"You took your patch off," I realized, watching Mom huddle miserably on the couch, a drastic change from the past days of relative health and happiness.
"Oh," she whispered, touching the spot behind her ear where they'd placed the medicinal device that had kept the nausea blessedly at bay. Within hours of its removal, she was unable to eat and looking increasingly wan.
So I called the doctor.
I went to school with the nurse that returned my call, sending me after OTC Dramamine patches.
"Was she smart?" Dad asked after I hung up with her.
"Not particularly," I replied, recalling her vaguely but not from my honors classes. So it should have been no particular surprise that I could not - after 3 drug stores - find any patches next to the pills or at the pharmacy counter.
"Here," I said gently when I arrived home and sat next to Mom. "Put this strip on your tongue and it will dissolve." And while she made choking attempts to do so, I bundled her into acupressure straps and said a quick prayer for relief.
She's feeling better now, she says from across the room, sitting on the couch and reading her Kindle rather than curled up with eyes closed.
"What kind of ice cream is on that commercial?" Dad asked last night. He's not been feeling great, but his blood counts and liver function are good and chemo continues.
"With the girl who climbs over the cars to get the ice cream bar?" I confirmed and when he nodded, I looked it up and realized it was Magnum. And so, on my quest for anti-nausea assistance, I kept an eye out for expensive ice cream bars coated in chocolate and caramel.
"Dad doesn't want us to go with him," Mom told me yesterday. "Because you're too pushy." She glanced at me in surprise when I laughed.
"Brother can take him," I replied easily, still amused. "I've met enough people who don't like me all that much not to be offended. So if Dad doesn't want me to ask questions, I'm fine to stay home. It's his therapy."
So Brother rode in on his motorcycle and out in my folks' SUV, Dad in tow, this morning. He returned our dad post-therapy and went to pick up his girlfriend before mowing the yard.
I brought them dinner, the second stop of my errands, and placed it on the table while they finished riding the mowers around the yard.
"I found your ice cream," I offered to Dad and he smiled weakly before I placed them in the freezer for later.
We're surviving - it's going pretty well, really - but it's starting to feel hard.