If you've ever played a stringed instrument, then you'll know that tuning the strings quickly becomes one of your definitive and habitual exercises. From the time I picked up my first 4-string bass guitar, through the years of beautiful symphonic sound on a 12-string acoustic guitar, and than back again to the relative simplicity of finger-style guitar picking on a 6-string-acoustic guitar, the discipline of stringing and tuning my acoustic guitars has been a constant reminder that nothing beautiful can possibly be heard without the tedium of correcting for slightly out-of-tune strings.
Everyone develops their own tolerances. And those tolerances are rarely discerned by anyone other than the small fraternity of acoustic guitarists with virtually identical musical interests and practice regimens. It's just as true for electric versions, of course, but there's something pure and unadulterated when done with the simplest of tools and no additional electronic tuners available.
Cancer care in a home setting has some similarities. The regimen appears strange from the outside looking in. Gathering of tools (often the simpler the better - such as a spiral bound 360 Fat Book log), setting up columns and daily question matrices, scanning the carryall basket for medications, ensuring towels, cleaning products, etc are readily available. Simple pre-planning efforts which set the stage for a day when either you or the disease seems in control.
Sometimes it seems like the simplicity of scanning your setting is about indulgence. The clock has to in exactly the right place, the thermometer right where you would expect it even with eyes wide shut. I don't know why, but somehow part of my pre-planning now involves ensuring the HD-TV controllers are lined up and ready to roll so that CNN in HD has become a necessity before I begin swallowing daily pills.
But then there are other days like today when no matter how close my ideal and actual settings were to one another, I still felt out of control. We identified it later in the day as a minor panic attack. In my case, such attacks are related to a sense of asphyxiation. Clearly, my surroundings have not been set up to induce such feelings, so when they do occur, I have to make adjustments, something as simple as opening the patio doors to a world of bitter cold temperatures and and winds that feel like they just came off the corner of Portage and Main in Winnipeg.
I'm continuing to tune. I'll probably be less diligent about responding to personal email requests (especially if I've covered off the gist of the request already in another blog entry) in the hopes that I can get back on track with regular blog posts. Even then, if it's obvious that I'm not writing what I meant to write, I'll turn to M. for editorial advice, thereby delaying posting an entry even longer. As I continue to deal with pain medication balancing acts, sometimes all I'll get to accomplish in a specific day is to get cleaned up and find just enough awake time to sleeping time.
This is all new territory to me right now. Be patient with me and I'll endeavour to communicate what it feels like from my perspective.