Sunday, August 22, 2010

D Day Minus 180 (September 10, 2009): Oz (Part 6): Toto Must Die

I was dead tired after spending over twelve hours with you in Oz. And I couldn’t fall asleep. I even listened to three of Kelly Howell’s meditations – The Living Prayer; Faith; and Healing.  Nothing worked.  Maybe it was all the caffeine from Diet Coke and Mountain Dew.  Or maybe, it was fear.  Fear of finally knowing. Did the chemo work or not?

Don’t you think it’s ironic?  I’d spent the last three weeks rainmanning “whether the chemo worked.” It went on every day and all day – during meetings at work, talking to Morgan and Aunt Janiene on the phone, talking to Dad talked about his day, doing dishes, listening to random people yammer, driving my hand-me down Miata, and working on stuff at my job.  It only stopped, when I was with you. Now I was just scared – maybe the Wizard wouldn’t have any answers. Or we’d hate them. Then what? No ruby slippers would get us out of this pickle. 

I used my iPod for a night light to make sure you were still there – and breathing.  I was extra careful not to wake you.  I only wanted to see your face, like I did when you were my baby with fire engine red curls.  You were too little to remember.  I’d check to make sure were breathing and end up waking you up.   Dad would get mad, because it took so long to get you to sleep. And we worked crazy hours in the Navy.  Sleep was not an option a lot of the time.  So, don’t get mad at Dad either.  We were both tired and figuring out how to be parents. 

You were sprawled out on the bed with your feet dangling out the end.  I thought about how your feet needed to breathe so the sheets had to be untucked.  It was one of your golden rules.  You didn’t want your feet to get all claustrophobic.  I smiled, then frowned.  It hit me, like the Dorothy’s house hit the Wicked Witch of the East.  You found out you had cancer, the same age I found out I was having you.  Funny where you mind goes in the still of the night. 

Thoughts of CTs, blood draws, MRIs, yellow brick roads, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and Oz were punctuated by flushing toilets and running water from the other hotel rooms.  I folded my arms under my head and laid flat on my back.  Then it was my side. Then I hugged the pillow. Then I pushed the pillow away and did the whole sequence on the other side. Then I had to get up and pee and add to the symphony of running water and flushing toilets.  Then I had to drink some water.  I made sure not to crinkle the plastic water bottle, by drinking so hard, like I usually did.  I tried to be quiet.  Really!  I checked to make sure you didn’t move just to be sure.  I even forced myself not to check email because the tapping of the keyboard would always wake you.  After all that I went back to bed and stared at the ceiling and tried not to listen to some men talking in the courtyard below.

And I still couldn’t sleep. I covered my head with the blanket so you wouldn’t be bothered by the iPod light.  I searched for an audio book to listen to, but stopped. Now that stupid dog Toto wouldn’t leave my thoughts alone. Damn yapper dog nipping at my brain.  You know, I think Toto is the cancer.  If Toto would have behaved, then the mean old lady wouldn’t have taken him.  Then Dorothy wouldn’t have had to leave the house during a tornado to save him. She would have been safe in the shelter with her family.  Damn, damn, damn Toto.  I know they had to tell a story, but that damn Toto wreaked a lot of havoc.  This is what I think.  Just so you know.  Toto must die.

You know how I don’t like to think mean thoughts.  That’s why I forced myself to think of at least ten things to be thankful for just so we’d have some good juju.
  1. I was here with you.  Even if the days are long, I wouldn’t want to be any other place in the world.
  2. You could eat breakfast in the morning at the Hotel.  You’ll get to eat the waffles shaped like Texas like you did last March with Dad.
  3. We got to sleep in until 7:00 in the morning. 
  4. Your appointment with Dr. P was at 9:30, so we had plenty of buffer to get back to Bush International since our flight didn’t leave until 5:00. 
  5. We flew Continental and could change our flight if we had to.
  6. MD Anderson is world class and is the best place for cancer.  We were doing all we could.
  7. Dad, Morgan, Katie, and Aunt Janiene - even though she can be a chihuahua.
  8. You had your own insurance and didn’t need to worry if your soon-to-be-ex continued coverage.
  9. You had Wegmans support and I had my customer’s support.   Both our jobs were flexible and the people cared about us.
  10. You knew how much I loved you.  And I knew how much you loved me.  It didn’t matter if we got on each other nerves.  We knew, we were only annoyed with each other because we weren’t keeping up with ourselves.
  11. I was here with you.
  12. I was here with you.
  13. I was here with you
  14. I was here with you.
I rolled over and checked the alarm clock on the night stand between us.  It  was 11:59. When we see the Wizard tomorrow.  I’m going to tell him, “Toto must die.” Really!

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