The long month of August

…during which too much dinero was spent on gadgets. Early in the month Hubby got a fishfinder/chart plotter so he could find his diving spots in Monterey.  This was followed by his gaming computer contracting a virus that ate the start-up configuration file and who knows what else, thereby locking up many hours of Solid Works drawings.  Silly that he didn’t back it up, but that’s Captain Hindsight speaking.  He actually took it into a computer repair place and they couldn’t even clone the hard drive.  So it came to this, the 27-incher:

Not my photo

Next came the coffee machine.  Poor Senseo. We’ve had the thing forever, but I stopped drinking that eons ago.  The beautiful Breville espresso machine – which works when it wants to but mostly takes up counter space – is now on the floor of the mud room.  Maddening.  A stroll through Sur La Table at the Ferry Building convinced the Hubs that this was the machine for him.  Great espresso with the ease of Senseo…and recyclable capsules (made entirely of aluminum)! And yet, I need steamed milk.  I really do.  But is it worth another $100? Not really.

Then there’s the ongoing commute to and from SoCal to check on my Dad.  The second opinion oncologist recommended Tarceva, in spite of not being tested for an EGFR mutation, so he let the oncs duke it out (in Chinese, probably) – the molecular biologist vs. frail child turned physician.  His onc gave him the prescription and said, “Don’t do it if it costs $3K. Anytime you want to go on chemo, let me know.”  Whaaaat?  Poor Dad now has a raging rash in 103 degree heat, accompanied by fatigue and excruciatingly dry skin. Worth it as long as it’s effective, and buys him more time to finish his memoirs.

He turned 78 on Labor Day. He believes this may be his last birthday, thanks to Second opinion onc’s remark that he might only live to Christmas. We went to Sunday brunch at a lovely spot on the top of a hill overlooking our old neighborhood, and had a surf-n-turf barbie on his birthday.  I see the sad look in his eyes that I’ve worn for the past five years.  He’s still cheerful, the way I am, but he’s also desperate, confused, trying to keep from being overwhelmed by so many battles to be fought in his old age.  I bear this great sadness too, and maybe now they’ll understand that it’s not easy to be a spectator in spite of one’s illness, when one has always been a doer.

Sis put brother on her cell phone family plan, so he’s communicado again. That’s another ball of wax, even more volatile than my father’s situation. It’s a battle that might have led to his illness, or not, it’s hard to know.  That situation has marred his retirement years and generally killed the dream of having a son who will take care of you in old age.  I always thought the caregiving would fall to me, and it is, but the future and my health is so uncertain.  I wish for the miracle that would be my sister stepping up to the task, but some people just aren’t into it.  She’ll do only what’s required when the time comes, if we all kick the bucket, but she’ll neither invest the time nor the thought that the situation warrants.  It’s frustrating and sad, but people only change if it serves them.  Her job comes before my parents, which is justified by the belief that she would become homeless if she took time off to care for them.  On the other hand, she seems able to take time off to drink wine in Napa…It’s interesting to note that she’s popular because she can be quite fun.  As long as she’s not in charge of your money or your life, you’d be fine.

Last but not least was the 10 day visit from the in laws.  Lots of activity, mostly at parks (Tilden, Lake Chabot, Marin Headlands, Golden Gate) and farmers markets.  Unfortunately, we spent too little time at Golden Gate Park, where the dahlias were in full bloom.  Much walking, Xbox Kinect-ing (at the sister’s), and consumption of Mexican food.

I also managed to read The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters, watch True Grit and Toy Story 3, listen to a few chapters of The Help, and start The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortoise (which isn’t sticking, so I’m moving on to Lucky Jim and When Things Fall Apart).  UC Davis kept me on the trial after the 3-month endpoint, despite a mixed response on the CT scan (upper Left lobe improvement, but increased density in lower lobe).  The ability to walk in to the clinic and have a conversation probably means I’ll live another three months, but the wheezing and coughing is really bringing me down.

It is an understatement to say that the only thing keeping me from falling over is the Nespresso machine. One more shot and I might be able to pull off baking. There’s a whole mess of fruit to do something with.  On the other hand, there’s always tomorrow.  (Did I really just write that???)

Did I mention autumn might be arriving, with its warm days? And that the giant tomato plants FINALLY have fruit (the question being, will they ripen)?


2 thoughts on “The long month of August

  1. Well, it’s certainly good to hear from you again and to know that you haven’t thrown in the towel! And who better to vent to than us? Better than to those you live with and are trying to take care of..but on the other hand, don’t be a martyr either! Enjoy those new shoes and get that milk steamer! You deserve to have every little thing your heart desires and then some. As far as your cough and wheezing go…although I had a clean CT scan a week ago, I have a terrible cough with all kinds of bronchial rythyms going on and am on 4 different kinds of meds. At the present they don’t think the infection is bacterial but perhaps an allergy or a virus. My point in telling you this is that you may want to try zipthromycin or see your primary doc for other ideas…your cough may be solvable. In the meantime, I’m yes, short of breath and temporarily off of tarceva but I have every hope that this goes away. Hubby and I are treking to the Canadian Rockies next week and I’m hoping that the drier air (opposed to the humidity here on the Middle Atlantic coast) will ease things abit. Anyway…glad you’re hanging in there..feel free to vent anytime; it’s much better than no news at all! Merde…Patricia

  2. Hi Patricia–
    Thanks for the concern and all 😉 I’ll ask about antibiotics, definitely! I hope your coughing is resolved, as well. The Rockies sound terrific!! Are you going to Banff and that area? Have a great time and best wishes for great lung capacity!

    I’m shopping for another trial so we’ll see…but I can’t go on like this! I want to do a national park tour of the southwest … and there’s still Italy and the Loire Valley…we’ve got things to do, places to go – so this is no time to give up!
    Cheers, Jazz

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