Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Cancer: The Fog of War

Chemo-Head is not the name of a super hero, either intentionally- or ironically-named. It’s the condition one develops from having your body go from a regimen of no pharmaceutical drugs in your body to weekly bags of poison designed to target and kill aberrant cells in your body, chased with a handful of daily drugs to keep you from throwing up the poison, and ending with drugs to offset those drugs. That shit messes with your head, and renders you largely insensible. This is made all the worse if your default setting was “Slighty Goofy” to begin with.

I am one of those people that, if you tell me your nose itches, I’ll scratch mine. When I live with you, we sync up. And if I’m married to you, well, your problems become my problems. They tell cancer patients to avoid driving and operating heavy machinery, but what about the spouses?

I am walking around like a corn-fed moron, trying to figure out what happened to my pants and my shoes, and Cathy’s in the bedroom going, “She’s not in the Marines, but she may have been in the Navy,” and that cuts right across my bow, because (A) I didn’t know I was having a conversation with Cathy, and (B) I have no idea what my role in the conversation is.

So I say, from the other room, “What’s that? Do you need help?”

And she replies, “Noooo.”

I say, “Then who’s in the Navy?”


“Who’s in the Navy? ‘She’s not in the marines?’”

Cathy comes tottering out of the bedroom. “What are you saying to me?”

I stop looking for my shoes. “I thought you were talking to me?”

“I wasn’t talking to you.”

I throw up my hands. “Then who were you talking to? The dog?”

Cathy hears the tone in my voice and is now on the defensive. “I might have been.”

“About joining the Navy?” I’m not even attempting to be understanding. I just want to get out of this conversation.

“Well, I don’t know. If she wants to join, we’re not going to hold her back!” Cathy snaps.

I throw up my hands in surrender. “Okay, never mind, I’m sorry. She can sign up if she wants to.”

“And do what? Sniff bombs? Why would you send our precious baby off to war?” Cathy asks, and then she stops and looks me up and down and says, “Do you need help finding your pants? We’ve got to go or we’ll be late.”

This is who we are, now. Two confused, shambling people that meander around the house. She’s groaning with each third step and I walk into every room and ask myself, “Okay, what did I come in here for?” We have conversations with ourselves because we don’t understand what the other person is saying.

Ten Weeks to go. This part of the treatment can’t be over soon enough.

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