Yesterday was tough. Today has been much less so. Maggie got better rest than she did Friday night but, in our little world, “better rest” means only getting up a dozen or so times to hack up a lung. Still, we’ll take what we can get. As a result of her more restful sleep, she was more energetic this morning. She woke up hungry and wanting to do a little exercise. I was all too happy to oblige.
After an easy breakfast of sweetened, plain yogurt and half a peanut butter Quaker Oats bar, she took all her pills to round out the meal: Xeloda (chemo meds) x 4, nausea, steroid, antibiotic #1, antibiotic #2, anti-heartburn, … is that all? I feel like I’m forgetting one or two. There’re just so many I always feel that way. We then did some light stretches and I helped her work her leg and arm muscles. We did simple resistance exercises where, for example with her legs, I’d hold her feet and she’d push against my hand as I let her straighten and bend it, back and forth. We repeated this with her arms working both her pulling and pushing muscles. It’s alarming how weak she’s become. When she first pulled with her arm, I nearly didn’t detect any force at all.
Afterword, we had a brief chat. She had a few smiles for me, too, which was great and we even shared a joke. I reminded her yet again of how much I love her and how happy I am that we are (and have been) together. No I-hope-she-knew going on here. She reminded me, too, of the same. Always wonderful to hear (and see – she always says it with a smile in her eyes.) Of course, we both already know how we both feel. Things that don’t need to be said get that way by being said often.
After watching her very, very slowly apply tiger balm to her abdomen, I delivered her iPhone to her so she could check her email and fidget while I showered and readied myself for the day. When I returned, she was asleep, breathing heavily, iPhone at her side. I am happy we had the time we did.
It’s extraordinarily painful to watch her struggle with the most basic of movements. Typically, when she returns from her trips to the bathroom, she’ll ever so slowly crawl back onto the bed and remain in whatever pose she happened to collapse into when she finally gets her feet off the floor. There, she’ll breathe shallow but heavy for twenty minutes or more, giving no indication of life other than the staccato bounce of her chest.
Mary, Maggie’s mom, popped in for a visit yesterday, timed perfectly to catch Maggie right after she hit post-bathroom catatonic. Understandably, Mary was shaken badly by the scene. It’s such a contrast to the late-night-dancing, bungee-jumping, wakeboarding, snowboarding, smack-talking, lawyering Maggie we’ve known. Mary stood strong while she was here briefly but left to recompose herself. Hell, I don’t blame her a bit. I have to recompose myself 20 times a day, it seems. Maybe more. I even bought some eye drops to re-lubricate my eyes because I keep drying them out with tears. Between me crying and Maggie coughing up crap from her lungs, we’re damn near out of tissue paper around here.
Today on the docket, more friendly visits. Right now there’s a circle of longtime girlfriends surrounding Maggie in our bedroom cackling up a storm. Maggie’s got heavy eyelids but she’s enjoying the company. The moms are in the living room talking about raising daughters (my sister, Carrie, Maggie and Lori.) If they’ve hit on raising sons I’ve luckily missed that.
All-in-all, it’s been a good day so far. So, yeah, the last post was tough and things looked grim but we ain’t out of fun yet. I think I’ll Google a dirty joke to tell them all when I’m done writing this….