Friday, 7 November 2008

Just Keep Laughing. What the Sisters Did Part Two

Ok so where was I? Oh that's right, bringing a new life into the world, just as I thought my husband was going to lose his.

It kind of ended up that Tee stayed with me up in my hospital, and Rex went down to Mr TCs hospital. Rex was my lifeline to Mr TC. He is such a bravado, "I'm fine" macho guy .... like that Knight in that Monty Python movie, getting all his arms and legs cut off, but still wants to fight. "What, this? It's just a scratch." Until in the end, he's just this talking, bloodied head on the ground. I know that Mr TC would tell me he was ok, even if he was in agony and secretly scared shitless. But Rex was with him ... and Rex told me the truth. Her truth was that he was going to be ok ..... how I clung to her words, every day! She did everything for him that I could not. He had the worst bed in the worst ward, PUTRID. Talk about depressing. It was dark and dank, and there was a contaminated water scare, in his hospital. Nii-iiice.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch ..... Tee was the only person I wanted to see. She brought Tiger in to visit, every day. She brought nipple shields and expensive creams, chocolate, clothes for Monkey. We sat and waited and worried together. I took a photo of myself, in the middle of the night, once. I don't know why I did ... maybe because I couldn't get out of bed, and wanted to know what I looked like. What a person in so much pain looks like. Quite strange really.

It's a terrible photo. I would lie in my bed for hours, in a trance, holding Monkey .... frightened isn't even the word. In shock. And horror. Then Monkey would stir and I'd look down and see him, as if for the first time. "Oh, hello lil guy!!" Kept forgetting about the baby.

In the mornings, Tee would come in, and I would talk to Rex, and I had hope again. Just a bit. It was around that time, that my catchcry started. If I got a shit lunch in the hospital, or when I complained about nobody sending me flowers ..... I would harrumph, exasperated. "Geeez! Don't they know my husband has CANCER!!??" We couldn't find a car park? My husband has cancer. Bringing firewood in at home? My husband has cancer. Telemarketers? Sorry, I can't give money today ... my husband has cancer.

I got out of hospital on Friday, Tee drove me straight down to see Mr TC. To the hideous hospital, where you need a machete to fight your way through the haze of cigarette smoke before you go in. I saw where he had been sleeping all week and just wanted to cry. We STILL did not know what kind of cancer it was, or how to treat it yet. Fuming. I sat in a chair next to his bed, Tee gave us some space then came back and cracked jokes. Suddenly a tribe of doctors appeared out of nowhere, doing rounds. Tee and I went for the jugular .... Tee, mainly, as I was breastfeeding a four-fucking day old baby. She hammered questions to them .. What type of cancer. Why don't you know. When will you know. How long in hospital. What can he eat .... on and on. Mr TC sat, bewildered, watching a ping-pong ball game of questions and answers. I'll never forget the doctor .... who had given us the bad news only days before .... turning to look at me. And he saw me. A breastfeeding, broken wife. He promised to speed things up - and he did.

Tee and I drove back home. Leaving Mr TC in the shitty hospital that day, was one of the worst, awful days of the whole fiasco. I felt sick, putting Monkey in the car ... to finally take him home. Without his dad. Happy homecoming, baby. We drove and drove ... right before we got home, the doctor gave us the news. "Non-Hodgkins."  We were beside ourselves with elation. We went crazy. Finally, after all this time, we KNEW WHAT HE HAD. For some inexplicable reason ..... Tee and I had a competition, to text as many people as we could, to tell them. And, to count how many replies we got back. "NON-HODGKINS!!" Texts started arriving to out phones ... "That's great!" "Awesome news!" "Ohh, what a relief!" We high-fived and nearly did cartwheels. (Tee won the comp ... I was spewing!)

Suddenly, something swam to the surface of my brain. "Ummmm ...." I said to Tee. "My husband has CANCER." It was very surreal. I lost it, and went quite loopy, laughing hysterically. "Wait! It's ok! It's NON-HODGKINS!!! Wooo-hoooooo! Yeeee haaaaa!! Unreal!" I started tapping it out in morse code on my breast pump .... great news, husband has cancer!

Tee suggested I go to bed. I did.

I went to my lonely bed, and the baby cried and cried and drank me dry, and I got so stressed and worked up. I was crying bad. I did not want to do this anymore. I cannot handle a baby at this time. Tee came in .... and made me go upstairs to SLEEP, while she minded the baby for the rest of the night. He wasn't hungry ... just picking up on my stress. I needed that sleep like nothing I'd ever known.

Here is where the real work form the girls came in .... they taught me how to look after a baby. Especially Rex, the Sleep Nazi. She was forever getting me to swaddle Monkey and put him to bed. Always. They gave me tips and advice, on everything. I was amazed. At one point, Tee turned to me, and said "Mate, what the fuck did you do with Tiger when he was a baby?" I thought, and realised."Well, basically just stood to his attention for three years. Whatever he wanted!" We pissed ourselves laughing. Rex got me onto the magical solution of preparing six bottles at once, so I knew exactly how much Monkey was getting in a 24-hour period. What a fantastic concept!

Monkey sleeps pretty bloody well now, due to their baby whispering skills. Once, Tee even stuck her boob in the pump, to show me how it was done. Now THAT'S sisterly love!

When Monkey was two weeks old, it was Rexs turn to be here. It was an awful week. I could not talk to anyone, answer the phone, or go anywhere. She was like, my total bodyguard. She'd answer the phone, say the persons name out loud ... and depending on my head nod or head shake, hand the phone over. One morning, I got up, and was getting brekky. She was chatting away, looked up to find me crying. She gave me the biggest, best hug, and told me she doesn't even know how I am getting up in the mornings. I wailed to her that I didn't want to go and see Mr TC that day. I didn't want to see him like that. She understood, and talked and talked. Suddenly, a car drove up. "Fuck!" I hid. It was the florists car. "Oh NOOOO. It's the fucking florists!"

(They are busybody, fucking idiots.) Rex goes, I'll handle this.

And she did. She got stuck talking to them for ten minutes, answering all their stupid questions. I was cracking up, having laughing convulsions that she was being so polite. She told me later they were ITCHING to come in, and she felt like a goalie in a soccer game, keeping them out. They wanted to "give me the flowers themselves." She said no.

I kept pretending to Mr TC that I was ok, but I couldn't pretend anymore. I was fucked up.

Rex sometimes still asks me ..... how's those GIMP florists going?

My sister Tees present for me, when the baby was born? A FORTNIGHTLY CLEANER. FOR SIX. MONTHS. Yes. Can you believe that? My house gets clean every two weeks. NOT by me. Frickin' awesome.

Once, the cleaners were due when I was feeling so crap. I text Tee .... do you think the cleaners will mind if I sit on the couch and play Mario? My husband has CANCER, you know.

She told Rex, who told me to ask the cleaners if they could wipe my DS Gameboy screen, as I was sitting there. And if I get out, say "Ohhhh, CLEANERS! I was up to World SEVEN! My husband has CANCER!!!"

Dog whistle laughs all round.

The mums at Tigers school organised a cooked meal dinner roster, every single night. Whichever sister was there with me, would get excited come afternoon time .... ooohhh, who's on tonight? Oh, it's Jo! She makes the BEST lasagne!! We were all solemn and quiet, when they came, then they would go and we would rip it open, to see how good the meal was. Oh my God I'm laughing right now. I love every single woman who was on that roster - it was such an amazing thing to do for us. But sometimes ... the meal wasn't very big. Or good. And we would mock-complain. "Geez!" The girls would say. "Don't they know your husband has CANCER!"

When I was here by myself for a few days, Tee and Rex would text - what's for dinner tonight? To see what they were missing.

One night, Tee asked me. I was rather quite disgusted, and rang her.


Tee was outraged and laughing, all at once. "What did you do with it?"

"Mate, even the fucking DOG didn't want it. It's sitting outside in the casserole dish. Maybe some wild animals will come and eat it. It was filthy, I mean, come on. My husband has cancer. I'm going to have to go to school assembly, and announce over the loudspeakers that I need some decent food, not no sausage bullshit."

Tee couldn't talk for five minutes. The next morning, I get a text from Rex. "So how was your sausage hotpot HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH."

Tee said to me one day, that after this is all over .... I could still use the inappropriate excuse, just change the tense. "Oh, you can't give me a parking ticket! My husband had cancer, you know!!"

Sometimes, even long after Mr TC came home .... I would call one of them. And they would know something was wrong. And I would just say ..."My husband has cancer." And they knew and understood and brought me back time and time again.

Because .... Mr TC did come home. And he went through eight chemos, every three weeks. And now they are finished. And now we wait for the scan. I can't even look ahead, in my mind. To see what I think his scan will show. If I try to picture it, I just fall off a big cavern. So I can't. I think I believe his scan will be all clear. I think. We have an appointment with the doctor - the one who noticed me breastfeeding that day - next Tuesday.

Every day, since the diagnosis .... is a gift. Even though sometimes we very nearly ripped each others heads off ..... he made it back home. He's in with a fighting chance.

It's odd, having him "present" again. I have been alone since May.

Except for my sisters. I have called them Tee and Rex .... as in T-Rex, the dinosaur. For they have such puny little hands, compared to my big manhands. Their hands are pathetic. It's hilarious. My sisters real names both start with the same letter. They are kind, wise, wonderful human beings. We have each other. We have each others backs. I would do the same thing for them in a heartbeat. (Heaven forbid I'd ever need to)


Wordgirl said...

Dearest TC,

I love your sisters-- what a gift -- what a thing after all you three had been through together -- I am so, so glad they are there.

Can I borrow them because if I ever did have a baby I'm certain I'd not know what in the world to do with one ;)

It's snowing here, if you can believe that...and here I sit in my kitchen, drinking coffee, sending you warm thoughts and love.



battynurse said...

Your sisters are amazing. I'm so glad your mother was wrong and that you have such a wonderful relationship with them.

AOTexas said...

I'm usually a lurker on your blog, but today I'm a lurker and a LAUGHER! The sausage casserole was hilarious! I love how my sisters "get" me. There's nothing better than histerical laughter with sisters.

aotexas said...

oops, I mean hysterical...

Dora said...

What a bitchy thing for your mother to say. I think my mother is greatly responsible for the lousy relationship I have with my sister. Oh, well. I can only do my part, I can't change my sister.

What wonderful gifts your sisters gave you throughout this, and these tributes to them are also a wonderful gift.

bleu said...

So wonderful to have siblings who you are close to.

So hopeful for Tuesday!!!

MrsSpock said...

Tell your sisters they are fan-fucking-tabulous.

Sausage and Lentil casserole sucks balls. I'd have sent over a slow cooker of homemade French Onion Soup, a loaf of homemade Honey Wheat Bread, and a shitload of Chocolate Chip and Oatmeal Raisin cookies.

Deena said...

In the midst of your 'hell' you had two beakons of light...your sisters rock. So do you. You three are very strong. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. You are definately living testament to that.

PaleMother said...

This was my favorite line today ... usually I can't choose ... but today it's:

"he couldn't decide which flowers to buy me. So he bought them all."

Too right.

Love the photo of you and Tee & Rex. I am ... and will remain ... a lonely only. DH warns me all the time not to romanticize siblinghood. I know not all sibs are a blessing to one another. But still, I wanted one.

I just can't even think of curse phrases worthy of that poisonous comment from your mother. That one must be up there somewhere in the Mt. Bitch Olympus hall of fame. Next to Snow White's poison apple and Brutus' dagger. GAH. If I regret not having a sib, I sure don't regret how the ones I don't have can't be used against me.



Vee said...

They sound like the BESTEST Sisters !
So beautiful.

Geohde said...

:) I love that pic, Mz TC


G$ said...

Omg I am crying with laughter over the Sausage hotpot. W.T.F! Bahahaha

What would I send over? Hmmm, probably just a big bag of chocolate with a permission slip to have it for dinner.

Love to you and the T Rex sisters... omg tiny hands, hahahahahaha

Me said...

My sister is my best friend. And we didn't get along as children either. For totally different reasons. But still. Sisters are the best friend a gal can have.

Vacant Uterus said...

Dude, your seesters are teh AWESOME. They are the best medicine out there, total lifegivers. I hope the three of you rock on till a ripe old age when you terrorize the nursing home!


PS~ You all look beautiful and so, so fun in that photo. I totally want to hang out at your house.

annacyclopedia said...

wow. I knew Tee and Rex rocked it, but now I know how hard. Not just for helping you but for abiding with you and bringing you back. And for knowing how to do that. That is the amazing gift of being loved and deeply known, I think. What a blessing they are!

Tee said...

Dude your sisters sound AMAZING! You are so very very lucky to have them. And they are so so pretty! Especially the one standing up!

Topcat said...

Actually, the one standing up looks like she's about to go dry hump a table leg.

Olga said...

Your sisters rock TC, you're lucky to have such a special bond.

Good luck for Tuesday, I'm sending positive thoughts out to the universe for good outcome. You guys deserve it.


A Free Man said...

The capacity of some folks for human kindness still just amazes me. They're gifts, these folks.

Again, beautifully written.

Pixxiee said...

I love that you have found them. And they have found you. And through all this shit, that this cancer, this pain, has been an opportunity for the three of you to truly love each other.

Thinking of you for tomorrow!

Evil Stepmonster said...

hahahahaha I LOVE that photo!

Thinking of you and Mr TC this week.

Caba said...

Ya know, so many people have expressed to me how amazing it is what I'm doing for my sister. And here's the thing, I don't think it's that amazing. She's my sister. That's what sister's do, we take care of each other. Your sisters ROCK! I'm so glad that you have such an amazing support system. Thinking of you all!

Anonymous said...

Three weeks post surgery, still hurts to laugh... It's a wonder I still have the strength to type this. That was fucking hilarious, TC. I'm so glad you have sisters who are so amazing. Who knew a story peppered with "My husband has CANCER" could be so funny?

Carrie Ann said...

Loved the story. So great that you're so close to your sisters and proved your mom wrong. I gotta say that it's great to find humor during the darkest of times. You made me laugh a lot - but then I kept stopping myself!

tobacco brunette said...

Your sisters - and your relationship with each other - are amazing. I have something similar with my own sister and I'm not sure what I'd do without her. I'm so glad you've been able to lean on them through all this shit you are going through.

I found myself really relating to your last two posts. In fact, I've been thinking about you a lot these last two weeks and this idea of dealing with traumatic news in the wake of a miracle. We're going through that right now and it's a tough balancing act. I hope I will handle it as gracefully as you have, TC.

I'm wondering...did you have the breast pump before Mr. TC's diagnosis? If so, I'm thinking it might be cursed... : )

Korechronicles said...

I have made a couple of attempts to comment and my computer ate them so I am giving the old "third time lucky" a workout.

I just wanted to say how much I loved your last two posts highlighting the wonderful relationship of you and Tee and Rex. While I haven't reached the loathing point of one of your previous commenters, my sisters and I have been estranged since a very ugly period after my mother's death nearly four years ago. You have no idea how much better I feel to know that there are sisters who manage to get it right even when things are going to shit all around them. That said, I do have a wonderful group of soul sisters who have been there for me through the worst of times.

Will be sending the universe good vibes for you all today and hoping the news in nothing but G.O.O.D. good.