Tuesday, October 14, 2008

An Unwanted Journey: Day 1056 - Watching

"It's easier to die than to watch someone die." - TV series House, episode Maternity (first aired 7-Dec-2004)

I'm watching my wife these days. Watching her take care of me. Watching her coordinate all the medical appointments. Watching her fret about the future, about life without me by her side, about how I will respond to chemotherapy, about how my sons are doing, about everything.

She was with me again today as we went to the Grand River Regional Cancer Centre for blood work and for the PICC line insertion. I told her she didn't need to join me, since I'd probably be there for several hours, but she insisted, and I was glad to have her with me.

As it turned out, the PICC line procedure had to be aborted after a couple failed attempts to find a suitable vein in my right arm. It's not fun having a needle probing inside your biceps looking for that mysteriously disappearing vein. And so we left the centre far earlier than expected and will have to go back a couple days from now to medical imaging where they will put a dye into my right arm and then use x-rays to find the best candidate vein for the PICC line.

This is actually a good thing. I remember having problems with the PICC line previously during chemotherapy. If we get a good vein and have fewer curves in the tube, then the drugs should have easier and more direct access to the heart. That should mean less time spent in the chemo suite trying to unblock the line.

My wife will come with me to all those appointments. She'll come on Thursday too, as we do something we've never done before - a fluoroscopy.

As I watched her while waiting for my appointment today, I hoped that she never has to go through treatment like this for herself. If she does, I wonder who will accompany her for treatment. Will it be one of our sons? Will it be another life partner? Will it be a friend? I'd like, of course, for it to be me...but that's not going to happen.

I know it is very stressful for her to watch me go through all this. I know it's difficult for our sons, for my parents, for her mother, for our close relatives, for our close friends, for my colleagues and others. But most of all, it is she who has to deal with the watching and waiting.

Whether it's easier to die than to watch someone die can be debated endlessly. Let's just say that care givers need more care than they're often given.

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