A friend, never met, was buried today. He was a stand-up man, who believed in walking down to see someone to let them know that talking to them mattered. Some times you have to go seeking the answers. He mentored Linda, helping her to become the manager that people wanted to work for. He knew people, because people matter, and when figuring things out, it was out with a piece of paper and writing it down. Get it down, don’t forget that these are real things, real numbers, real problems.
He had a ‘let’s have a walk’ with Linda about me, when management was less than compassionate. He told her that when his wife had cancer, he decided not to miss a single doctor’s appointment. That how you live a life, and how you live with yourself.
He died of cancer a week ago. He was a sturdy man, and helping or caring about others never diminished that, it enhanced it. When Linda was worried about work and needed the big picture or what to do, I wanted her to go to him: he never had advice other than the best in her long term.
In a few days, another friend goes into surgery, the big C again. A year of testing to determine it was Lupus. Oops, no, turns out it was Cancer and spreading. I know the doctor who is doing the surgery and he is professional and exceptionally trained. One of the three specialists I trust. I’ll go visit in the hospital. The person said the one thing no one lets you talk about are the ‘what if’s’, that and how there are those who say, “I can’t take illness” as an excuse to run away and those who stay, “If you ever need anything…” before you never hear them again.
Cancer is never pretty, and I am not sure if it is survived or simply carried on? Chemo, radiation, operations, you might be able to go back to looking the same but the world will never seem the same, a place where the silent fears don’t whisper in the dark before sleep.
I have been out of it for a while, sleeping three times the amount I am awake, and still fevered. Today it was seizure cycles a and stroke build up, blood pressure 205/193 with heart rate of 128 (if you see this, go to a hospital) before dropping to a ‘safe’ 188/140 (yeah, don’t need to worry about clotted cream every day for tea – I jest). I had a lot of seizures, and felt like my ear and head was going to explode. But I’m here. I’m taking some DVD’s up to my friend in the hospital, to take the mind from the noise and the pain. Some romance too.
This morning I scraped the clotted blood on and in my tongue. It stayed. I had bit the tongue tip in two places during my sleep in seizures, maybe took a tip off. That’s not a ‘What if’ that just a ‘is that chocolate?’ to, ‘oh crap……oh well.’ No one wants to talk to Linda about the nights holding me from banging my head and limbs against the wall, and how she can’t shield all of them. Or what it looks like, or sounds like. I don’t know that.
Last week I had a seizure and Cheryl was there, she held my hand. I don’t know if it was the end, the after, the pre, the whole thing, I just know I couldn’t see and I couldn’t move anything but my right thumb a quarter inch. My whole world was that quarter inch. Was it Cheryl’s thumb? I felt hands that worked, thick hands which spent too many winters on the prairies, I know that feel. There were hands that have old calluses, wood I think, and new ones building and the wearing that will turn them some day into that fine leather, safe hands. Every ridge was my security blanket, every indent a place where I connected to the outside world. After a time she took it away to check me, I think, and I moved my thumb, moved it as much as I could but the hand didn’t come back. Damn. Slammed backed into a body in which the pain which comes from parts is so twisted it is hard to not think of myself that way, like something bounced off the front of a car.
The hand mattered. Feeling it mattered. The little differences ARE the big differences.
Love is what I felt in Cheryl’s hand. Love is what I felt in Linda’s voice when talking about the man buried today. Facing surgery, a suggestion of a laptop, earphones and DVDs, brings the question, “Where has all the caring gone?” and not from me. I dunno, when facing surgery, it is good to know that someone who cares is on the other side. And while we were working on how to help them, they were offering suggestions on how to help us. Like to like.
I wanted you to know that even to a person, unmoving, eyes rolled up or down or both with only a twitch of a thumb, holding a hand can make a great deal of difference. There isn’t just ‘What if’’s for those facing a dance with Mr. D. but for all those who know them. And running, however graceful, is still running. The man buried today made a difference when Linda and my life needed it. And I think he did for a great many people. He wasn’t scared to help to deal with the what if’s.
54 minutes ago