daily update 10.26.2010

I have two little snuggle bugs that wrap themselves up in a cocoon in my comforter around 4:45 each morning, eager to cuddle and spend a little extra time with me before our busy day begins.
I have two happy, ecstatic, thrilled, beautiful little girls.
They get to spend a lot of time with mommy over the next two weeks as Nana is on vacation.
In her absence, I am getting the swing of this single-parent thing.
Granted, I think I’ve been acting as a single parent for most of the last year.
Chad was here. But he wasn’t present.
He was either sleeping or trying to treat an intense headache.
Or he just didn’t feel like entertaining.
And that’s not his fault; blasted IT.

I’ve had time to prepare for this dreaded situation.
Which is a blessing in disguise.
A sad, but true blessing.

When people ask me how I’m managing, I usually say ‘fine.’
Which is true.
For the most part.
I am fine.

I eat when I feel like it.
I laugh and snuggle and talk with our daughters.
I take out the trash.
I drive here. And drive there. And drive everywhere.
I prepare lunch boxes.
I help with homework, even though she doesn’t really want my help anymore.
I have my moments of despair.
And I have my moments of contentment.
I make phone calls.
I silence my phones and email when I don’t feel like talking. Which is frequently, lately.
I eat a fine piece chocolate.
I have a small glass of wine.
I try go to sleep.
And I repeat it all the next day.

When am I not fine?
When the phone rings, mostly.
I’m never sure who will be on the other end of the line.
I scan the caller ID to prepare myself for a call from Hospice or the insurance company.
I usually ignore calls from telemarketers.

So far this week, I’ve received two calls that have been completely ordinary.
And completely upsetting, all at the same time.
And it’s only Tuesday.

Both of these calls were for Chad.
And they always start the same way, “May I speak with Mr. Lanford?”
And I’m taken aback as to what to say.
Do I say he’s unavailable?
Not here?
Unable to talk at the moment?

One call was from NC State, his alma mater. Some membership drive for something.
I kindly let them know he wasn’t available and we’d like to be taken off their call list.
He was polite, but pushed to call back and talk to Chad.
So, I told him.
He is not able to talk to you.
He will not be able to talk to you.
He has cancer.
It’s terminal.
Please take us off your call list.
He obliged, and sounded just as shocked to hear my words as I was to say them.

The other call was from Chad’s old dentist.
He had switched dentists in the Spring, but the prior dentist dind’t get the memo.
Chad and I used to joke about the receptionist’s cheerful phone attitude – she is so darn perky!
She: “Hi, Mrs. Lanford. This is Tonya from XYZ Dental. Chad is waaaaaay overdue for his cleaning and I’d like to schedule his next appointment.”
Me: “Ummmm. Tonya. He’s not going to be receiving dental care anymore.”
She: “Well, I hope we didn’t scare him off {chuckle}. We really miss seeing him around here. Did he choose a provider closer to home finally? I remember him talking about the drive here and how he liked us, but…”

I filled her in, as briefly as I could.
But, goodness.
What do I say?
How do I tell people, acquaintances, about IT?
What do I say if they had NO clue what he’s been battling for nearly three years?
I have no idea.
I stammer. I spit it out as fast as I can. And I shut my eyes and wait for their responses, always full of pity and sadness.

I suppose I should figure out what to say. A monologue of some sort.
I have a daunting task before me; changing out the account holder for all our bills and services.
I have been putting it off for so long, and probably will continue to do so.
I just cannot bear the thought of calling the utility company and explaining my situation to someone who could really care less.
I cannot bear the thought of repeating myself because they need to get a manager to approve my request to change the account name to mine instead of his.
I just can’t think about it.
So, I’ll put it off some more.

I did take care of the van. It’s out of our name, and completely in mine.
That was hard enough.
I’m done for a while.

Today, Chad was subdued.
That’s the term that his nurse has been using and I think it’s pretty accurate.
He’s been sleeping for the last couple of days. A lot.
He’s thirsty when he wakes, but is not very talkative.
I tried to get him to answer a few yes/no questions this morning – all met with a blank stare.
I tried to get him to squeeze my hand. But there was nothing.
He just stared.
Out the window.
At the ceiling.
At my face.

He did reach out and touch my cheek, held his hand on my cheekbone and just stared at my face for a few minutes.
And that was the highlight of my morning.

I did his laundry, folded and put it away.
Tried to remember the days when I would take a whiff of his work shirt before throwing it in the washing machine because I loved the smell of his cologne so much.
These days, that crisp cologne smell has been replaced with another scent.
I can’t quite put my finger on it.
But if sadness has a smell, I’m sure that’s what it is.

I just called to check on him (9:30pm), and was told he was awake for most of the day. Didn’t sleep at all last night, though.
He still wasn’t very talkative, but did respond to requests such as opening his mouth and sticking out his tongue.

He had a rough time around 8pm, nauseous and coughing.
He, apparently, had quite a bit of mucus built up and a sour stomach from drinking so much juice without any food on his stomach.
He doesn’t seem to be in any pain, which is good.
Hopefully he will get some rest tonight so I can have some awake time with him tomorrow.

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3 Responses to daily update 10.26.2010

  1. Bella says:

    Hi again Skye, it's Bella here. I'm staying with a friend and have just been explaining to her teenage children about your blog. The kids send their regards, they were very subdued to hear what's happened. I know we are complete strangers even though I comment on your blog, but I thought you might like to know that we are thinking of you all. Wishing you a peaceful day with no more phone calls … xxx

  2. Cmoursler says:

    I think when you tell the people at the utility company that you will find people who do care. Not like you do, but in a human way. I guess in the same way I stumbled across your blog one day and thought…”wow, with everything that is happening…you are doing so well.”
    Then I kept coming back to read what was happening. My husband went to Iraq 4 times, and when it got really bad over there it was almost like people wanted to pretend that what was happening wasn't happening. If I were down or sick at heart or worried, people would simply ignore it or tell me I didn't have any problems. I understand you because right now it's like you are living in a different world. In your world life as you know it is over or morphing and you are waiting for the rug to be pulled out from under you, and in everyone else's world life is the same. People say, “How can you stand it?”
    How can you not, what choice is there.
    You don't feel brave…you feel alone. But you aren't.
    You have your girls. You have your friends and family…and you have my best wishes and the prayers of my family.
    I smell my husbands shirts too.

  3. Babyncc79 says:

    I can only imgaine how hard it is to think about all that you will have to take care of,but unless you feel it needs to be taken care of right now…throw it in the will get to later pile. As far as what to say on the phone, I know just a smig of what you mean. Our bookkeeper for the last 18 years has stage 4 Liver cancer. So I am learning just about everything she has done. When our customers call & ask” well I usually talk to Sharon” I try to keep it low key, she isn't well & we are all picking up what she did.” Well when will she be back?” That's when I have to tell them she isn't. Some of these people have known her for 20 years, that is when it gets hard.

    Thinking of you all the time.

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