“I, too, know the love of a taciturn man.” — Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, probably echoing my wife’s thoughts most of the time.
We’re about two weeks into my dad’s chemo/radiation regimen and things seem to have settled down a bit. The first weekend was rough. The treatments must have been a real shock to his body because he was sick from Saturday to Monday. He couldn’t keep in what little food he was eating, losing two pounds over the weekend, and not getting much sleep, either.
This weekend, after the 2nd treatment, was the complete opposite. He felt great, had an appetite, and slept uninterrupted for 11 hours. He really needed that. I don’t know if they adjusted the dosage, or perhaps his body acclimated a bit. He did have one scary reaction moment in the chemo chair, though, when he said he felt like his body was on fire and it was going to explode. The nurses converged on him, fiddled with this, unhooked that, added some medicine here, and it was all good. Apparently, it’s a known reaction, although he would have been expected to have it on the first treatment.
I went with him to the first radiation treatment, and it struck me how familiar everyone seemed to be with one another. For all I know, at 7 weeks, my father may be having a shorter treatment, or maybe it’s common for people to come back for subsequent treatments after some time to recover. At any rate, the room was full of mostly elderly people and their younger relatives acting as handlers/assistants. Lots of conversations going on, which is the exact opposite of most waiting rooms. Two old men were negotiating a handgun trade when it was determined that one of them had far too much firepower for his current security needs and needed something a little faster on the draw. Another fellow told tale in which he stumbled over a black snake, ran over it with the lawnmower, got his pistol and shot the pieces, and then buried the pieces separately in the yard so they couldn’t rejoin. It was a pretty riotous story, if a bit sad for the snake, since black snakes aren’t really known for hurting anyone.
Back home, the whole situation has thrown my family’s naturally stoic nature into stark relief. We tend to figure that if someone needs a visit, they’ll call and ask us to come over. We sure don’t want to bother them. Plus, I guess we place a lot of trust in the grapevine to get information around. At the Super Bowl party tonight, none of the menfolk (born into the family) asked about my dad. However, all the women who married into the family wanted to know all about him. I guess the attitude amongst the men was that if there was anything they needed to know, they would have been told about it. After being on the “has the information” side of the equation for once, I’m not sure this is the best assumption. I’m a member of the family, too, after all, so that makes me reluctant to divulge any information that isn’t explicitly asked for. Over the years, this kind of scenario has probably been why we can barely remember the names of each other’s children.
So we’ll see what the coming weeks hold in store. We’ll try to get him eating healthy foods, and hoping the grind of the treatments doesn’t get him down too much. And I’ll need to remember to keep the family posted on how he’s doing, because they won’t be asking no matter how much they might want to know.