Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.

He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.

Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."

I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.

I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."

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Monday, June 1, 2009

The Tender, Loving Care Cure

X woke up early this morning, at 4:15 am, with a nasty, croup cough that wouldn’t let him sleep.
Since he had crawled into bed with us, he wasn’t really letting us sleep either, so when he asked for a bath in the early morning I rolled out of bed easily with him and talked him into a shower.
Croup, or just about any middle of the night waking cough in a child, could call for steam, but the only way I was getting a sick six year old into a shower instead of the nice, cozy bath he was hoping for was by hoping with in him.
Awww, it brings back memories.
I remember him being just an infant with a cough I didn’t like and laying him over my chest in the shower to ease the hacking.
Really, naively, I thought those middle of the night or early wakeup calls for some special mom TLC stopped.
They don’t. Or at least they don’t by six.
My guess is, or I guess my hope is, that at 35 years old he still wants to call his mom if he is really sick.
I am not talking about a little sniffle and cough sick. That would be pathological, but I think it is a sign of a normal, healthy, nurtured relationship if you just really want a parent to hold and comfort you when you are not feeling well.
It is a sign it is safe to regress and go back to that place you had as a child where your parents could fix everything and life would be all better if they just took care of you.
I know I still go back to that place sometimes, more often than I would really like to due to my health status, but hey, I’m one of the lucky ones.
I have parents that I can run to even though I am over the ripe old limit of 18 years old.
I didn’t get ousted on my ass because I met some arbitraury guideline.
Don’t get me wrong, standards at 18 years old did change.
My parents made it clear that I was living under their roof because they welcomed me there due to my good behavior. If I followed the guidelines and achieved what was expected, I would have a nice comfortable place to live through the rest of high school and college.
If I didn’t, well, it was out on my ass into the real world.
No mooches allowed after the age of eighteen, especially young, healthy able-bodied teens.
There was also no disrespecting the rules. Before, if the rules were broken, my parents felt obligated by their values to keep us in the house until we were of legal age, but any out right, drastic disrespect, it was out on your ass.
Go buy a tent.
I was lucky to have this structure.
My father did live in a tent, right after he graduated high school.
This is all well and good, except he graduated high school at 16 years old.
That didn’t really matter, he lived in a small farm house with twelve other brothers and sisters. That was too many mouths to feed to keep one that had graduated from schooling.
He moved out into a tent and showered and bathed at the family “pit.”
This is what he says. I have doubts that he really showered at all, but my mom was dating him then, I can’t imagine she would have gotten to close to his stench without a good scrubbing, especially after working his excavating job and playing soccer.
That, my friends, is how good old Vic made it through college at Keene State and into his big house with lots of property in rural NH.
That is who I was raised by and how I came to be, and lucky me, when I am sick and need help my parents still allow me back around.
I’ve always been taken care of, but I have paid some dues for my mistakes.
I made it through college paying essentially nothing. Hooray for Hillary and some good, intuitive scrounging for money and a school-hour friendly job that paid decent (Hello, tutoring).
Now, in this period of relative health that I hope to maintain for a while, I get to go back to doing mommy things.
You never stop, no matter how sick you are, no matter how much you need the sleep yourself, no matter how many times or how many doctors, NP, nurses, social workers etc., have told you that taking care of a sick child would put your life at risk, there is nothing that stops the maternal instinct to take care of your child when they are sick.
Not even cancer.Not mine anyway.
During the periods immediately post transplant when I have returned home, I have gotten out of bed in the middle of the night, grumbling, aching, irritated and in pain since X was crying and saying his ear/throat/stomach hurt.
Unless I was unconscious from whatever nightly cocktail and I had swallowed a did not hear the entire episode, the routine would be the same: I would get out of bed, snuggle X, and put him in the bath (baths make everything better, right?). I would sit on the toilet and rest my head on the wall and drift off, lay on the floor on the bath mat, or crawl back into bed and lull into a semi-sleep as he got older, always keeping on eye open to make sure he was feeling better.
When his bath has done its trick, I swaddle him in his towel, wrap him up and hug him before he gets back in his undies to crawl into our bed, between Jon and I, his parents, which I remembering being the best place to be when I was six and sick.
He fell back to sleep at 5:15 this morning, but a shower that early screams to my body that my daily routine has started and it is time to wake up, get on some clothes, and roast the coffee.
At least this morning, that coffee is freshly ground, organic monteverde coffee straight from Green Mountain Coffee’s plantation in Costa Rica (Thank you, Patrick, my brother, who just returned from an internship their in sustainable engineering).
I think it’s going to be an okay day, even for a Monday.


Daria said...

Love the cartoon ...

I too was raised with strict guidelines ... I could hardly wait to get out the door at 18.

TitansFan said...

I always think about how my ma when I'm sick. I never call though. Maybe I'll start. Taking a Steam Shower helps soo much when I get upper respiratory phlegm. Seems to break it up better than Mucinex. Yeah, from now on I'm gonna call my mom when I get sick. She'll feel needed, for advice at least. Thanks for the good post!

Anonymous said...

You are a hoot Hill ... I too was raised with rules that were not to be broken. A parent's job is to build fences ... a child's job is to escape those fences. ;o)

But as you point out, it is sometimes comforting to come home to that security.

Hope you are well & that you don't catch that cough.

Take care ... be strong ... good luck with the garden ... & love the Blog.