desperance: (Default)
[personal profile] desperance
We count the days differently, here in the Clinica Ruiz. Monday was Day Minus Twelve; if today is Wednesday, as I earnestly believe, then it is now Day Minus Ten. Day Zero will be the start of the rest of Karen's life, when she receives her stem cell transplant. The countdown from now to then is all about preparing for that day.

Monday was a day of driving back and forth all over Puebla, for measurements and tests and consultations in numerous clinics and hospitals. I have been in three cities - Taipei, Seoul and Mexico City - each of which I was assured had the worst traffic in the world. Puebla's is certainly not a competitor, and yet... I'm not actually actively scared out there, because our driver is awesome and native to this place, but it ain't good for me. I get hypervigilant and stressy, when cars are flying at us from all angles and seemingly with no regard for their own likely survival let alone ours.

My prime task here as Karen's caregiver is to keep her fed. Given that I've been doing that for the last five years or more, I was weirdly stressed about having to do it here - strange city, strange language, strange kitchen, strange foods, yadda yadda, not to mention how the treatments may affect Karen's appetite or internal economy - but I have found my happy place. The kitchen is no better than I had expected and in some ways rather worse - I have never before encountered a corkscrew that is actually not capable of opening a bottle of wine - but the shopping situation is much, much better. Just around the corner from our apartment is a store called Mega, which appears to sell everything. Certainly it sells enough to keep me happy and active for a month. I have no idea how much money I'm actually spending, but I've decided not to care. So far I've been to Mega three times in two days (including one emergency dash for a corkscrew, which I did of course not know the Spanish word for, but my mime of a man opening a bottle of wine was apparently outstanding: the nice guy I performed it for smiled broadly, practically took me by the hand and led me all the way across store, from the wine section to the kitchenwares. Me, I think they're missing a marketing opportunity: a few fancy corkscrews distributed among the wines, cigars and fancy charcuterie would find a ready sale, I suspect), and I expect to go back on a pretty much daily basis. I love it there. They have whole aisles of gourmet food, imported from all over.

Yesterday (Day Minus 11) we got to meet the great Dr Ruiz himself. He was professionally charming, swift and efficient: everything was fine, so treatment could commence immediately. Happily the same was true for the others in our group (we are Group One, so obviously best, and there are four pair of us: a couple from Aruba, a couple from Florida, an aunt-and-nephew pair from Norway, and ourselves) so we all trooped up to the chemo room for the infusions thereof.

Nobody's hair fell out, nobody threw up, nothing nasty appeared to happen at all. Two hours of actual chemo was followed by three hours of something designed to protect various internal parts from damage. I finished a Crater School chapter, Karen read, everybody except me talked quite a bit. It's a bonding experience, this whole thing, a community effort. Which I guess is partly the point of dividing us up into small groups. Us and our driver just exactly fit into our van, and we're all in the same accommodation block. Once we're settled into the rhythm of the thing, I anticipate wild parties up on the roof terrace.

Today we're back in the chemo room for a second treatment, the same drugs over the same five-hour stretch; but after that we're free for the day. And the really good news of last night was that our luggage finally reached us, after three days without. We get to wear our own actual clothes again, rather than whatever-we-could-find-in-Mega; and in my case, for I am an idiot, I get to take my own actual medications again, hey-ho. Hereinafter Softly shall take charge of those, in my carry-on bag. When in doubt, rely on the teddy bear, that's what I say.

My first intent, on returning to the apartment this afternoon, is to sharpen the bloody kitchen knives, I am just sayin'.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-10-11 07:32 pm (UTC)
rachelmanija: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rachelmanija
I'm glad the chemo has been easy so far.

So what are you cooking?

(no subject)

Date: 2017-10-12 01:02 am (UTC)
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alfreda89
Oh, yes--meds and even critical supplements in the carry on. And one pair of underwear that can dry overnight. Glad to hear the clothes arrived and the Mega is wonderful.

Sympathies on the knives. I thought my sister had Dad's knives, so left mine at home. Big mistake. She scarcely cooks and has Ginsu serrated variations. *sob*

Thinking massively positive thoughts for you!

(no subject)

Date: 2017-10-11 08:42 pm (UTC)
acanthusleaf: (Default)
From: [personal profile] acanthusleaf
This all sounds splendid! I shall duly report to Mary Ellen later this afternoon. This is exactly the kind of update I want to hear, detailed and positive. Also I want to hear more about the gourmet food.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-10-12 06:23 am (UTC)
brooksmoses: (Default)
From: [personal profile] brooksmoses
Wow, that bacon does sound amazing. As does the stir-fried shrimp you're making it with.

The cafe in the building I used to work in (until last week) would occasionally do a pasta carbonara, cooked in pans in front of you while you waited in line for it, with housemade pasta, using dice-sized cubes of bacon. It was really good stuff, and I am sad that I am no longer in their building.

I'm really glad to hear things are going well! You're also missing some truly awful air quality here from the Sonoma county wildfires. The light this morning approximated the light levels during the eclipse, and there is much itchiness of nose.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-10-11 11:28 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] martianmooncrab
rely on the teddy bear

good idea, I always take my meds in my carryon, I have lost luggage before..

thanks for the updatery, and the shopping commentary, reminds me of being in Italy... (points and mimes)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-10-12 08:04 am (UTC)
sovay: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sovay
Nobody's hair fell out, nobody threw up, nothing nasty appeared to happen at all.

I am glad to hear it was not a rude introduction. Also that you have good things to cook for Karen with. Will there be pictures?

(no subject)

Date: 2017-10-12 08:44 am (UTC)
themis1: Lightning (Default)
From: [personal profile] themis1
I'm glad things are going well so far. If hair falls out, heck, good excuse for extravagant hat wearing. Not sure if the wearing or the hat is extravagant, mind you.

As for drugs in hand luggage, oh dear me yes, but do also carry a copy of your prescription to avoid arguements at customs. Also you may have to put them in your 'liquids' bag for customs purposes. Air travel is becoming increasingly complicated :-S (The only airport to date that has lost my luggage was Chicago, transferring to a smaller plane to go to Lansing for a convention, oh so many years ago when travel from the UK to the US was an annual thing for me.)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-10-12 09:37 am (UTC)
shewhomust: (Default)
From: [personal profile] shewhomust
I finished a Crater School chapter,

Glad you are able to work. Can we expect to see more of the Sanatorium in future chapters?

Why do I also find the image of you sharpening kitchen knives reassuring? That can't be right - and yet...

Kay sends her regards, by the way.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-10-12 05:20 pm (UTC)
al_zorra: (Default)
From: [personal profile] al_zorra
My mom's chemo caused her to completely lose her appetite, which was bad as she wasn't then, of course, not eating, and she needed the nourishment.

What actually tempted her was very sour stuff. And very dry white wine -- something she had never drunk in her life, as where I grew up wasn't a wine culture of any kind. Wine was for communion, period.

I'm just passing this on for future reflection, if necessary.

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