Sunday, January 31, 2016

#SOL16: A Downward Spiral

House by the Tracks (M.A. Reilly, 2009)

Hospitals are curious places on the weekends. They resemble small cities where most of the inhabitants have left on some summer holiday, some winter jaunt and those few remaining are left to rattle around in a too large place waiting for Monday to arrive. Skeletal crews keep the drugs coming and patients are handed off to partners and residents who arrive at dawn to check in with those who remain.

And still no Godot arrives.

It's late day and across the hospital hall a man exits a room and our eyes meet, then quickly look away, each knowing the knowledge we now have is specific, limited to those who love others who are battling cancer.  To see this in another's eyes is to know an uncomfortable truth. All day Rob has been sleeping off and on. The last bit of afternoon sun, falls across the back of Devon's neck. We are quiet.

Yesterday we learned that the cat scan showed three more spots of cancer in Rob's body whose presence helps to explain the terrible increase in abdominal pain he has been feeling.  Pain so great that being doped is preferable, until being doped becomes another problem that families must attend to. The blood tests confirm another staph infection. This staph is highly responsive to antibiotics, unlike the last two he has had. All of these infections have come at the hands of health providers.

Some days I imagine how different our lives might be if Rob did not have the port put in on the 14th of September--the infected port that starts this downward spiral moving.

I I.

As we enter the sixth month post-cancer diagnosis, I find myself still being momentarily jolted from a fantasy. In this dream, I imagine living like we did: taking a walk together, planning small holidays, doing something impulsive, laughing at a movie, making detailed plans about work, talking with our son about his aspirations, staying up all night and talking, making a meal in our kitchen.

Simple things we no longer can do.


  1. You write so movingly and eloquently about this terrible time your family is experiencing, and i hope your sharing it with us can be of some help.

  2. None of us is immune from potentially experiencing what you are writing about. Your words give each of us a hope of understanding that eventuality better, more deeply, than we would have without them. It is a great gift, but not an easy one to give, or to accept. Your bravery is undeniable.

    1. Thank you Nancy. I don't feel very brave these days.

  3. Oh Mary Ann this speaks to me more than you can imagine. I am holding you in my arms in a virtual hug.