I just did some laundry - retrieved my clothes from Europe from the dryer. Placed a mound of pajamas in the washer. And realized time has escaped me somehow of late.
I was sick when I got home from Europe. This should be no great surprise since I cramped and limped and vomited and sniffled my way across the continent. Mom patted my head, covered me with a soft blanket and went shopping.
"Here's $75 worth of cold products," she told me as she unpacked bags on my counter. "I'm going home so I don't catch your disease."
I nodded and opened a new box of Kleenex while I waved at her departing car, settling into the comfort of home while I rested and healed.
I coughed when answering the phone two days later, Brother patiently waiting until I finished dealing with mucus.
"Mom found another lump," he said gently when I was quiet so I stayed that way, letting the knowledge absorb as I closed my eyes.
I went home, of course, staying for 11 days. I was simply present for the first few days - we went out to eat, cleaned up the house, admired the remodeling Mom had done in the basement.
We went for the appointment on Monday, asked her oncologist why he was so impatient and angry (he did calm himself under my severe frown and threatening words) and proceeded to the aspiration I'd hoped to avoid.
"Don't leave me," Mom asked as I stood at the head of the table, my hand in hers and foreheads together. So I looked in her tear-filled eyes and promised I wouldn't. We sighed with relief when it was over and I stood, watching the two punctures on her breast form a perfect heart of blood on the bandage.
So though she urged me to go home when she was back under control, I doubled my 5 day trip with nary a single complaint from work and Chienne and I settled in for a longer stay.
I called for results - cytology was clean so we cried again over the lack of cancer cells. And the cultures failed to grow anything so she didn't have to continue taking anti-biotics that were making her so sick. (I'd let her stop several days before - I somehow feel qualified to make medical decisions. So I do.)
Yet the cyst refilled. So we're still worrying about the little sucker.
"I didn't realize how hard you worked," Mom said one evening as she settled on the couch at 7PM. I'd finally released my control on the living room, sitting in Dad's recliner with my iPhone earbuds and laptop as I'd joined meetings and made slides and sent documents and drafted emails.
"The tiger cubs are out," the attendant told us so we braved the bitter wind and wandered out to look at them, cooing over the cuteness.
"It doesn't seem like they have enough room to run around," I finally noted, feeling sad at having them penned in. (This is not uncommon when I visit zoos.)
"No," Mom agreed. "But you play the hand you're dealt." I nodded my agreement and urged her along so we could see the zebras before declaring defeat to the cold and returning to the Equinox.
She cried before leaving for church as I packed the last of my things. And we held on for a long time before separating again.
Work has been busy but I'm doing well. I remain happy with this position.
Friend is going through some work stuff. So send her happy-research thoughts if you have extras.
I feel a bit like I'm waiting for the next horrible thing to happen, but I'm not overwhelmed by it. It's a gentle awareness in the background that allows for contentment in the foreground.