Sunday, March 15, 2009


The last few weeks have been, how can I say it nicely. . . somewhat unpleasant. John has been working on a site (doing water sampling) up in a city two hours away right on Lake Michigan. He gets up at 4:30 am so he can leave by 5 so he can get there by 7. That by itself would be bad enough even if he could leave by 4pm. Which he should be able to do. But they have had some major problems with flooding, ice, equipment malfunction, safety hazards, and just about anything you can think of short of explosions and gunfire. He has had to stay up there until 8 pm most nights, and some nights until 10 or 11. By the time he drives the 2 hours home and takes off his damp and smelly clothes (yes, this is CONTAMINATED water), he is too exhausted to even speak. He just falls into bed and sets his alarm for 4:30 again.

Now, some of you may be remembering at this point, “Wait a minute, didn’t John just start his EMBA program too? When does he study?” That is a good question. Since he was carpooling up to Waukegan with a coworker, I suggested he study in the car. But he felt like that would be rude. There were a few nights that he got home at 8 or 9 and he was able to study for an hour before he collapsed in a delirious heap. To top it all off, this past weekend, he had two exams AND a final exam. He was worried and studied for as many hours as he could stay awake. He thinks he did pretty well though. He is so happy the last two weeks are over. He has to work in Waukegan for the next week, but then he should be back to normal hours in the office. Thank goodness.

And what is a wife to do? I can’t go to work for him, can’t study for him. The most I could do is keep things running here, not make any demands on him, wash his contaminated clothes before they contaminated the house (it smelled like sewer water), and make his lunch for him. I think I did pretty well for two weeks. But my goodwill and sympathy ran out last night, as I practically demanded that he do the dishes. I’ll try to be better now.

I thought I’d update on my Mom, as I haven’t said anything about how she is doing. After that first large tumor (she has metastatic melanoma) in her brain was treated with radiation, they found another small tumor and treated it right before Christmas. She has lost a lot of hair and has been pretty depressed about it. She refuses to get a wig, though. She has made a remarkable recovery. There is some brain damage from the first tumor and radiation. Reading is laborious and difficult for her to understand. Her eyesight in one eye was affected, as well as hearing in one ear. She practices all the time though, because the doctors told her she can form new neural pathways. She exercises almost every day, and is getting strong, and probably more fit than I am! The bad news is, that once melanoma has moved through the lymph system, it will keep popping up. Since chemotherapy doesn’t work well with melanoma, and because of Mom’s advanced age, it would do more harm than good. The best we can do is have her scanned, poked, and prodded very often and take care of each tumor as it comes. We are so blessed to have her with us for as long as we can. My Dad is doing ok, he has good days and bad days. We are so thankful that physically, he is doing wonderfully: he goes on long rambling walks with his home healthcare workers, he is continent, feeds himself, dresses himself, etc. His helpers come every morning and evening. They think Dad is funny and wonderful, which makes us all happy. Neither Dad nor Mom can drive now, so the helpers drive them around to doctor’s appointments and other errands, and get Dad ready for the day and then ready for bed at night. Mom is so glad that she can still be with Dad. She was dreading putting him into a home. We are all glad we can put it off for a little longer. Thank you everyone for your concern, prayers, and good wishes.

Now, I’m off to be a nicer wife. Wish me luck because it don’t come natural.