I think we need to clear one thing up. I’M NOT BRAVE. J. is the brave one. She’s the one who’s facing this loss head on, she’s the one who’s going to be left after I’m gone, and she’s the one holding everything together, except when she’s not, which we can all appreciate. Her plate is much fuller than mine.
Sure, the meetings with the rabbi and the funeral director last week weren’t easy, but they were comforting. This week we’ll talk to a community nurse about what the end-of-life placement options are. Will a hospice be better for me, or a hospital, or do I want to die at home? This too will be a hard discussion, but we both need the information to be able to make informed decisions when the time comes.
If you think I’m handling this well, you’re somehow missing my denial. I don’t really believe my death is imminent. I don’t mistrust my doctor; I just don’t feel like a dying person. In fact, this past week, I’ve felt better than I have in some time. No wonder the optometry assistant didn’t grasp what I told her last week; I don’t look palliative, or at least not to the average Jane.
If you look a little closer, you’ll notice my colour is a bit off, and I sport an ugly bruise on my hand that is getting worse rather than better. The rest of my body’s decline is well hidden, mostly under my clothes. Don’t worry, I won’t show you; I haven’t lost all sense of decorum (yet). I’ll just tell you about it all in vivid detail.
My critically low platelets are leaving their mark. Small children would cry were they to see me in a bathing suit. I am covered in large ugly bruises over my limbs and trunk. Over the past few weeks, I’ve also developed red spots of various sizes and shapes. An unyielding waistband, a shoe that is too tight, the arms of my glasses–all of these minor contact points have the potential to spotify me. If I deign to scratch an itch, the evidence of my negligence is imprinted in my skin.
Blood vessels in my mouth are having a heyday as well. I can wake up with a huge burst vessel on my cheek or my tongue that makes eating a challenge. Don’t worry, nothing stops this gal from eating, and the pain and discomfort pass within the day. What is more troublesome is that this is but one of many constant reminders that my body is ailing.
Sometimes I am overwhelmed by all these visible signs of my illness and, yes, I start crying. The tears are close to the surface lately. ((I hate to admit that sometimes denial fails me.) Crying is a huge problem because I am dealing with near-constant nosebleeds as well, and a good cry inevitably gets my nose flowing again.
I’m sure you’ve seen the commercial, “Do you pee a little when you laugh?” Well, it turns out I bleed a little when I cry. So I’m just going to have to turn off the tap already. If I’m feeling well, however marred my body, I must stop weeping and start living. I have no time to waste.