NOW:Mr. Bob continues to express delight at life, to the point that I have to banish fear, when it comes to mind, that the high may be followed by a low at any moment. I need to battle my Eeyore tendencies.
Yesterday, our friends, Susie and Bill, paid us a visit and were pleasantly surprised, I'm sure, at Bob's state of mind. We enjoyed dinner together here at the Manor and discovered, in the process, a new parlor game.
Before Memorial Day weekend, when Mr. Bob's lips turned blue and he was rushed to the hospital, his oxygen reading was 72% which was a frighteningly low count. In the hospital the nurses frequently put an oximeter on his middle finger and we were cheered when the number climbed toward the normal figure which is in the 90s.
I decided we should have one of those gadgets at home, just in case my eyes can't discern it when and if his lips should turn blue again and good old Amazon.com came to the rescue. I ordered one of those and a thermometer that gets swiped over the patient's forehead, since the most serious side effect of chemotherapy is infection and should, God forbid, it occur then everyone needs to spring into action. I was instructed by the oncologist to find a 24 hour pharmacy that I wouldn't be afraid to drive to at 2:45 in the morning. And explicit instructions to call him day or night if Mr. Bob's temperature goes to 100 or higher.
He carries the oximeter in his pocket and while waiting for our orders yesterday, we passed it around the table to see how we all were. Everyone, including Mr. B was fine.
Along with oxygen percentage, this device also measures heart rate and the results are really rather interesting.
I don't think we'll be sharing the thermometer, although it, too, has entertainment possibilities.
TUESDAY, JUNE 19, 2007
Our friend, Paul, is a shining example of how one might age gracefully. 87 on his last birthday, his vitality is remarkable, his get-up-and-go never wavers. Pat, his longtime life partner and effervescent wife, passed away a few years ago and I often think of how proud she would be of the way he's carried on in her absence. He bakes his own bread, makes his own ice cream and has taken on the job of following her list of birthdays, making sure all of their friends receive a cleverly chosen card on their special days.
When he retired, probably at age 65, he set out on a solo bicycle trip across the United States, from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic, writing home on a postcard each day, thus creating a diary of the expedition. Until recently he bicycled around the Rose Bowl (3 miles) several times a week.
He tells me he's a slow reader, which is why he buys his books rather than using the public library, but he's forever in the midst of discovering something that increases his knowledge which is considerable on the subjects of geology, weather, history, sports, world events. He chooses not to have a television set. He creates furniture in his garage workshop and welcomes all the woodworking requests we've come up with. I'm sure he misses his beloved dancing partner, but his interest in traditional jazz has not wavered a bit over the years. He eagerly goes with us when we drive across town to listen to our favorite band. He admits to being cheap. I prefer to name him frugal or parsimonious. His spirit is too generous for me to consider him stingy.
Of late, he's felt hampered by the need to use a cane, not something he's very happy about, so he and his doctor have scheduled surgery for a hip replacement next Thursday. That's why we took him to dinner last evening. It gave us a chance to assure him that we're here for errands that need to be done during his recuperation and as a sort of friendly send-off for the ordeal ahead and as we parted, I gave him a hug and Mr. Bob shook his hand, causing him to remark when we were safely seated in our vehicle, "Man, does he have a strong grip!" He's a good man, Paul is.
Paul had his 91st birthday last March. Just last Tuesday, he and his daughter came to visit Mr. Bob at the Manor. Chris just moved from her home in Los Alamos, New Mexico, where she was a nurse practitioner. Now she and her father will share the home he built back in the 1940s and she'll continue her interest in rock climbing, hiking, camping and she and Paul will pursue their mutual interest in birding. Paul still takes trips in his truck and to my consternation, insists on spending some nights in the camper shell on the back of the truck. It hurts my joints just to think of it, but in his case frugality wins out. They made the generous offer to take us, one Sunday, to hear that music (when you use this last link and get to the page, scroll down to the movie, "Jazz at Steamers"......hopefully that should work) of which we're all so fond. We may just take them up on it.
P.S. I seem to have no control over the size and spacing of the typeface. The frustrations of blogging are many. We need to bear with it.