Multiple Myeloma

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

On the plane, a tall, angular black woman makes her way down the aisle. Her knobbed elbows form a sharp bracket around her body. Two hats are stacked atop her dreadlocked hair, and small thick-framed glasses perch above a small gold nose ring. A loose scarf is wrapped around her shoulders. I imagine her to be a voodoo woman, and myself falling to my knees to beg her to help my father. She arrives at my aisle and asks if the seat next to me is hers ("is that 5A?") of course, it is. She removes the hats and the magic is gone, we are just strangers flying toward our separate futures.


Dad is sitting up in his chair and out of it. He got a "level 4" dose of morphine this morning for the pain. He looks out the window at the clouds and sees a dragon. I'm not sure whether to be glad or not, when I see it too (I am).


Up the hall a high sound comes... "Oh, the insane laughter again," Dad says, "at least, I hope it's laughter...". But I've registered the sound; someone is sobbing, their voice carrying a broken heart out to the world in progressively louder and more violent high-pitched sobs. The 8th floor is full of pain, sorrow, and death. Oncology, floor 8.


"It's amazing how life gets broken down into little pieces sometimes." "How so?" "Oh, you know, here I am in my chair, looking out the window, worried about my back pain and all the little things, things that nobody else gives a damn about."


My father's bed faces a large window, but the view from the bed is back toward the other parts of the hospital. Looking out you see the center part of the building that has the big "Methodist Hospital" sign. It is the window without a view. Each day we move him to the recliner, where he can look out and see the sky. I worked late tonight, and arrive at the hospital at just before 7. Dad is so tired, his eyes blink closed every few minutes, and I can see that it's been another long, hard day. I ask Han (his wife) if he's done all of his shoulder work, the exercises prescribed by the physical therapist to happen three times a day. "Two times," she says. He has to do one more round, five types of exercises. He does the first three types and rests, drifting out. A few minutes go by and I convince him we must do the hardest ones - a movement where I support his arm and raise it up. This is the most painful, and the more he tries to use his muscles the more it hurts - he is supposed to relax his arm completely. It is a challenge; he always wants to be in control and is terrified we will let his arm drop and cause excruciating pain. This time he is so tired, his arm is heavy but I can still feel his muscles competing to carry the weight. I remind him again to relax: "Move your head from side to side, relax your neck." "Let your shoulders drop." He does a bit.

I see the pain etched on his face, so I try to distract him. "The clouds were amazing today. They were the big puffy rain clouds, you know the kind? The edges were so sharp they looked like they had been drawn up in the sky. It was so beautiful - the tops were lit up from the sun, the bottoms gray and heavy with rain, and in between it was this incredible peach color." My heart breaks as his eyes flutter open and he lifts his head, looking out to try to see them through the window without a view.


My Humble Domicile - by Templates para novo blogger