I took the long way to my parents’ home this morning, drove the route where I could see the mountains and washes laid out around me. I found a radio station that played an eerily prescient mix of music that both exhilarated and made me cry, feeling how wonderful it was to hear music that one loved while driving fast, through scenery. And I thought, this is part of what we think we’ll miss when we die. It’s “feeling alive”, and those we love, obviously. Which makes me think there’s a bit of skepticism that we’ll actually meet the people we lost in the afterlife.
“Stop apologizing for the things you’ve never done…”, The Jam, A Town Called Malice
I was rocking out and crying to songs from the ’80’s and ’90’s – top 40 hits, one might say, but whatever. It was healing, that half hour drive. I was deeply in the moment. I think I’ll take another old road tomorrow, maybe through old orange groves lined with ancient palm trees. Did I mention it’s 100 degrees F ? Ridiculous, but I’m too beat to think about it right now.
A bit overwhelmed, but I think I’ve got the mortuary nailed down. I need some quiet time to sort things. They’re not mine, so I feel relatively detached, unlike my damn health insurance bills. I’ve finally faxed the medical records stuff off, and made another appointment at UCLA. Perhaps it’s better to be busy. Things sort of roll together –
The hospice home health aide is giving my dad a sponge bath. He’s managed to get dad onto the hospital bed, which he’s refused to lie in for the last 5 days, so that’s a first. My dad doesn’t want me anywhere near this activity, as already he’s had to face the indignity of being lifted onto the commode by his family. I don’t know who he thought would be doing this service, but he’s so private it’s either us or strangers. Perhaps he did believe he’d get better upon coming home, not deteriorate rapidly, as the palliative doctor stated. I suppose all the aggressive interventions (thoracentesis, talc pleurodesis, chest tube) were too much for his poor body to take, on top of the chemo that beat him up yet failed to stabilize his disease. In some moments I almost feel responsible for guiding him towards Gemzar and away from Taxotere. This is where one can’t know – it’s a shot in the dark whether you’ll respond or be allergic or get beat up and still go downhill. Gemzar is working for me again, but it did nothing for him, like lettuce. (He always says, “Lettuce does nothing for you.”)
After the bath, he consented to wearing a hospital gown I brought. I don’t know why I have these things. I think I wore them as some sort of punk rock dress at one point, or maybe a Halloween costume. The chaplain came along, a well-dressed, much-bejeweled Englishman. My father was beaming after their conversation and the lengthy prayer said with the speed of an auctioneer. I was pretty happy with that sequence of events, and dragged my aching, starving self home in the heat.
It’s almost midnight and 83 F. The pool hit a whopping 85 degrees today, although I couldn’t enjoy it. Gorgeous crescent moon out. I’ve taken Ativan and ms contin and feel no effects, so I’ll make myself sleep. Another long day tomorrow, hopefully cooler.
And now that I’ve completely lost my mind…