We’re now on the 5th post-radiation day, and today was the first day Peter has emerged from the house. He had labs at Duke in preparation for tomorrow’s appointment with Dan George (oncologist). It’s times like this when I realize how hard it is for Peter to do something as simple as go to the clinic for a blood draw. It’s hard mainly because of his very high fatigue level, which seems to be lessening a bit, but not a lot. He needs to put on weight and build more muscle, and that should help eliminate some of the fatigue – and this is where a lot of the time-consuming activity comes in.
For example: in order for Peter to consume up to 2500 calories daily, and for him to be able to intake this amount of food, he has to eat very frequently. Also, because he needs so much rest, he spends a lot of time in bed, not always sleeping. So the ritual starts around 8 am and continues on a 2/3 hour basis until 10 or so at night. If we’re going out (as above), then I plan around that.
Of course, in addition to the food intake, he has daily medications, some of which are relatively demanding in terms of ‘with food’, only under these conditions, etc. In between these things, I catch up on emails, do the shopping and the general admin associated with running a household. Lately that’s included preparation for Peter’s sister’s forthcoming visit from South Africa. Given Peter’s very erratic sleep schedule, we decided it’s best for her to stay in a local hotel, so that’s done.
And on it goes. While I’m hardly a stranger to busy days, having spend many years in the corporate world, but meetings, business travel, reports, plans, etc., are quite different from my current daily schedule. However, I plan, I organize, I prepare, so in some ways it’s not so different (who am I kidding!). I’ve certainly developed a new and heartfelt appreciation for all who toil as helpers for the sick, the infirm, and so on. It’s hard, and the dependency of the sick/infirm person is somewhat daunting. Peter frequently says he doesn’t know what he’d do without me – well, he has me, for better or for worse, as they say, and it’s certainly well into the ‘worse’ these days. It’s so important that Peter be as comfortable and as untroubled as possible, so he can focus on coping with the disease, and trying to heal. That’s my focus, and that’s why the day to dayness is so very critical.