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©03 The Media Desk
Mrs. Desk is home, as was said before, for the duration. She is not in any pain, so far. Although she is uncomfortable from the fluid buildup in her legs, hips, and belly, and now elsewhere as well. She is all but bedridden, and is sleeping a lot even though she is restless. Her appetite comes and goes, when she does eat it is only a few bites of this or that. The nausea attacks have slowed down to only now and then, but she is fighting diarrhea and other problems that require assistance from her family and the nurse, and the morning aid.
She has had visits from family and friends almost daily. As well as many calls, cards, gifts, and other support from everybody. The Desk prints out the emails sent to it and to her account since she can no longer get to the computer to check her own. It is all welcome and appreciated far more than can be expressed without sounding corny.
The outlook is not good however. She is loosing noticeable ground almost daily. Just in the last couple of days she has become too unsteady on her feet to stand. And even using the walker has become a problem to get around the house. As was said above, she is all but bedridden. She is very weak and tires easily from even the effort to talk to friends. Going out is something best not even discussed. Last Sunday, there were so many church people in her bedroom we could have had a service right there. In fact, we did...
Medically, it is likely her liver has all but ceased to function again, most likely her blood counts will start dropping soon as more and more of her bone marrow becomes involved in the disease. The Hospice Nurse called this, and her lack of appetite and other symptoms as normal and expected "disease progression". It doesn't make it any easier on her or us. The cancer has full reign in her body, there is no stopping it now, if there ever was. There will be no supportive therapy, and even if it was attempted, all it would do would be to prolong the inevitable, possibly make her sicker, and most likely, cause her pain like she was suffering when admitted to the hospital before Christmas. The doctor was in on Thursday, changed a few prescriptions, and gave her a superficial examination, and sat and talked to her for a lot longer than you would ever get in the office. It was nice to see her doctor, a very lice lady who Mrs. Desk dearly loves, sit and relax and just Talk to her.
Otherwise... Right now. And for the foreseeable future... All we can do is make her comfortable and gather the family and friends we can around her. And look at pictures and talk about the good times we've had, and even some of the bad ones.
These days a good loud argument about something we can't remember is something to think about fondly. For several months now, she hasn't had the energy to even raise her voice to call the Desk an idiotic jerk over something trivial.
And we make plans for the future. A future without her, but our future nonetheless. Where the girls will go to college. How to keep daughter number two focused. Daughter number one and her budding basketball career. Where she will be buried. What kind of service to have in Illinois for the family and others over there. Will the Desk find another job with the state.
The one thing that has only been mentioned in passing is will the Desk ever... yes... EVER date/marry/see somebody/go out/etc again. It was mentioned some time ago when the cancer deemed terminal by the medicos by somebody who is lucky to have caught the Desk when it was in a fairly good mood. Right now if they said that within arm's reach they would need at least a good chiropractor. It is not something the Desk even wants to consider, yet there it is. It does have two teenage girls to finish raising, and they need the female factor in their lives. The Desk would be just as content to become a hermit halfway up some mountain pecking away at its antique laptop and setting odds on the 2012 election cycle as anything else. But....
Mrs. Desk has said she thinks it should, and will, find somebody.
The Desk itself doesn't even want to consider it. Who in their right mind would take up with a half crippled evil ugly nasty old sportswriter with a bad attitude and a wheelbarrow-load of vices, bad habits, and politically incorrect ideas?
The Desk wouldn't (to rip off Groucho Marx) go out with somebody that would go out with somebody like the Desk.
Would the Desk want its daughters going out with somebody like it? Well, see, the Desk has this 20 gauge shotgun, and this hacksaw, and....
Face it, the Desk was lucky to find Mrs. Desk back when Reagan was President and it wasn't planning on trading her in before, say, it retired to go be a hermit halfway up some mountain...
But as we take each day, and at times, each hour, from her to there... That issue, and others, are bound to come up. The Desk cannot promise her anything either way. It can't. She wants it, the girls, her friends, and so on, to be happy. To remember her happy, to think of her doing the things she liked, with the people she liked, and to go on.
To go on.
Damn that sounds trite. To Go On.
Didn't Hamlet say something like that... To be...
Shakespeare. Bible verses. Quotes from Vaudeville. Half baked political references. Medical terminology. The things the Desk finds reassuring.
What it can't face. But it has to face. Is that its wife of very nearly eighteen years (as of 9 March 2003) is dying and it has to go one without her for however long it has left.
The Desk told its father that it wanted to sue the family because it is in our contract that the women outlive the men by, in some cases, thirty years. That is the way it is SUPPOSED to be. We have a family that could fill a senior center van full of widows. That's the way it works.
"Of course right." Yente (the matchmaker), Fiddler on the Roof.
The Desk has made a down payment on her funeral and given them her instructions as to what she wants. It is NOT supposed to work this way. No. It's Not.
Mrs. Desk has gone through the stages of this and the sequence of that. She has denied, been angry "It's not fair". She has cried and accepted only to get angry again. Several times.
Now. Now she is tired and wants to rest. To rest today, to rest tomorrow. Forever.
She is emotionally calm most of the time, and only responds when others start crying for her.
The girls have gone that route too. Every stage of grief and loss have been worked out, over and over. Every treatment, and every failure, each time the cancer spread, they went through it. Now they realize this is it, and they are dealing with it as they can and we help as we can. They have every opportunity and every individual they need, and some they don't to help. Preachers and teachers and counselors and friends and pets and ... and more.
And the Desk?
Several people want to talk about the Desk's emotions.
Counselers, friends, preachers, co-workers, clients, family, and whoever else...
And they don't seem to get it when the Desk tells them that it simply can not TALK about its emotions. It can't put a name to whatever emotions, whatever FEELINGS it has.
Grief? No. Anger? No. Sadness, regret, rage, betrayal...
Fear and Loathing? (a la Dr. Thompson)
A vague uneasy sense of dread and foreboding that maybe the end is not as close as those that are supposed to know say it is. And that THIS is what we will have for however long and things will slowly slide into something just this side of "White Man's Hell".
[The Desk, being a sizeable part American Indian can use the term honestly. The Indians didn't have a 'Hell' that's a "white man's" invention.]
Look. We've been living the Cancer Thing for Four Years. We are ALL exhausted.
Is that an emotion or a physical state? For the Desk, it seems to be both.
Its feelings, what's left of them. Its emotions... It has been assured that it has emotions no matter how much it denies it... are shot. Worn out. Like the clutch in the old white van that got so hot one time it was crystallized, its had it. Kaput.
Sometime down the road the Desk might come down with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and go fishing for a month, but for right now... it is on autopilot and does what it is told to do and pays the gas bill when its due.
It has Mrs. Desk to take care of, and the girls to look after, and Day Job and Part Time Job to do, and the front tire of the van has a slow leak in it, and CitiBank wants to see her disability form, and ... there was somebody it was supposed to call back today... oh well.
And whenever somebody asks the Desk if it needs to cry on their shoulder it threatens... nevermind.
It's been a long battle for her. For us. We're done.
The Cancer has won the battle.
But it has not won the war.
It is killing her. It will take her life. Barring an actual Miracle, She will die from this disease, shortly.
Her FAMILY will go on. The girls will live their lives. The Desk will tell her story, our story. And she will be remembered.
And maybe. Maybe... somebody somewhere... will read it and know she has gone there before them and their family can get through it.
The patient will die. But their FAMILY will live on.
Whatever else there is, that is the message here.
Sometimes the Cancer, the disease, whatever it is, wins. The Patient Dies. As we all will sooner or later.
But their family goes on.
The Desk had an uncle it does not remember, he died in 1963. Uncle Robert was killed in a car wreck north of Danville, Illinois when the Desk was three years old. But the Desk's father, David, talks about Uncle Robert now and again, he has told the girls about him, someplace back home there is a tool box with his name on it. We remember him. There's a picture of him on a shelf. We remember him. He lives on.
No life is not fair. Young men die in car wrecks, young mothers die of cancer. Aging widows sit in lonely houses and look at pictures of others who have passed on, and remember, and tell their grandkids, and then they remember.
Mrs. Desk... Melissa Ann Wahlfeldt Levite... will live on.
The Cancer. In the End. Will. NOT. Win.
Thank you one and all.
The Media Desk
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4 :16 - 18 (NIV)
To delve further into a question Mrs. Desk, and others, have faced "Why me?" and the Desk's answer to that question please see the emotional roller coaster
Earlier Postings: 12/26/02 SHORT UPDATE
6 Jan/03, Development Includes 3 links to Older Updates
Three Vehicles and the Day Hope Died
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