On The Road Again And Scattershots

by Sarah

Yesterday when I woke, my first whole thought was “I’m ready to drive a car”.  Nurse Jill and her family were going to scoop me up and take me to their place for dinner but I let her know I was going to drive to their house.  She insisted that her husband ride with me.  I’m not sure why but Kevin, I’d suggest taking a good look at your life insurance policies.  I was fine.  The toughest part is getting in and out of the car due to back issues.  The drive home was therapeutic.  Full moon, windows down, music loud and corners at speed.   My world just got bigger and in one aspect, faster.

It was a big weekend for me.  I went to a wedding reception and a birthday party.  Both were a lot of fun. It was good to get out and see people, friends.  Getting ready for such events is exhausting.  It takes so much more time and effort to do daily activities.  It was worth it.  I factored in a nap on Sunday and that helped immensely.

I have to anticipate people’s behavior and reactions at these types of events.  I try to have replies ready for a variety of responses but I don’t predict everything.  I don’t want to make people uncomfortable unless they’re rude.  Then I’ll go straight for the bomb and let them squirm.  People get broken down into a few groups.

A – They know and are OK.

B – They know and aren’t OK.

C – They don’t know but will be OK when I tell them.

D – They don’t know and will not be OK when I tell them.

E –  Somewhere on the spectrum of any of the above.

I ran into all of these folks this weekend.  Usually I can handle it as I want to.  Sometimes I fumble.  The first question is usually why I’m on crutches and my answer is that I had rods put in my leg.  Very few will ask why.  If they do, I tell them I had a lytic lesion that ate away at my femur and compromised the bone.  50/50 chance that they will ask what the hell that means and if they do, I explain that I have cancer in my bones.  I’m not trying to keep anything from anyone but that is a lot to dump on someone in a casual conversation and they’re often stunned and speechless.  They then either continue questioning me or flee in search of someone else to ask the gory details.  That’s OK.  Some come back around and talk to me.  Some will avoid me forever.  Most of the time I can predict who will do what.  Those who talk to me often find out that I relay the humor about it because that’s how I see it.  A few people got to hear about my impersonation of a drunk turtle as I tried to get my pants on for the party.  As Dr. K says, there is a whole stand up routine in this cancer thing but I’m not sure how many are ready for it.  I think most that stick around and chat are pleasantly surprised at how the conversation plays out.

One encounter I found particularly amusing was a friend who kept asking me details of the surgery and then would shut his eyes and make enough noise that he couldn’t hear my reply.  He was so curious but couldn’t stand to hear the account!  It was nice to see the honesty in our exchange.  He cared and wanted to know but couldn’t stand to hear all about it.  There are probably others like him.  I’m glad he asked even if he couldn’t take it.

A few scatter scattershots from the last week…

Coffee + Rain = Hot laps around the inside of my house.

You can make a lot of people uncomfortable when you talk of your pain, even when it’s from 10 years ago.

People make comments on my writing; lots of comments, directly to me.  The overwhelming sentiment is that they’re surprised at my “ability”.  It seems as though I’ve done an effective job at perpetuating the notion that I’m rather illiterate.

Strangers stare at people using crutches and are not shy about it.

Mom, dad and I ventured to a store.  Mom is limping, dad has a scabbed up knee and a black eye the size a softball and I’m hobbling around on a crutch with visible incisions.  Zombie apocalypse, we are.

It speaks volumes about my friends that want to take my toilet seat for a spin.

My left shoulder is toast from this whole crutching thing.  I found out when I tried to wash my hair on Friday.  It makes doing your hair quite interesting when you can’t lift your hand past your chest.

When a friend can relieve some of the debilitating pain in your back, there are not enough thank yous to suffice.

I’m even impressing myself at what I can pack into my bra to carry around.

Knowing you have an event to go to over the weekend causes you to start planning your shower, shaving and overall preparing several days ahead of time and that is none too soon.

Back and rib pain are my constant companions.

If you wait until you have to go to the bathroom to get moving…

There is a subset of my friends who have found out firsthand what I mean when I say Porky Pigging it….shirt, no pants.

I suck at picking up things off the floor with my toes.  Especially knives.  ESPECIALLY knives.

When I have a pain or a twinge in any part of my body, I wonder if it’s the cancer about to disintegrate something new.

A bum leg at a party is a magnet for every klutz, kid and drink-spiller in the joint.

I’m down to one crutch and will hobble around short distances inside my house, unassisted.  Sometimes I drag my leg and pretend I’m Igor.

Up with the good, down with the bad.  I repeat it to myself every time I attempt stairs.  Not bad words to live by, either.

If I ask you to come over and help me make my bed that means you will be making my bed.  And probably loading/unloading my dishwasher, sweeping my floor, taking out my trash, bringing in my mail, picking knives up off the ground and maybe cleaning up a few drops of blood.

When strangers ask me what happened, I tell them I got bit by a shark.  And then I show them.  No arguments.

I think I can kick someone hard enough to leave a mark again.