Saturday, May 3, 2014


heron with rocks and bougainvillea to take your mind off this post

8:30 a.m.

I am 61 years old, and I am wearing red pants. This is mitigated somewhat by the fact that my red pants and I are in a yoga class. But after this hour of serenity, I will drive to the seedy side of Hollywood, check my boyfriend out of a nursing home, and take him back to my house where he will take a break from the chemo and radiation that have been rendering him weaker and weaker. If chemo and radiation were assigned a color, in my mind, it would be red. So the red pants might be appropriate after all.

I do not like to buy clothes. Visiting the mall always propels me toward anxiety. I feel like a greedy consumer when I buy new things and much prefer a thrift store, but mostly, I don't shop anywhere; I just wear what I already have. I bought the red pants for daughter M to take on her 8th grade class trip. She has a master's degree now. When she abandoned the red pants early in her undergraduate days, I claimed them. They still look new, but usually I wear them only when my other two pairs of yoga pants, sedately hued in brown and gray and more than a decade old, are in the laundry. Today the gray pants were folded neatly in my drawer, but I chose the red pants anyway. I don't know why, but it seems important.

1:30 p.m.

We're home. I make fresh juice. Two kinds of kale, celery, carrots, grapefruit, lemon, blood orange. M and the boyfriend and I agree that it's tasty--though I briefly consider dumping some gin into mine. For the rest of the afternoon, it's managed chaos. There are meds to organize and discharge instructions to digest. We need a glucose meter and test trips, so M goes to Rite-Aid. I discover there's stuff, "an appurtenance," the boyfriend calls it, attached to the chemo port and taped to the outside of his chest. Tubes with dried red blood in them, a white clip and a yellow clip. He thinks a nurse in the hospital put it there on Tuesday. He has no idea if this thing needs maintaining. I make him promise he will not try to uninstall it, and I call the nursing home and then the hospital where he spent some time at last week. I call the chemo center and talk to the doctor on call. No one has anything relevant to say, so I Facebook my ex-sister-in-law who's a nurse, and then  I cook dinner. Rib-eyes on the grill, more greens with radishes and onions. Sweet potatoes.

10:00 p.m.

 I'm on the couch with M watching the watching the Clipper game. The boyfriend is in my bed, asleep. The blood in the tubes needs to be flushed, the sister-in-law nurse writes back. I fill my wine class, watch the Clippers win, all the while thinking of blood. Of red wine. My red pants. I might obsess all night over the blood in the tubes taped to boyfriend's chest. I might sleep, oblivious to all this terror, relieved that after two months away, he is finally lying next to me.


Ms. Moon said...

Was that where they were delivering the chemo?
I am sure that somehow you and the angels (and I have no idea what form they will take but I am sure they will be there) will take such good care of this man.
I am loving you from afar, in awe.

37paddington said...

I am glad he is there with you. I am sure sleeping next to you is more healing than anything. Can your sister in law advise how to flush the blood? His doctor?

Elizabeth said...

Oh, Denise. WTF? I am so sorry that you are having to deal with all of this. I do agree with the others, though -- and you -- that The Man Who Loves You will sleep and heal next to you. May you both be well.