Within 24 hours of having the chest tube removed Jacqueline is improving by leaps and bounds. That must have been such a source of pain!! A complete lap of the cardiac ward this morning with physical therapy was a major milestone. A couple of hours later she was ready to try it again and Kimberly and I were more than happy to accompany her. Turning the corner, we met a little old man pushing his IV pole in the opposite direction who began a conversation that made me think of inmates; “How long until you get out?” “What are you in for?” He lives four or five hours away and has been here for three weeks waiting to get on a list for a heart transplant… then he looked at me and said, “And I am just your age!” Uhhhh – I figured I wasn’t looking my best… but a little old lady? Turns out he is only 55- guess he wasn’t looking his best either – but, uh, he still has me by 9 years. Jackie had a good chuckle about that one. This isn’t really a good thing — chuckling hurts! Things improved as we were leaving and her nurse expressed the right amount of surprise that we had six children (and mom is so young).
I have been thinking, though, of the changes that cancer has brought to our lives. I know that I am not the same person I used to be. Here is a simple example that has teased me all week.
A friend brought us dinner a week ago and we began to discuss her upcoming vacation to Illinois. We laughed as the kids and I recalled our own trip to Illinois about 9 years ago. Eight of us in a minivan hitting every major landmark between home and St. Louis. We saw Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, Laura Ingalls sites, St. Louis, Nauvoo and then headed back west seeing every Church history site we could think of. We were in the car for two weeks and we only ate out three times (once after the steam train left us off in the Black Hills for a few hours, once for Greg’s birthday, and once about an hour from home). I took our crock pot and frozen roasts, etc. and then made sure we stayed two nights in cabins and in places with kitchenettes. Now I laugh, just wondering how I ever planned and pulled that off… the summer after Greg’s chemo treatments I couldn’t even imagine booking a hotel for the family. We splurged and went on an Alaskan Cruise just to be alone for a week and not have to think about any meals at all.
I loved both vacations!