7.20 a.m. I can finally do my job now. Finally. Took me three weeks and three days to get here. But I am confident I can do this now. My job description: be positive.
It’s what he hired me for. It’s how I got the job … so to speak. The job of being his wife. Cliff is not the most positive person in the world. Possibly an understatement. He earned the name Eeyore from some of his in-laws and is a big enough man that sometimes, when he is being just plain overly-pessimistic about an idea, I can even say, ‘Oh, Eeyore’, delicately and kindly, directly to him and he laughs and either explains why he’s being a pessimist (there’s usually a good reason) or just continues being pessimistic but at least he realizes it then and it lightens him up a bit.
I am the antithesis of a pessimist. Can’t help it. Born that way. Apologies, now, to all who are offended by my existence. But I try to be subtle with my handicap of happiness and try not to take it to the annoyingly, offensively cheerful level but, rather, try to contain all my happiness into an acceptable, general population level that other people can tolerate.
My cheerfulness is so severe that if I were to behave as enthusiastically and cheerfully as I feel, it would appear unnatural. I’m way out on the end of the bell curve. I’m an outlier. I might even be labeled as clinically or chronically cheerful. Some of my better friends put it very sweetly and use the politically correct term of being ‘passionate’ about things. I probably outgrew the ‘cheerful’ term when I turned 20. Now I’m often referred to as ‘enthusiastic’ or ‘passionate’. I realize being continuously, ridiculously happy is not normal. And I realize it will freak people out if I behave as I feel. Seriously. I know people say, ‘Be who you are’, but I’m not the only person in this world and I like people, so I like to be around them. They’re not going to be around me if I’m hedonistically cheerful. It’s just not normal. And I’m O.K. with that.
When I was twelve years old, I won the congeniality award at cheer-leading camp. The most cheerful of the cheerful. Tragically chipper.
Going to get dressed and pick up Cliff early. Bit of a surprise that I’m coming early. Gotta run now.
So excited to see him and bring him home.
7.50 p.m. Cliff in his tower (top floor, fifth from left) in his new blue pajamas
8.10 p.m. Even hospital food can be beautiful, if you let it.
There was a big, heavy, round orange sitting on his breakfast tray and he said, ‘How am I supposed to eat that?’ It was soooo unappealing. I cut it into triangles for him and he downed it. Felt good to get all that vitamin C in him.
10.22 a.m. Just got home. Cliff is laminating his med. Sheet. He has 13 meds. Here is the list of them.
Going from a perfectly fit person, who has never taken medication and never been in hospital (except for being born there), straight to thirteen meds every day is … I don’t know … it’s something.
He describes his condition as ‘woozy, vague and thick in the head’ from all the meds and the chemos but he wants to tidy up a few things before heading upstairs to lie down for the rest of the day. He is sitting behind me at his computer and hiccupping galore. They say that’s indigestion and part of the nausea. He took a Maxalon (anti-nausea drug) just before we left the hospital, and they gave him another very strong anti-nausea drug intravenously last night, which will last for five days, as well as Emend and some other drug that starts with ‘A’.
This is seriously hard. It’s 10.30 a.m. in the morning and I feel like the day should be over. I’m ready for a story and bed.
1.37 p.m. Feels like midnight. So much to do. Feed myself. Take the kids somewhere so they’re not always watching TV or playing on the computer. Just finished making Cliff two turkey wraps and two big glasses of orange juice plus sandwiches for the kids. Must get myself some lunch and try to ride the exercise bike for a bit.