D ointment couldn't fix. Eventually he returned to his normal self. 

He was at my ex-wive's house the next night and I kept tabs with his brother and sister. He was feeling a little better. 

That night there was a peaceful rain. The highlight of my night was going out in the rain to cook on the barbecue grill. The old screen door clapped loudly behind me as I carried the plate of meat out to the patio. The raindrops sizzled as they landed on the lid to the grill. I arranged the steaks and closed it back up. I could hear the light rain hitting the leaves on the trees all around me. I thought of Sully. I looked up to the dark sky and it felt so good to feel the raindrops hitting my face. I enjoyed it and took a little longer returning to the house. 

Later that evening I went back outside to take the garbage to the curb and bring something to the cottage. I took my time again enjoying the darkness, the rain on my skin, and the sounds around me. These still moments are the ones that people overlook and under appreciate. These instances weave our entire lives into brief moments of silence. 



1 comment:

  1. Beautiful post Ben. I hope Sullys feeling a little better❤️


© Center Street Publishing. All rights reserved.