Driving into Palo Alto towards Stanford yesterday was the first real moment of solitude I have felt so far. Things have been happening so fast there hasn’t been a minute for me to really contemplate being alone. Unless I am fishing or working on the ranch I dont particularly care to be alone, it doesn’t suit me well at all. My life is better when others are around who can laugh and joke about anything and everything. But here I was, alone, looking over at the passenger seat feeling its emptiness while maneuvering through traffic.
Then I thought about how alone my wife feels in all of this. Not in the sense of anyone coming to visit her or sit by her side, but as in alone? You know, on the inside? As though this thing called Leukemia is somehow her sole cross to bear. We come and go, kiss her forehead, hold her hand, we say all the right things like; honey we are here for you, Jacy we love you, you can beat this awful disease, you are so strong, if anyone can kick cancers ass it’s you! But at the end of the day, when darkness comes and there is nothing but nurses poking, prodding, scanning and taking vitals signs while administering more medication, there is only her, alone, with this disease…
Yesterday was a difficult day for her, vomiting, restless, hurting, hard to swallow, mouth developing sores and constantly needing to pee! She could not get out of bed without an alarm sounding, sleep more than 15 minutes without someone needing to speak with her to reaffirm her name or roll over without being tangled in a spaghetti like mass of I.V. lines!
Her nurse yesterday was amazing! Sweet and kind you can tell she loves her job and the patients in her care. She was always Johnny on the spot and I wasnt able to do anything for my wife as to do so may have been an insult to this wonderful persons tenacity; regardless though it was a revolving door of activity within the confines of her two person barley 250 square foot room and I dont know how any of them (patients included) handle it all.
I sat with Jacy for 6 hours and was only able to speak with her for a total of about 30 minutes as she would drop in and out of interrupted slumber. She spoke about her worries in regards to her room-mate for which she has become attached. She talked a little about hallucinations and talking to her room-mate in her sleep for which she only remembered portions. At one point she went to shower and needed three nurses to assist her back into bed as all of her medications hit her at once causing her to become dizzy and unable to stay upright.
Six hours went by like five minutes, I did nothing, I said very little, I held her hand and stroked her back. I read stories on my phone, looked up the history of Stanford hospital and reoriented myself with the entire facility. At one point during the day it became necessary for me to step outside and stretch my legs; my legs having a mind of their own took me right around the corner into the chapel. Sitting, reflecting, pondering and praying; praying for guidance and praying for Jacy to retain her inner strength. Staying strong for our family has been challenging and I am sure Jacy feels those same pressures in regards to her children. Its nothing we havent handled as a team before or wont handle in the future. Having the ability to walk in and find sanctity allowed a moment to breathe a little easier.
Walking back from the chapel my heart-felt lighter, my spirits raised a tad. It never ceases to amaze me what a little quiet somber prayer time can do for one’s mind and soul. When I returned she actually stayed awake enough to chat with me for a bit, kiss me a few times, then quietly drift back asleep. It was all my emotions needed to quell any fears, it was all my heart needed to recharge for the next day. It was all my body needed to lift up my shoulders and carry on a little longer. A kiss and smile from the one you love is a powerful thing.
If you know my wife, then you know the power of her smile. If you have spoken with my wife then you know she can make a friend out of the most hardened of personalities, and if you have ever been in a room with my wife it is instantly apparent where the light is emanating from.
Even though she has a wonderful room-mate whom she is very thankful for, it is killing me to think of her ever being or feeling alone..
UPDATE: Today she is just as sick, and with only one more dose of the dreaded Cytarabine to go, she will only get worse before getting a little chemotherapy break over the weekend. I dont know how she does it, I am pretty sure I would have screamed uncle! Then quit.