Here’s the set up. They monitor my urine here. The total cost of my stay to the insurance company will probably be around $250,000, but to the people that have to dump my collected urine, that cost is far too low. They need to know how much my output is keeping pace with my input so no toilet for me; it’s a series of random jugs, some of them placed bedside in the middle of the night, some elsewhere. I’m the Easter Bunny of pee.
The nurses or support staff find my hidden treasures, measure them, then dump them out. There’s a special spot in Valhalla for the ones that have to do it most often. Keep reading; the payoff is approaching.
Amazing Nurse Melissa, quoted earlier in this blog, was attending to my daily medications and IV drips and all when she stepped into the bathroom only to find a few empty jugs. “Hmmm,” she thought, “has Rodney slowed down his output?” And here’s what she asked.
“Did somebody dump urine on you today?”
Never let it be said that I’m not an opportunist. I know sometimes I make inappropriate jokes or laugh in the face of cancer. A “golden” opportunity like that just screams for a comeback. But I whiffed. I think my response was, “Oh, I didn’t realize we were in one of those relationships, you and I.”
Yeah, lame. But I think I get one or two style points for hearing the double entendre. She immediately exploded with laughter and her nurse helper also began to roar. I’m the first to laugh at my own jokes so I was actually clutching my infected belly because it hurt to laugh like that.
“And there we have it,” she said. “We have now degraded our medical relationship to the point of Golden Showers.”
Is laughter the best medicine? So much of cancer recovery, and indeed any type of healing is how you look at it. I’ve been told by medical professionals that attitude accounts for as much as 85% when it comes to the difference between success and failure. If you stop to consider that number, (I’ve even heard higher by someone I dearly respect), you can’t help but be slapped in the face with an enormous wake up call. If attitude is everything, why in the name of everything that’s dear and near would you be negative or grumpy or pessimistic or glum?
Oh I know why, because it’s freakin’ cancer we’re talking about here folks and cancer is negative and glum. No, I’m not saying that all it takes is to smile and ignore the scary stuff or that people who succumb to the disease somehow failed. Definitely not. What I am saying is nurses and doctors and even the cleaning folks can tell when someone checks into a ward who is most likely to whip the disease and who is going to have a significantly more difficult time.
I’ve spewed a lot of crazy stuff across this website ever since I was diagnosed. And let’s face it, I was even crazier beforehand. But the one takeaway for each of you — whether you’re that entire retirement community down in Brevard, North Carolina who collectively read this or my incredibly creative former students who still write me with mind-blowing talent — is simply to push the positive.
It’s like calisthenics sometimes, making yourself cross over to the sunny side of the street. But scientists have actually measured how new neuron pathways get created by thinking about something differently. If your response to a boss, an illness, your in-laws or the Lions is continually a predictable path, then simply thinking differently about them can permanently re-wire your brain.
That’s some heady stuff, (literally). Thinking makes it so. Attitude is everything. Doctors say healing is mostly mental. It almost sounds like magical thinking but you’ll hear this confirmed by an enormous number of professionals.
Okay, so it’s night time now and there’s an anthropomorphic four person race for the title of “What’s screwing with Rodney the most?” In last place is the insane gut disease which is so contagious, visitors have to wear gowns and gloves when they enter my room. It’s running neck and neck with my brother’s stem cells which are finding their way through the dark and bumping into things here and there. All in all, those two puppies are inconsequential.
In the top two positions are the neupogen shots which explode my bones so Scott’s cells can settle into their new double-wide and still bring along their 70s albums and even a crate or two of 8-track tapes, (I want to tell him that Foghat, Nazareth and J. Geils Live at Cobo Hall would sound equally good as MP3s but I’m far too polite a host to deny my blood brother some personal keepsakes). And the first-place favorite is mucositis, a mouth and throat disease so painful it feels like I sleepwalked down to a River Rouge foundry, grabbed a Dixie cup full of molten steel and swallowed it on a bar bet.
Through this all, do I remain positive and upbeat? Hell no, didn’t you read the part about exploding bones? No man, this stuff is painful. But as I reach over and grab the dental appliance which sucks spit out of my mouth so I don’t have to swallow it I realize this too shall pass. It’s only for now.
In the meantime though, no, only a moron would look at my incandescent tummy through rose colored gasses