Friday, 20 January 2012

The Angry Carer

Scared? In shadow? You bet.
A few months ago, Christine gave me the book Grace and Grit to read. The author, she said, is quite the philosopher. "Good", I thought, this will do me the power of good; a man describing the joint journey of a couple going through cancer. The ups and downs, the coping, the dealing, the however-many-stages-of-grief. This, I thought, will be good.

I read a little; I thought a little. I read a little more; thought a little more. Read more, thought more. Then I read some more, and stopped. It turns out that my journey is very different from his, Christine's from Treya's. It irritated me, he irritated me, and I finally decided that this was a book I would gladly burn pop in the yard sale box.

There is, of course, a reason. I am not Ken Wilber. I'm a little angrier than he; coarser, more...vulgar. I dislike bullshit and I declare that "it's not fair!" because deep down inside I still have the little boy who wants and expects the world to be a just and honest place, where there are no monsters hiding under the bed.

There are monsters, among them is cancer. And yes, it's unreasonable for me to be angry and hurt and wounded by this seven-year process, because after all, I came to the US to support for and be a carer to Christine. She was diagnosed two months after we were engaged, I flew out from England to be with her. So some might argue (and have!) that I made the bed, I have to lie in it. 

It's true, I do have to lie in the bed of my making, but by Golly, if I can't sleep I will get grouchy, and right now, that is where I'm at, sadly. 

Christine is back in chemotherapy, and chemo is not a Good Thing to have. There are so many "maybes" in treatment of cancer (this one has a 35% response rate), and to add injury to insult, chemo adds nausea, fatigue and bullshit to the pain, fear, uncertainty and grief. It make me angry that she has to have 24-hour pain medication and anti-nausea drugs (patches, not IV, not yet). It ticks me off that there's a huge basket'o'drugs that adorns the breakfast table (not the basket itself, rather the necessity).

I get unreasonably angry when, half an hour after a meagre breakfast, she has to throw up, losing some of the priceless meds she took minutes earlier. I get sad and fearful as I watch her appetite ebb and the weight fall off her. I look at her sometimes and weep, because I already miss her.


Red Paw said...

sorry, sorry, sorry.

Want to go have a paintball war when I get down there?

sam said...

Made your bed?... and you must lie in it? No, we try to make our beds and maybe, with a bit of luck, succeed at tucking in a corner, maybe. But Kevin's bed was made for him by an indifferent and mindless trajectory which has us all entwined and ensnared and makes all our beds. Some with down and comfort and some with hard-board and cold ache. And the true part of that old saying is lying in it-- that we must do and best it is to choose to do so and lie down willfully and straighten the sheet and fluff the pillow (if pillow there be) as best we can. Kevin's best is powerful and yet he can do only so much with the spare materials bequeathed to him. His anger and his tears are as a river constrained to a tortuous bed, mighty but required to follow a path. Still, his river can eke at the banks and shift the sediments in sometimes small and sometimes larger ways. And always he must flow on, anger and all.

Kevin's anger and Chris' hurt are Sam's woe and grief. He twists his fingers, his mind wanders, seeking spells of solace. And none come. His tears and sadness accomplish no thing. Caroline cries; she is bereft. We all simply wait, alone in our hurt, unique to each of us. We twist in our own trajectories, knowing little but knowing some of whither we wend. And in the knowing lies the hurt.

Love to you all; I say know that you are all loved, each by the other and by all the others. And we will all care for the others among us and do what must be done. And cry over what cannot be done.

May there be ultimate peace... and contentment... and some joy, too. Let us revel in small joys.