Seeing what happened to my parents I believe the recovery and mental health parts are as important as the physical treatments. You are not recovered until you are recovered in your mind, your emotions, and your relationships with other people even if your body is still working.
Sunday morning in the basement guest room in Baltimore. The grandkids are all deep asleep upstairs. I went to bed around 11:30 last night. My granddaughter and I were binge watching The Last Airbender series together when I started to doze off. My grandson and his best friend who was here on a sleep over were still up playing video games in the side room. My granddaughter said it would be okay if I just went to bed even if both kids were still up, her parents do it all the time. So I did just go to bed and apparently it was okay. When I woke up this morning it was all quiet - and there were no fights in the night to wake me up either.
Life is change. We've come a long way from the old days when the two old dogs were so difficult and the kids were little and needed a lot of care and supervision. Now everybody pretty much takes care of themselves and Toolips the new pup is a very easy going dog.
The grandchildren have been taking turns making supper. Last night my granddaughter made egg drop soup. It was good. Simple, but good and healthy. They are growing up fast and it's different every time I come to visit, but there are still a few lessons one can learn from Grandma. When trying a new dish perhaps one should say, "interesting" instead of "weird". Even if it's your sister that makes it. Especially when it's something like egg drop soup that is a classic that could hardly be called weird.
I'm enjoying my time with the grandkids. I'm confident enough now that we're taking the rules and routines of the schedule and I'm remaking them to suite me, while staying within the overall framework. When I'm alone with the grandkids I'm more comfortable doing it this way compared to trying to guess what their parents would do over every little daily decision.
So, while I am here the kids take turns making supper, and I do the dishes. Normally their parents make supper and they do the dishes. I think it's important to learn to cook too, and important to learn to cook for other people on a schedule and not just yourself when you feel like it. So they still do have a household chore for every meal. But it's not the exactly they way it happens when their parents are around. And I've taken to driving out to the recreation complex by the back road. I like it. I have zero interest in the Beltway, so I get them to all the pre-scheduled events, but I do it my way. The kids comment that this is not the route their parents use. I guess I am one of those ornery, do-it-my-way grandmothers, mother-in-laws after all.
Yesterday was the first day I felt free of all the cancer stuff. It was the time alone with the grandkids who don't really know enough to worry. It was time away from hospitals and their schedules. It was physical recovery from the stuff they did to me in the hospital. It finally just dropped off me yesterday.
And I had a nice strong morning, being in control, driving my grandson to soccer on my own route. Making mini-apple pies when we got home. The fun of my granddaughter coming downstairs and asking what smelled so good. "These are amazing" Nice. We all took Toolips and some of their friends to the park for a walk. My granddaughter texted pictures of the pies, and her recipe, and was in contact with her friends (and maybe tattling on me to her parents too?) all day. It was a good day.
The three of us had some laughs together yesterday. There was a funny moment driving home from the park when we all started watching this hand sticking out of the window in the car in front of us. We were right behind them in the turning lane of a four lane road. First the hand was out the window dancing, waving around to unheard music. Creative, artistic, expressive. That caught our eye. Then when our lane started up, the hand began waving 'goodbye suckers' to all the still stopped cars in the other lanes, and then just before the actual turn, the hand switched to the "queen" wave as the car left the stopped cars completely behind. I started laughing, and that started me coughing, and we barely made that left turn ourselves as the light went from yellow to red.
My granddaughter is watching the road and my driving differently now that she knows she'll be driving soon. She got a big kick out of me laughing and coughing so hard that I almost missed the turn, and actually did hit a bit of the curb with the back wheel of the car. Not the most perfect example of how to drive. But it was pretty fun, and a nice little bonding moment for the three of us.
These kids are very kind and gentle with me. I like to think that it's because I am kind and gentle with them too. I think Toolips the new pup has brought something else into their lives, because she is so timid and gentle. She's just naturally that way, all their other old dogs were dominant males, you had to stand firm with them, and they were territorial and aggressive with outsiders. That changed the tone of the household generally, all that barking. There was all this drama and excitement every time someone showed up at the door, every time a dog walked passed outside. It's calm now. I was really fond of those two old dogs, but I like this atmosphere better.
It feels good to be mentally and emotionally free of the whole cancer thing for a while. And I'm paying attention to how long it takes to recover mentally, and really also how much you have to work at it too. And what things work. It's an important part of it. Seeing what happened to my parents I believe the recovery and mental health parts are as important as the physical treatments. You are not recovered until you are recovered in your mind, your emotions, and your relationships with other people even if your body is still working.
So today. It's Sunday. My grandson's friend's grandmother is coming to get him around 3:00 this afternoon. My granddaughter has homework. And we have a haunted house to build today too. We don't have to be anywhere, go anywhere.
And then tomorrow is a full on run around day. And that's the last one. My son and daughter-in-law get back late tomorrow night. I've decided to simply rebook the bone scan. Skip the hassle of changing my tickets and paying the change fees. Keep that money for something else. Enjoy some extra time with the kids and grandkids. While I'm here. And while the world won't end if I'm away for a while longer.
That's where I'm at now.
On Friday I walked to the mall while the kids were in school. I walked there and back, and around the mall while I was there. It was a three hour walk in total, comparable one of my mountain walks back home. When I had the pedometer on my last trip here I tried it out on the nearby walks. Panera Bread is 5,000 steps. Barnes & Nobles is 10,000 steps. And J.Jill at the far end of the mall is 15,000 steps there and back.
It was a fun shopping trip for me. I don't really like shopping all that much. But it was successful shopping. I spent money, but all of it was a good deal and money well spent. And then I Face-timed with my sister from the screened in porch until nearly 3:00 pm, we had a great visit, it was just like she was there with me, hearing the Baltimore Orioles calling ‘wiener, wiener’ in the back ground, and laughing along with me because they answer back if I call out ‘wiener, wiener’ to them, keeping me company and chatting away about knitting projects, and shopping, and family life. It was a good distraction. It was good to laugh. And then it was time to start up the whole run around and pick up kids from school and take them to their after school programs routine. And laugh with them too.
I'm still sick. I cough like crazy and I can feel that it's thick bad phlegm at the top of my lungs that's rolling around there. Yuck. Stage two of this cold. I don't want this stage to last too long because that's when it turns into bronchitis. And I remember that you don't want to take cough suppressants anymore than is absolutely necessary, because then you don't cough enough to clear your poor lungs and that's how I got my first bout of bronchitis. I was part of a medical trial in Calgary with that one. And then I got bronchitis again when I lived in Iqaluit on Baffin Island in the Arctic. It was winter. The doctor said it was bronchitis, but he wasn't going to treat me because at that time of year you didn't know if the planes would be able to get in and there was a chance of running out of medical supplies. So, they save the antibiotics for the 90 year old ladies with full on pneumonia and don't treat middle-aged healthy women in the prime of their lives. Go home, rest, do the best you can, and if you are worse in six weeks come see me again.
It feels good to have my usual, coffee, read the papers, write for a while routine start to the day. Now I'm ready have a shower, and gradually enjoy this lovely early fall day here in Baltimore. Life is good. Loving my time here with the grandkids! And the pets.
Leeloo and I are having some special bonding. I really love having at cat in my life, sitting on my lap, purring, just hanging out independently the way that cats do. Nice.
Dispatched: Sept 30