Thursday, July 1, 2010

July 1, 2010

The drive takes us first past an alpaca farm and we look everyday to see how many are there and if they have recently received a haircut. We wonder about the people in the house and how much of their lives are taken up by the care for the alpacas. We wonder if we’ll see them at the County or State Fair were we to go to these events. Not this year – maybe next year.
Several miles down the road, over a railroad track and pass an obscure little bar in the middle of nowhere, we pass by a typical Wisconsin farm. Grain silos, red barn, and black and white speckled cows in the field. The smell of manure seems to always catch us and there really is no way to avoid it. You can almost see it looking down the road waiting for someone to pass by. Each time, dad and I will reminisce about the days on the ranch in Montana and how that smell is not necessarily as vile to some of us as it may be to so many other people.
The hills roll back and forth during our journey and we pass by young corn stretching it’s neck towards the heavens as if competing with one another to see who can get there first – totally unaware of their impending doom. Corn on the east side of the road and soy beans nestled closely to the ground on the west side of the road.
There’s another farm, and then another, then a small sub-division where a farm once stood, it’s old barn half fallen in the middle of the field as if telling us that this is the place to live for that old Wisconsin farm feeling…we don’t buy it but it sure makes for a pretty pictures. One of the farms has an old car in the driveway and every day Dad mentions it and points it out to all of us. We wonder what type it is but it comes and goes so fast that we just don’t know. Perhaps one day we’ll remember to pull over and look at it but we never seem to remember that in time.
We all wave at the veterinary’s office where Maxwell used to go for his checkups and his occasional overnight stays. His presence is still felt even though he’s been gone for awhile now.
As we approach the town of Brookfield we are welcomed by the grand master of commerce – the big cheese of merchandising – the royal highness of retail – Wal-Mart. It appears on the horizon as we round the bend with its parking lot always full, people coming and going with bags of this and that and no doubt lots of things that will never be used again.
We take a detour around the small Waukesha airport. One day we rounded the bend just as a small private jet came in for a landing. It went right over our car and we swear we could have reached out and touched the bottom of it. How lucky we were that day to be right there at that spot. It’s not a very busy airport. Perhaps we should have bought a lottery ticket that day.
We snake our way through the neighborhoods, past the elementary school and that cute house that’s been for sale forever – take a left then the next right and there is the hospital. We find parking close to the doors thanks to the handicapped parking placard we have. We tried parking far away one day for exercise but quickly realized that the sun combined with even a small amount of walking is not a good combination when you are going through what mom’s going through. So we park close.
The welcome desk greets us with a smile and a cheery, “good morning” as we walk past it to the elevators. Going down, please. We go down one level and walk through the doors of oncology, right past physical therapy and the prostate labs which always makes Dad and I just a tad bit leery. As if someone’s going to jump out and scream, “it’s your turn!!”.
The receptionist in oncology always has a smile and if mom looks down or just not right she will always take the time to ask what’s wrong. Then she’ll make a call to let the team know how she’s feeling today.
Paul is an amazing person. Paul stands at least 6, 2”. A gentle giant. A man you don’t want to get in a fight with but as calm, gentle, and caring as they come. Mom feels tremendously safe in his care and we know he’s watching mom the entire time. He comes to the waiting room and grabs mom by the hand and we watch as they walk down the hall. Dad and I look through magazines or watch the fish. We have our conversations, many of them repeats from the day before but conversation nonetheless.
She lays on the table with the assistance of Paul and his team. A small head rest and a triangle shaped slab of foam go under her knees. They loop a small, round, blue piece of steel and rubber around her feet and hands. This helps keep her perfectly still for the radiation. A rubber mouth guard goes in to protect her teeth and gums from the radiation. Then the mask. A plastic, mesh shaped like her head, is locked down in to place. Movement is impossible and mom works very hard to fend off claustrophobia.
The room is cleared of all staff members and Paul takes his place with everyone else in a control room watching mom. Paul never takes an eye off of mom. Three cameras capture her from different angles and he can see the slightest finger wave. They have a system set up should she feel anxious or feels a cough coming on. Meanwhile, dad enjoys his daily graham cracker and cup of coffee in the waiting room. I look through magazines to distract my mind from all the things happening – mom’s treatments and dad’s mind.
Fifteen minutes later mom walks out, takes dad’s hand and together we retrace the steps we took just twenty minutes earlier. Past physical therapy, past the “butt doctor” as my mom likes to call them, in the elevator and up to reception. A stop at the restroom doesn’t make the trip complete.
When we get home its feeding time again for everyone – mom first while dad makes a lunch for himself. I’ll get something, sometime…not sure what or when. In my own time.
Tomorrow this story will rewind and start playing again. We’ll have the weekend off and since Monday is a holiday, mom will have 3 days off of treatments. Which is nice but it also sets us back a day. The routine goes on – I think I’ll make cookies this weekend.


Anonymous said...

i want cookies lol love u all cu soon

terri said...

Is gonna shine even when others expect me to fail. I am gonna survive just about anything life throws my way. I may crack, but I will never break!!!
this is for u mom I love you so much