Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Day 164 - shame and end of life

As for my life and recovery, today was another day of small, but real gains. I returned to Planet Fitness and rode the bike for 20 minutes, but am completely unable to bring my heart rate above 115. This probably has something to do with being anemic. If I push harder to try to get my heart faster faster, my legs get so sore I cannot stand it. Oxygen is a good thing; soon they'll get more.

The dog had her annual physical today and got her shots. It's nice because the vet clearly likes her. The funny thing they do is put cheez whiz on the floor for her to lick up while they give her her shots so she doesn't even really notice. It's the only time she gets it so it's really a treat. Those of you with dogs will remember that kennel cough (pertussis) vaccine is given to dogs by dripping it in the nose (kind of like reverse snot). It took three techs to hold down the dog with all the moves. If only they could give cheez whiz while they did that, it would not be an issue.

Later, I went grocery shopping and saw a woman who was clearly in the midst of chemo (masked and hatted) and I considered going over and saying hi, but didn't. I heard the woman at the deli counter say something encouraging to her like, "You're going to make; I just know it!" so I wondered if she might not just be tired of all the cancer related attention. I can't decide if I would have liked a visit from some one like me or not when I started chemo. I do think it's very sweet when people come up to me and give me words of encouragement based on my bald status, but I also know that not everyone does appreciate that.

I've been reading a book about addiction and end of life issues and one of the issues I hadn't thought a whole lot about before was shame. I guess it's kind of obvious that shame plays a big part in families with addiction, but the authors of this book feel that the shame of addiction is echoed by the "shame of death" in families with addictions and a dying member. I am not sure that I see the shame of death in operation in my work and wondered if anyone else had thoughts about it. I have seen shame in doctors where patients have died that they felt shouldn't have (and, in fact, have felt it), but it's not something that I think of families with dying members having a whole lot of. What do you think?

In other pursuits, I finished Naomi Nye's book "Never in a Hurry" and really enjoyed it. I am currently lending it to Emily and next to Eva (don't think I've mentioned this to Eva yet), but it's really a delightful collection of essays about her experiences growing up in the U.S. and the West Bank as well as living in both places as an adult. When Eva is done with it, it will make a good pass around book.

For tonight, I would like to wish for wisdom for Dr. Hill tomorrow as I am seeing him for what will likely be my last treatment related visit or perhaps better considered my first remission related visit. I still don't have an appointment for a second opinion yet and am afraid that the super specialist will not find my case interesting enough to see. This puts me in a classic catch 22. I want to see him to find out if there are any things I can do to reduce my risk of recurrence, but he may only find me interesting enough to see after I have had a recurrence. For you, I will wish for wisdom in all your interactions tomorrow.

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