Saturday, February 15, 2014

Never too much of a good thing

It's been over a week since mom got out of the hospital. Since then, she has returned to a better place and with the aid of 24-hour care through family and volunteers -- she has had several "good" days in a row. As her liver deteriorates, everything that usually processes through the liver is having to find alternative routes, such as the kidney. Inevitably, bilirubin and ammonia levels are increasing all the time. Our method of treatment day after day is to get that stuff out of her system. These basic malfunctions cause disorientation, fatigue, itching and all kinds of other unpleasant side effects. It's not really the cancer that's going to break it all down. It's the effects of tumors blocking everything.

Last Saturday, mom was well enough to join me on a trip to the grocery store. We moved slow. But, she enjoys getting out and I'm certain she needs some interaction like that to stay afloat. It was quite a change from lying in a hospital bed with an IV.

It's really important that I convey how grateful my family is for the community and family support. We have  more volunteers than I remember having at a national non-profit I used to work at, and while it's very difficult to ask for help, we are met with response that makes us wonder why.

I've spent more time in my hometown the past few months than in years combined since I left in 1995. I've been reminded of other times in my life, borrowing an old pair of long johns or wearing an old jacket from my closet for an outdoor run. I've scoped out and re-read books I read dozens of time in my youth. I've run perimeters and re-discovered pockets of town that I like jogging through better than others. I've sat working remotely from my laptop, looking out on my parents glorious back yard -- the epitome of outdoor living in the summertime -- and yearned and nearly begged for winter to be over. I've stayed in pajamas until 2 pm. I've visited old friends who give me reprieve and wine and good conversation. I'm dying to go back to the old movie theater.

There is a baseline of kindness and fortitude in this small town that I'll never find in my next door neighbors living in a metro area. (I don't even join them for a beer much less a cup of sugar.) It's humbling. I feel less nervous when I drive away on Sunday.

Thank you for everything. I only hope that we can sometime repay you.

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