santa cruz wharf

13 August 2008

embedded

It is Wednesday.

On Wednesdays I get to sit in this lovely little atrium.  Glass walls and a sloping glass ceiling looking out onto a pleasant flower garden.  The sun shines through the panes over the leaves making little shadows on the thick pile, well padded carpet.

Fashionable, comfortable chairs and sofas. Scattered coffee tables....the copies of The Wall Street Journal, Architectural Digest, and US News and World Report far outnumber the likes of People and Cosmo. Praise God. The table lamps have the less-energy-efficient-old-fashion-light-bulbs.  Not those spiral CFL's that are too bright for my eyes...and remind me of an ugly pig's tail.

There is a rock and water fountain in the corner.  The soft babbling might sound soothing if not for the constant ringing of the telephone:

"Doctors A and Y's office...Betty speaking...."

Wednesday is my Mama's chemotherapy day.

In a fashion similar to some journalist attached to a military unit deployed in active combat...for the past seven weeks we have been embedded in a battle alongside my Mama.

Not completely unexpected...
we knew last December that we'd be in for a fight.

I've taken to taking my laptop with me. It is a several hour visit each week, most of which Mama sleeps through.  No internet access - but hey - my digital photographs are almost all organized and captioned. 

I sit with these folks every Wednesday.  We are an interesting band of accidental comrades...embedded together with our rag tag army of loved ones fighting against cancer. I don't really want to be friends with these people.  I don't really want to know about who they are embedded with.  I don't really want to know their stories.  Most of all...I don't really want to see in their faces the reflection of my own obligatory strength...or my pain...or my fear.

As I type this, I am trying not to eavesdrop on the other conversations in the room. Welllll...that's not quite the truth.  Okay....That in no way even resembles the truth.  The truth is I try not to LOOK as if I am eavesdropping... while actually trying to hear exactly every word they are saying.  (Picture big radar screens rotating on either side of my head.)

Unlike the journalist on the evening news, being embedded puts me in no physical danger. There is no one shooting at me. (In fact, I am the one doing the shooting... although my weapon is a syringe.)

I am not arrogant enough to claim to be out of harm's way.  My Mama's sickness and its symptoms wound me deeply.  Last December I bandaged my wounds tightly...to protect myself from further injury.  It is possible I wrapped them too tightly to heal.  It frightens me to expose them...they may hurt me too much.

I have not been myself.  I have let my life sidetrack. I have become dependant on the wrong things.

The past month....during this most recent skirmish my words have gone AWOL...absent with out leave.  Even now the transfer of thought through fingertip comes out disjointed. My attention span schizoids. There are a dozen half-started posts in my writer that I have little interest in revisiting.

I have been unable to find that voice inside of me that lessens the turmoil in my brain...although I have learned many lessons about the turmoil in my brain.

and yeah...I bring my better angels to every fight...

20 comments:

Marilyn said...

In times of stress I seem to run out of things to say on my blog too. My prayers are with you and your mom. Take care of yourself.

david mcmahon said...

Dear Mama,

You don't know me. I'm just a bloke on the other side of the world who is a big fan of Katherine's writing.

I'm a big fan of mothers, too. I had an amazing Mum and I give thanks for her great blessings.

You are in my thoughts. Very specially.

God bless you

Mel said...

k....david's comment made me cry and now I can't even think straight...

Please know that I'm praying lots--for the mom and for you.

Turnbaby said...

Events this summer have found me censoring myself to the point of what seems like a parody of my blog. That, thankfully i beginning to change for me.

I am a huge eavesdropper--I'm quite good at it.

And we belong to a couple of the same clubs and although I like you very much I wish we didn't.

David's comment reminds me why I still do this.

Matt-Man said...

Wow...I have nothing to add other than that was well done, almost peotic. Cheers and best wishes for your family!!

The Teamster said...

hey...it's me...

now i feel bad...wednesday's are golf days for me....

my prayers are with your mom, you, and your daughter (not sure if you use real names)

I like the eavesdropping subject...I can even read upside down....

Jeff B said...

I would say what a beautiful post this was if it weren't for the unfortunate circumstances that brought it about.

Your gift with words still rings as true as it ever has Katherine. My prayers are with you and your mom.

katherine. said...

marilyn: stress is not good for anything...thanks for the prayers.

david: on behalf of both of us...thank you.

mel: me too...he has a way with words. you are in mine too dear friend.

katherine. said...

Turn: there was a line I crossed in blog posting where I was no longer completely anonymous and had to edit back a bit. There have been times when I just can't find the words.

I too wish you weren't a memeber of a couple of these clubs...but I am honored to count you as a "real" online friend...smile.

david is quite the guy!

katherine. said...

mateo: thanks buddy! cheers! smile

Teamster: I felt bad you were goifing in 103 degree heat when it was so beautiful here....thanks for the prayers...you know how much I need them.

Jeff: thanks much....I think they were all bottled up...I will take all the prayers that are offered!

Sandee (Comedy +) said...

All I can offer are positive thoughts and prayers. Big hug honey. :)

quilly said...

If this is how you write when you are without words, I need to read you when you are at your best. You have just poured out for us a piece of your heart and a good chunk of your soul, and you've reduced me to tears. I have offered a prayer for both you and your momma.

Oh -- David sent me.

lime said...

i am here via david mcmahon's. so sorry for the fight you and your mama face. i'm hoping those around you are strong for you when you need it and i wish your mama health.

Carol said...

Your words speak volumes about the love you have for your mother. It's in these times that we find that God has given us strength we never knew we had. I've been there, and am still fighting. To quote the beautiful psalm you have posted on your blog: The Lord is my strength and my song. He has become my salvation. Psalms 118:14

He is giving you strength and the beautiful gift to share it here with so many. Thank you for that.
And Congrats on making David's list!

Annie said...

I am here becos of David...thankyou for sharing your "embedded" post with us. I found the same thing, that when I was with my Mum, my life would slow down to her pace...and one gets to sift out the important things of life in these moments.

And another comment I read in Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott was that when you can't write, just keep writing anyway! Obviously it won't be what you were hoping to write, but it is important anyway to get some words down on paper!

Annie

Sandi McBride said...

I came by way of David. I'm sitting here bawling my head off. I remember being embedded, my sister Toni and I, taking Mama for her Chemo...trying to cheer the cheerless, sitting and holding her hand while the little drops of chemo dripped ever so slowing through that long tube...Mama laughing about "having a playdate with the girls"...the banter stopped after the fifth treatment...Katherine, I know you are going to treasure every single moment you have with her...treasure them doubly, because she goes through this because of you and the rest of her family. Mama told me she would have just preferred to have an end to it, but we loved her to much to let her go...my prayers are with you and your Mama...Dear God, help the healing begin for Katherine and her Mama...let it begin now...
warm hugs
Sandi

CrazyCath said...

I came over via David's blog.
What a wonderfully honest post. I love how you tell it. I too have sat for hours receiving chemotherapy, though not for cancer and I count my blessings. I know those rooms intimately. And the people there, for in our dept we are all mixed.
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your mama. I am so totally with you about the brain not connecting with the fingertips. Too much (emotional) pain and fear.

My advice - blog it and don't publish. Sleep on it a while. The therapy's in the writing. Thanks for sharing this.

Mel said...

......shoot.....

Came for a second chance and read what Sandi shared.

......and one more time--weepy.....

(((((((((( katherine ))))))))))))

I know....I KNOW it's hard.
All the way around....every time....

Travis said...

I remember that my steps through Hodgkins, my treatments and recovery, were a lot harder on my family that they were on me. I was submerged in the doing...no time to waste on anything but the next step and the next action.

I don't know what you're going through, but I have an idea about what your mother is. She'll be strong for you, and you'll return the favor.

It's not an easy thing. All you can do is what you can do. The words will return when you need them, as they did today. Until then, just keep putting one foot in front of the other. It's what you can do.

Desert Songbird said...

I sat with a friend during her chemo treatments, and I honestly think it was harder on me than on her. The agony of waiting and wondering was painful.