Everyone wants to know how Michael is doing, and the only answer I have is a resounding “I don’t know.”
I watch him like a hawk, looking for any sign of improvement or decline. Promising signs include the fact that his color has remained good since he came home from the hospital a few days ago (it’s no longer the pale, ashen look he had before they topped him off with three units of blood), and he no longer seems to be running any kind of fever, even the low-grade variety. Discouraging signs include the fact that he’s still got a nasty, rattly cough, and he’s still draggy and tired. It’s true that he hasn’t missed a single one of the kids’ Little League games, and he can even be spotted out on the field during games, but if you watch a little longer, you might also see him lying down on the bench in the dugout between innings.
I’m not sure what we should be expecting in terms of recovery here. I’ve stopped looking for a noticeable turnaround and figure at this point that it’s going to be very slow and gradual. Any improvement does seem so incremental at this point that I’m not even sure what’s real and what’s imagined. It’s frustrating and disheartening, and it’s difficult to see a light at the end of the tunnel right now. It feels on some level that we’ve been taken back to chemo days.
Everyone is stressed out and emotionally impacted. Daisy seems to have been hit the hardest, swinging back and forth between snotty and bratty, and tearful and clingy. She’s afraid that something bad is going to happen to her or to Daddy when her back is turned. She and Annabelle went on a field trip for school today, and their teacher (also a friend) texted me, telling me that Daisy was afraid something bad was going to happen to her Daddy while she was away on her field trip, and could Michael call her cell and talk to Daisy and reassure her? Bickering, tattling, sassiness, and whining have reached a fever pitch with almost all the kids (though, surprisingly, Annabelle, the one we have perhaps wrongly labeled our “problem child,” seems to be holding it together better than anyone else, and her behavior has been notably positive). Petty crimes have cropped up; Daisy has been caught lying both at school and at home a number of times, and Joey was caught stealing (a baseball card that he regretted trading with his brother) and forging a signature on his homework (the same brother’s signature; he was made to face the music and confess to his teacher that he forged the signature). It’s difficult to distinguish between what’s just age-related and what’s stress-related, and how to proceed with discipline in either case.
I think we’re all just plumb wore out.
I want our life back. Michael and I have a romantic trip for two to San Francisco on the books in a month – the first time in five years we will have been away just the two of us – and I don’t even know if it’s going to happen now. We have a family vacation planned in two months’ time, and I don’t know if that’s going to happen, either. We seem to be in a holding pattern. I want a future to look forward to, to count on. I want my family healthy and happy.
Michael will see his doctor next week and hopefully we’ll get a better idea then of where everything stands. Until then, we wait. Patience. Optimism. Easier said than done.