We write to remember and relearn. Each time we relearn we realize things aren't so bad, because we remember ... The human body and mind have wonderful tricks available to minimize trauma - shock, for instance, or memory loss.
During my recuperation from the first outing on high dose IL-2 (January 2005), I had a terrible time sleeping. I spent those waking hours reading catalogs, People magazine, decorating magazines, and cookbooks. I had rediscovered how to sleep before the second round, and completely forgot about my nocturnal reading. But memory was awakened during recuperation from round two, when I realized I was spending long waking hours reading catalogs, People magazine, decorating magazines, and cookbooks. I remembered the same process from a month earlier; then began to remember the flashes of light under my eyelids, the lips that suddenly felt too big for my face, the sudden tingling of my skin, and hands alive to movement that could only be felt, not seen.
Friends and family began to bring up forgotten things, funny things, frightening things. When had these things happened? I had no recollection of saying things like "Where's my Lasix?" when I really meant "I have to go to the bathroom." I don't know what they witnessed while I was under treatment.
One Friday night during round two saw my creatinine and BUN levels skyrocket, my blood pressure fluctuate, and my heartbeat plummet. I don't know what happened, I only know that my treatment was stopped then and there. I will never know what happened, what I looked like, or what the risks were. Saint H knew and lived through it with my wonderful friends and family, and the wonderful staff at the James. Nurses and PCAs stopped me in the hall the following Monday to say how much better I looked and how worried they had been, and how glad they were - I felt like a freak saying "Thank You" for what, I knew not.
But that's how memory works - we suppress the horrible things, and remember the good things. Friends and family can bring those memories alive to a small degree, but if your mind won't let you, you'll never have complete recall.
I often think of my favorite nurses and PCAs - do they think of their patients? I only hope that, if they remember me at all, they remember me as fondly as I remember them.
Labels: friends/family, side effects, support