Several times this weekend, I have sat down to write a long-overdue email to one friend or another. I’ve gotten as far as typing “Hi (friend’s name)” and staring blankly at the screen for five minutes before giving up. Were I to keep typing, I’d probably produce something like: “Nice hear from you. Still lots hospital. Work good. Kids! So…your life?”
So, if you’ve written me an email in the past week or so, and I haven’t written back, count yourself lucky.
Still Lots Hospital
This week, I worked until 4 or 4:30 every day, went home, made dinner if it was a dinner-makin’ day, went to the hospital, and stayed there until around 9. It’s been tiring, to say the least (hence the cavewoman-style epistle above). I spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights there, which I think contributed to the migraine that knocked me on my ass for several hours this morning. I’m honestly not certain how sustainable this schedule is. Then again, I’m not certain how long we’ll have to sustain it. Tomorrow is the last day of this round of chemo, and soon we should have some home days again.
A friend of mine recently pointed me towards Young Cancer Spouses, a website by and for…well, exactly who it sounds like. Lots of resources for people with cancer and their caregivers (including much of what the hospital has been able to give us) are meant for an audience of much older adults. While there’s some comfort in the knowledge that I’m not alone, for the most part this website is depressing as hell. Especially…hold on a minute.
Honey, if you’re reading this, STOP READING NOW. You can keep reading after the next bold text. Love you!
Especially the number of widow/ers who post on the site and in the forums. I mean, shit. The founding director’s husband died, at 28, of Burkitt’s lymphoma (that’s what Faramir has. Don’t Google it unless you’re ready for some unsettling pictures). That’s not the kind of thing I need to hear about.
However, the site has definitely made me realize how lucky we are. We’re lucky that we happened to live in the same town as an excellent cancer hospital with a very liberal and patient-centered approach to pain management. We’re lucky that I’ve never been asked to leave his hospital room (except when he’s getting an X-ray, and that’s only so I don’t get exposed to unnecessary radiation); there are no restrictions on visiting hours, and no one cares whether or not we’re married. We’re even lucky that so much of Faramir’s treatment has been inpatient chemotherapy, as opposed to outpatient. As lonely as we’ve both been at times over the past several weeks, he’s so much better off where he can be taken care of 24 hours a day.
I guess my point is…um…cancer is depressing? But it can be even more depressing?
Setting up a new classroom, in a new school, with a new co-teacher, is kind of like moving into someone else’s house. Everything already has a place and a function, and it’s very hard to clean because you can’t tell the garbage from the heirlooms.
Okay. In between that last sentence and this one, I’ve gone to Safeway, cooked dinner, eaten dinner with Faramir at the hospital, and then come home. I’m tired and almost out of words. I don’t actually have all that much to say about my new job. I like it. The faculty and staff seem like a joyful, generous community who are thrilled to have me on board. We spent this week setting up the classroom, cleaning stuff, and meeting several of our new students. Which brings me to my next clever topic heading…
This is going to be a really interesting year for me, because my students? Are not developmentally delayed. The difference is more than just the fact that they initiate interaction and cooperative play without a lot of adult facilitation, although that’s pretty amazing. The levels of self-awareness, self-regulation, and yes, cognition that I’ve seen in just a few brief classroom visits have blown me away. Seeing a four-year-old enter an unfamiliar room, visually scan the shelves, select an activity that interested him, and figure out how to use it–with almost no adult intervention–was incredible to me. Over the past four years in special education, I’ve spent hours of painstaking labor designing and implementing interventions to get children to do things that many typically developing children appear to just…do.
This is not to say that these children won’t have challenges. I think my challenge is going to be keeping up with them.
Hey, look at all these words I managed to string together! I will try not to let an entire week pass between now and my next update.