Today is Saturday – one day away from May, and one day away from THE WEDDING OF THE CENTURY. I’m equally joyous about each. It will take a while to extract all the royal fluff from my ears and get back to things of much less global consequence – namely, life.
Thursday was rather significant for us in spite of the fact that all our preparations had nothing to do with nuptials. But the anticipation was, if we may be presumptuous, nearly as compelling.
We traveled, not by horse-drawn carriage, but by horse-powered, really, really old Toyota SUV to the Huntsman in hopes of receiving an infusion of gemcitabene. Now this may not be the equivalent of dainty cucumber tea sandwiches without crusts and Windsor soup, but it’s royal jelly to us. We didn’t have to bow to the Queen. We only genuflect to the porcelain “throne” when no emesis basin is handy.
Our festivities centered around those capricious lab numbers. Unless all the stars align and the hematology gods smile upon us, Dennis does not get the infusion of chemo so critical in eradicating this disease.
That’s where I come in.
I have a certain exercise protocol that I swear can influence the phlebotomists in our favor and can boost those numbers to an elevation that is dang near astronomical. It is simple and effective. It involves hauling Dennis’ cookies out of the sack at 4:30 a.m. by singing with lusty discordance, “It you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands!” Of course, this is accompanied by clapping resembling thunderous applause.
On this particular morning, he was not happy at all, and only wanted to clap his hands – around my throat. I was really testing his a. q. (aggravation quotient)! But this worked in our favor, because it not only got him out of bed, it also raised his heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen in-take.
I was not to be deterred by empty oaths…his or mine. The regimen then called for us to wander the lone and dreary streets at an hour only fit for voyeurs and the lowest members of the subculture…those who still drag their knuckles on the ground as they walk.
With my best Princeton rowing megaphone and rhythmic commands, I told him to breathe in and breathe out. I felt like a demented birthing coach. Dennis agreed. However, being diminished by nausea and weight loss, he was prevented from offending me by audibly expressing “inaudibles,” and was thus reduced to muttering incoherently into his beard. Again, this worked for both of us.
Our reward for my efforts came later that morning at HCH when the Phlebotomist Superior posted his pathology leader board. Most of the chemistry panels were sterling. But the most vital and essential granulocyte result was – (drum roll, please) TA DAA – 3.6! Read ‘em and weep! This was nearly double the number of last week’s counts. BOO YAH!
I asked the nurse if that meant Dennis could have 2 bags of gemcitabene. She just smiled indulgently and tried to discreetly signal security that there was a member of the lunatic fringe loose on the premises. Dennis donned a disguise of glasses with big eyebrows and large nose and tried to enter the witness protection program on the spot. I was unfazed. Actually, I was too busy excessively celebrating in the end zone. But the entire clinic joined in the festivities.
I tried not to gloat. Actually, I’m at my best when being scoffed at. This is an admirable and personal favorite vice. My standard of decorum DID prevent me from chanting, “I told you so!” repetitively in Dennis’ ear as the techs were attaching a draught of Huntsman’s finest vintage through “The Great Chemo Umbilical” to his port. His reluctance to ACKNOWLEDGE my decorum prompted multiple declarations from me that expressions of undying gratitude and a vow of abject subservience were unnecessary. He agreed – a decision that will come back to haunt him come next Thursday at freakin’ 4:00 a.m.!
We walked this morning in a storm that thrummed a backbeat on our umbrellas. There was the ultimate oxymoron – robins in a blizzard harvesting anything that slithered on the road and returning to their nests for breakfast. I’m sure such ornithological gastric delights were not featured on the menu of Kate and William’s bridal cuisine. Pity, really, because the whole scene seemed curiously optimistic. Spring is here, in spite of blossoms encased in snow like some frosty sarcophagus. They were lovelier by far than all the lace in London.
We will not quit this race. We will go the distance. And when you lean your ear close to Dennis’ beard, you’ll no doubt hear the faint refrain, “If you’re happy and you know it…”