September 9, 2008 (second post of the day)
I don't know whether I will have time to post in the morning or not. Tomorrow morning I have to leave Houston again before the sun comes up to make it back to the Microplex to teach.
We stumbled through today with some ups and downs. Ted (Foote), Carlos (Blanton), and Ernie (Wright) all stopped by for visits and helped us break up the day. Erin demonstrated the plasma car to Ted, chatted politely with Carlos, and won a big stack of candy from Ernie playing poker. Walter made sure we had the best items to eat at every meal, and the nurses kept on schedule. We also continued to get patient greetings at a prodigious rate, and chuckled and gaffawed our way through junior high and pet stories. Then there was mouth care.
One of Erin's 48-hour chemos is notorious for causing mouth soars, so she's supposed to swish and spit mouth rinse. She immediately rejected the hem-onc rinse, because it "tastes too much like the ocean." Walter ran to the pharmacy and came back with two other options: one minty, the other fruity. Then the drama started up. Tears, flat refusals, pleading for a reprieve. Erin didn't want to practice mouth hygiene for all the bribes I could muster. We stood in the bathroom, like the northbound zax meeting the southbound zax somewhere in the middle of the Prairie of Prax, each refusing to yield.
I described the pain of mouth sores, and the consequences of them getting infected by a dirty mouth. No dice.
I drew targets on the bathroom mirror with markers (some even had dollar values assigned instead of points), and told her she could practice her spitting for fun and profit. No dice.
I offered to gargle twice the amount she had to gargle for twice as long.
Finally, I wore her down (once). I haven't started working on this evening's strategy yet.
The week-long hospital stay has worn out its welcome. Erin can hardly wait to get back to Luke, Uma, Willie, the Molten Lump (aka Teddy, so called because she likes to sit on or near her people and radiate heat until everyone's aglow). We all have frayed ends and have begun exhibiting some snippy behavior. We will take a collective deep breath (our only option in the absence of recreational drugs) and make it through the next nineteen hours. Then we will all heave a sigh of relief and return to the lovefest which is our norm.