Thursday, June 24, 2010

#199: Freezing in the Oven

Today we had a brief bout of barfing, followed by a long rest. Our friend V came to visit. He is a lovely man, an author and teacher who moved to New York many years ago with his sweetheart. We met here in Kentucky. The visit was pleasant. A chance to tell the story again. The shave. The lump. The surgery. He told us of his adventures educating the children of the well to do on the Upper East Side. We laughed hard and loved deeply. I started feeling kind of puny after a while, and excused myself. V and Mrs P visited a while longer while I napped, then he went back to his brother's house.

In my dream, I was in a hotel room, working busily on a computer of some kind. I say of some kind because the thing was obviously an amenity of the hotel. It was shrouded in a steel box with flimsy cables poking out the back. It was actually a pretty amazing piece of anti-theft equipment. As I worked, I noticed that my own computer, (one I have never owned, by the way,) was sitting next to the room computer. I thought I could disconnect the monitor from the hotel's CPU, connect it to mine, and have two monitors. This is a particular fetish of mine and a luxury I have loved on the few occasions it has been possible. I was on my belly, puzzling over how to disconnect the shrouded cable connections when I started shivering.

I was awake with a start. The dream was over. I was in my running shorts and a tee shirt and I was freezing. It was 85 degrees outside, couldn't have been less than 78 in my room. I was in agony. I jumped under the sheet and called for Mrs P desperately. Alarmed, she started piling blankets on top of me. On when Mum's crazy crocheted hat. More blankets. Finally, I begged her to turn off the air and open the windows of our bedroom. That did the trick. The hot summer air rushed over my face, though my arms and legs were still chilled under the covers. She prepared a tube feeding for me and gently squeezed me full of vanilla calories. When I felt up to it, I made my way to the back porch and sat in the shade for a while, soaking up the heat as fast as God could dish it out. The Lord taketh away and the Lord giveth. Blessed be the name, I guess.

Finally, I decided to go for a walk in the sun. Mrs P bought me an enormous straw hat at the store today and I pulled on my blue jeans, donned by plantation owner's chapeau, and took my afternoon constitutional around the long block on which our house sits.

This is farther than I've walked before by more than twice. By a strange accident of city planning, our subdivision sits in a sort of pie shaped plot between three major roads. Our block is on the point of that pie piece, and I walked the whole thing. I don't know how long it took me, but by the time I got home, I was soaked with sweat. I shut the windows, turned on the air, and flopped back down on top of the covers so as not to soak my sheets. The chill had passed.

It is a strange feeling when your body runs away from you like that. Not helpless, exactly. More like puzzled. Where in the world did this come from? It is the second time I've experienced it, and it always follows one of those retching trips to the bathroom.

After I recovered, I sort of stared off out the window, bewildered. The phone rang and it was Dee, my oncology nurse. She calls every now and then, just to see how I'm doing. I can't tell you how much comfort I draw from these calls. I told her about my spell and she seemed unperturbed by it. This made me feel a lot better. I would hate it if I described anything to her that took her by surprise. Much better to have normal reactions in this most abnormal of circumstances.

Mom called. She had read my last post, shaking my fist at God. I expected her to be wondering if I had been struck by lightening or lost my mind. Instead she was deeply concerned to learn what the doctor had said about Mo's trip to the vet. Mrs P filled her in on the details. I was grateful for the chance not to be the center of the universe for a while.



  1. "It is a strange feeling when your body runs away with you like that..."

    If you need to talk to someone who can sympathize with that, just find a menopausal woman :)

    (Well, minus the whole retching thing.)

    In other news, glad not to hear/read you claiming that you deserve this. No one does.

  2. Jennifer, some smart person once said, thank God none of us gets what we deserve. It's the best definition of "grace" that I know...


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