isolation

I’ve gotten sidetracked these past few weeks.  Sidetracked from my daily routine.  Sidetracked from projects I was in the middle of.  Usually, I chalk up my short attention span to having too many things going on at once.  This time I am giving credit where credit is due.  My radiation treatments.

I am going to write about my radiation experience.  That can wait for now.  I find my writing getting far too maudlin.  I have equated this isolation period of my radiation to being in jail.  Not that I have ever been in jail.  But if I was, I imagine this is what it would feel like.  Cause you to go a little stir crazy.  Bring out the drama.  Woah is me.  Right now I want lighthearted.

Last time I was on Dr ordered bed rest,  I snuck out.  I went to the mall.  I went out for lunches.  I met up with friends.  I picked up a few hours at work.  This time I pretty much have to stick by the rules.  I have radiation seeping out of my pores.  I could infect some innocent bystander.   So for now, it’s jail time for me.

Bruce is sleeping in one section of the house.  I am in the other.  He takes my Dr’s orders very seriously.  He brings a tray of food up to our room , which I lovingly refer to as my jail cell, when he gets home from work.  He knocks on the door.  By the time I go to open it, he is gone but the tray is waiting there for me.  Like Magic!  Even in jail I imagine you get to see the warden. He is taking no chances!!  As I sit in my room and eat my iodine free diet (Dr ordered!!) I imagine how fast he must turn and run to get away before I get to the door.  I know what time he is going to come each day.  I can hear him in the kitchen preparing my tray.  Or I get a txt from him asking “Are you hungry?”  Of course I am hungry!  But I humor him.  “Well, I guess I could eat a little something.”  I am tempted to open the door next time right as he is about to knock.  The look on his face alone would be worth taking the risk.  I will not do it, tho.  He is far too good of a nurse to play that trick on.  He is irreplaceable.

Scottie is back home living with us right now.   Just  until he can afford to get out on his own.  He takes his cue from his dad.  No chances there!  He yells through my door every morning and night.  “Good Morning, Mom!!….Have a good day!!!…Night Mom, I Love You!!”  The apple does not fall far from the tree.  He is a good sport about it.  He sends me snapchats during the day.  Sometimes they are of him going for lunch.  Usually they are of him sitting at his desk at work or on his way home from work.  “2 Hours to go!!!!  Heading home!!” It’s almost as if I am sitting in the car with him.  This morning I got a TGIF!!! picture!!  No TGIF for me in Jail.  But each day is one day closer to parole.

Via snapchat and picture txt msgs, Lauren has probably gone the farthest above and beyond in helping me to forget I was in jail.  She works the night shift as an emergency room nurse.  I wake up to all kinds of exciting pics from her on snapchat.  Never of anything I am not supposed to see.  Usually of  her co-workers.  Or her desk.  Or a picture of her at 3am telling me she has just had an espresso.  The other day I woke up, in my cell,  and there were about 10 pictures waiting for me from her.  I was excited!!  It was like opening Presents up on Christmas morning!  I got to meet many nurses and Drs. on her shift.  They were all pretty much in the same pose.  A smiling stranger I had never met before waving at me.  Hello!!

Last night she went shopping.  She “brought” me along.  She was trying to pick up the last few pieces for an outfit she needs for a bachelorette party she is going to this weekend.  We shopped via Txt Msg.  She texted me pics of shoes.  Which pair should she get??  She texted me pics of clothes.  Which would go better to complete my outfit? 

We had a spirited txt message conversation on the pros and cons of Spanx.  Have you EVER tried to get into those??  You take them out of the package and if you fold them in half, they literally can fit in the palm of your hand.  At first you think that you bought the wrong size.  After reading the sizing chart again, you realize you didn’t.  Huh?? I am supposed to squeeze into those!!?   First rule of Spanx ~  you need to decide which is more important to you.  Walking around looking lumpy and being able to breathe, or looking smoothed out while slowly suffocating.  I’ve decided that I’d rather look lumpy than go through that torture.  She said it is an Olympic event trying to get them on.  I agreed and said they should be outlawed.

She also acts as liaison between Bruce Robt and myself.  He has never been one to spend time on the phone.  Or snapchatting.  So she takes pics of him and sends them to me.  On the sofa grinning at me.  In a shirt I bought him.  Sometimes taking a big bite of something.  He takes after Clark in that department.  She keeps him well-informed on what is happening.  They are so blessed to have each other.  It’s fun to see how they interact.  In many ways, they remind me of hubs and myself.

Brian is away at college and he gives me daily phone calls.  Since living away from home,  he always has called me a lot to check in.  Now he calls me more.  He is usually on his way to or from class.  Or the Fraternity house.   Or to meet up with friends.  We could be in mid sentence or in the middle of a deep conversation about my radiation or my progress on shrinking cancer cells and all of a sudden he announces, “I’ve got to go mom, my friends are here” or  I’m at the dining hall,  gotta go,  I Love You.”   This always makes me smile.  He grounds me.  He keeps life in perspective for me.  He makes my mind go back to a carefree time in my life when I was a college student.  It keeps my mind focused on the whole picture rather than on this bump in the road.

So for now, it’s jail time for me.  I can handle it!  I can do this!  I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.  After all, I have to admit that my jail cell is pretty cushy.  I have a tv and Netflix.  I have my pc.  I have my phone.  What more could I ask for?  Freedom, that’s what!  And it’s just around the corner.

mans best friend

Today, my youngest son, Brian, is coming home from college to spend a week with us.  Our home always becomes a haven of activity while he’s home for any length of time.  Discussions become lively.  Friends are constantly popping over.  The house becomes unsettled and messy.    I have learned over the years not to sweat the small stuff.   Knowing that the chaos is only temporary, I try to concentrate on the joy my heart feels when I see him walk back through the door.  I miss him so much while he’s gone.  It’s always so good to see him walk back in.

I answered the phone a few days ago and he was on the other end.  “Mom, I was thinking about bringing  Lil’ Bit home with me next week while on break.”  I was silent on my end of the phone.  I realized that the chaos was one week away.

Lil’ Bit is his Fraternity’s dog.    Last year, someone decided that they needed one so they went out and got one.  I’m still unclear where the pooch came from.  The first time I met Lil’ Bit was last fall while my hubby and I were visiting Brian at School.  We were walking down the beautiful streets of Oxford, soaking up the gorgeous fall day.  Brian was giving us a tour, proudly pointing out all the historical and worthwhile places of interest.   You couldn’t help but  get caught up in the college atmosphere.  There was loud music blasting out of open windows in houses up and down the street.  There were students walking around everywhere.  The coffee houses and bars were filled to capacity.  You got caught up in the carefree and spirited atmosphere that goes hand in hand with college life.

As we turned the corner from one tree lined street onto another, Brian pointed out a group of his friends that were walking about a block away.   “Look ma!!… there’s  Lil’ Bit!!”  I looked up to see one of his friends tugging on a leash with an aggressive dog on the other end.  It was as if this dog had sniffed out a squirrel or something and was eager to go get it.  This dog had energy!  It was dragging it’s master along.  I told Brian that he was a nice looking dog.  Brian told me they were still in the middle of training him and that he was still a little excitable.  He told me that just last week one of his friends was playing tug of war with the excitable pooch and got a little too close and the dog bit his nose.  He thought that was humorous.   This was not what a mom wanted to hear.

Brian has wanted a dog for as long as I can remember.  We never got one and if you asked me what my biggest regret in life was, that would be it.  We had our reasons for not getting one, but over the years, those reasons started to fade.  Before I knew it, the boys were grown and out the door and I felt the opportunity had passed us by.  But, had it?  There have been many times in the past few years that I have wavered and thought, yes, it would be nice to have a dog.  Maybe we should get one.   It’s never really too late.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.  I try to picture how it would be if we added a canine friend to our family.  I think about how our life would change and about the adjustments we’d have to make.  I made a mental list in my head and they really did not seem that overwhelming.   Alright,  everything we owned would immediately smell of dog and our clothes would be covered in animal hair.  Vet bills would be high and our toilet would become the dog’s refreshment center.  And of course, there would be no discernment in the licking department….(his privates, the dead thing in the yard, your face…)  But, the unconditional love you get from a pet far outweighs all of those little issues.

Last time Brian was home on a break, I told him that I thought I might be ready to get a dog.  His response was immediate!  Now this was news he had been waiting for all his life!  He started researching to try to find the perfect breed.  He’d show me pictures of cute puppies that you couldn’t help but fall in love with. He was really working all the angles!   He said to me, “My friend has a Saint Bernard.   That would be a great dog to get!!   He can carry one of those little kegs under it’s neck!!”  I just looked at him.  He went on to tell me that they originally started carrying those kegs under their necks because they were true rescue dogs and that is where medical supplies were carried.  I did not see the allure of getting a huge dog with a special talent like that.  If I wanted some tums or Advil or a band-aid, I could just walk to the medicine cabinet.  No, I needed to ease into the world of pet ownership with something a little smaller.  Besides, don’t Saint Bernards have drooling issues?   He assured me they didn’t drool like they used to.  I was skeptical.   The Saint Bernard was out.

We’ve gone back and forth a lot in the past months.  I know that the decision will ultimately be his because it’s very likely that he’ll end up taking this dog back to school with him in the fall.  That is a win/win for everyone!

Brian will be rolling in tonight sometime around dinner and he’ll spend the week with us.  I’m so excited to see him.  We’ll talk about the dog that might be joining our family this summer.  We’ll continue to think about what kind would be good to get.  I will lay out a list of the responsibilities that will be his.  With any luck, we’ll come to terms and make some progress on these decisions.    I know that this means that there will be adjustments to make and compromises to be had, but I feel good about this decision.  Three or four years ago you wouldn’t have heard me mention even the slightest possibility of getting a dog.   Our household is about to change.

pet peeves

As I sit in the middle of my beautiful kitchen, perched up high on one of my gorgeous leather island stools, I can’t help but be abundantly grateful for all the blessings in my life.  I have a wonderful husband, Bruce, and three sons who I could not love any more than I do.  My oldest son, Bruce Robert,  is named after his father and is just a joy to be around.  He is married to Lauren, an amazing and wonderful young lady who is the kind of girl all mothers dream of having as a daughter in law. My younger two sons, Scott and Brian, make us very proud and are incredible  young men.

I look around me and I think to myself, yes, I have so much.  A beautiful home, a wonderful family and a job I love.  My eyes travel around the room and I say a silent prayer of thanks for all that I have been given. My eyes travel over the beautiful granite counters and past the high end appliances when suddenly they stop on my husband, who is standing at the end of the counter eating what looks to be the biggest ham sandwich I’ve ever seen.  I just sit there and stare at him, wondering how any human can take a bite that big out of a sandwich without choking.  As he conquers the monster bite, I notice he has a little mayonnaise on the corner of his mouth.

He heads for the snack cabinet and starts to rustle around for something crunchy to eat with his gargantuan sandwich.  Ut oh, I hear the crinkling of a loud foil bag and see him grabbing for the Frito’s.  This is a pet peeve of mine.  Pet peeves are funny and we all have them. They can be something as little and insignificant as the way someone taps their fingers annoyingly on a table or as big as your tax bill increase each year.

Mine happens to be loud, noisy chewing.  It would be easy to just ignore my husbands superhuman ability to crunch at decibels that seem impossible to achieve, but the harder I try to focus on something else, the louder it becomes.   I become completely and solely in tuned to the noise.

“Margaret, I’m going to have some chips.”    That’s my cue to either move to the adjoining room and turn the volume of our theater size television up full blast, or to remove myself from the situation for the sake of harmony by going to the furthest corner of our house in the opposite direction of the kitchen.  This is the course I usually take.  As I sit in my room, which is on the 2nd floor, I wonder to myself how in the world I  can possibly still be hearing him.  Is this some kind of bad karma or latent punishment?  Was I a loud chewer in a previous life?

Two flights down I can still hear the freakishly loud chewing going on.  “chomp chomp chomp”  I start to question myself.  Am I being obsessive about something so trivial?  Am I a loud chewer and don’t realize it?  I wonder if other people can hear me chew a salad?  No!  I  chew with my mouth closed,  and I tend to do it quietly. Hmmph!  Why can’t men chew quietly like women do?

As I sit upstairs working so hard to ignore the thunderous chewing of food that’s drifting into my room,  I notice that the loud crunching starts to slow down and eventually comes to a stop. I can feel my irritation start to lift.  I start to look around my lovely bedroom.  I notice the beautiful bedspread and coordinating drapes.  I look adoringly at the two matching chairs that sit in front of the big window and think of how nice it is to sit there and look outside at my neighborhood.   And Just like that, my pet peeve goes back into hiding and I start to feel generously blessed again.  I have such a good life and have been given so much.  I have been especially blessed with an amazing husband who is giving and thoughtful and loving.  Yes, pet peeves are odd.