Yesterday was a beautiful day, sunny but not too hot, dry. We had on the radio the cheering pretty music on NPR (Haydn, Mozart) and got a letter from them thanking us for gift of the (Admiral’s) Jaguar. In the afternoon he and I took a walk around our block in the lovely sunny weather! Very slow, he with the walker. The same block he went round with Caroline the day before. It’s the only flat one in our area which is all hills and slopes. Our house is on the highest hill.
Says I to him: “You are beginning to look like a cancer patient. Even if you have not had chemotherapy, you have that same intense drawn look.”
Said he to me, “We are transformed.” The “we” formulation is unusual with him, he is too aware of how imagined the communities we imagine ourselves part of are. “I am really not the same. I’ve moved to another place.”
— Stevie Smith
He told his life story to Mrs Courtly
Who was a widow. ‘Let us get married shortly’,
He said. ‘I am no longer passionate,
But we can have some conversation before it is too late.
Caroline painted a picture at work and it’s now sitting on one of my desks in my workroom, leaning against the wall: this is a detail blown up very large so you can see the movement of the brush strokes (it’s an abstract design) and how it shines with swirls of glitter:
This morning not as good. He had all sorts of pains everywhere — as he slept this morning and I listened he was muttering words like “Oh dear”, and “fuck it.” Now I’m giving him these injections of lovenox (against DVT — bad blood clots), even if the needle kit looks like some toy, and am just beginning to leave so many tiny holes in him across his chest over and above the wounds from the surgery. It’s twice a day for at least 3 months!
We have a schedule whose general pattern I’m beginning to see clearly: 7 am, antibiotic, lots of water (4 syringes) and shut off feeding tube. 9 am, 2 medicines (pills crushed, one the one to control blood pressure) and flush, some water. Noon, an injection. 1 pm antibiotic, lots of water (4 syringes). 7 pm put back feeding tube for 12 hours (4 of the 6 packages over the 12 hours), fuss over pump lines, lots of water (4 syringes), many medicines crushed or suspensions, plus antibiotic. Midnight to 1 am, antibiotic, 2 more packages and another injection.
Or: Antibiotic 4 times a day, 4 syringes of water every six hours. Medicines at 7 am (just antibiotic), 9 am (two of them), 1 pm (antibiotic), 7 pm (so many I get confused), midnight to 1 am (antibiotic). Injections twice a day 12 hours apart. And 12 hours of feeding tube, 7 to 7.
Just me and my patient. I said I wanted to be a nurse.
If these complications would just stop, the prognosis seems good. Dr Fortes (the surgeon who did this to him) says in two weeks he can begin getting off the feeding tube, which is just so unnatural in feel.
He said that last night he dreamed of eating cereal. What kind I said as he eats hot oatmeal, shredded wheat and an English breakfast cereal we get at the warehouse. He said it was not specific. He just saw one of our olive green deep cup bowls: we all three use a set of green olive deep cup bowls for eating cereal.
Yvette and I wanted to go to a movie but Cinema Art is turning into a junk movie house. There is no parking at Shirlington our other so-called art movie house (and it still has decent movies). To go into DC without Admiral driving us there for half the trip means a 3 hour trek. Not even for Before Midnight (we loved Before Sunrise, Before Sunset). Ethan Hawke fine actor, I’m very fond of Julie Delpy (remember Two Days in Paris?)
What a father’s day.
Monday we begin driving about again. This has been two days of comparative rest. Did rewrite Mapping Trollope and it’s almost done. Did read some. Did type more Ethelinde. Watched Downton Abbey (Season 2) to stay up to 1 each night. Now off to Shoppers Food Warehouse.