Things move fast in Memphis these days… Thursday afternoon Summer got out of her last appointment at St. Jude and sent me to the car. Like a good valet, I pulled up the front door and retrieved my rider. On the way back to Target House, we talked and I asked what she wanted to do since we were done early. “I would love to go home” was her answer. Typically, we would have a green light… But this weekend was complicated. We actually had plans for Mark and Tammy to come down with Angela on Friday night and spend the weekend hanging out until I had to head home with them on Sunday. If we came home… It would screw up all the plans!
As fun as that was going to be. I figured that Mark and Tammy would be OK if we told them that we were coming home and it would save them the responsibility of transporting Angela and I back and forth. They were fine. We hijacked the weekend plans and rushed back to the apartment to pack.
I was slightly disappointed for food’s sake. I had gone grocery shopping three times last week. I had food to cook in the fridge. Summer and I also talked about hitting a different taco shop in Memphis for Birria tacos and quesadillas. Man! I love the thought of getting out of Memphis… But I am going to miss the opportunities to keep trying new places. I mentioned to Summer that I never got my Cafe Con Leche this visit. We looked at each other and knew instantly that we were going to get coffee at Ramblin Joes before we left town. We muddled through busy downtown traffic and a wicked 4-way interaction accident to get to the coffee shack. After a confusing few minutes with the baristas… I ended up with TWO coffees!!!! TWO! I have joked in the past that I could drink a gallon of this Cuban specialty with sugar, cinnamon, and milk. I will walk that back and tell you that two 10oz cups are just about too much.
Summer did manage to get me to drop her off in Carbondale (big shocker). I was excited to make the trip home because I thought I Was doing a straight light back to Tremont. Not so. Summer wanted to be dropped off at the apartment and she was going to Nate’s Dads’s birthday on Saturday in Decatur.
I took a long way home up the backroads and watched as the temps as they dropped from 74 in Carbondale to 48 in Hillsboro. Side note.. I stopped somewhere between to get some “pulling salve” that Billie had told me about for the glass splinter that has been bugging me since I grazed my finger on that windshield shard a few weeks ago. I had been sitting on the couch squeezing my finger every night of this trip to the disgust of my daughter. I heard about this magic “balm” that is supposed to draw out splinters and such with just a little goop and patience. I needed a break and stopped at a Walmart in the middle of nowhere. Vandalia? I have no idea.
I got out of the car and had to dig in the trunk for my coat! I was now experiencing a nearly 40-degree temp change!
Once inside, I stopped by the personal health and hygiene area and looked all over for the balm. No dice. I did the unthinkable. I asked for help at the Pharmacy consult door. I told the young lady what I was looking for and she knew exactly what it was. “You are looking for PRID?”. Yeah, I think that was it. The other pharmacist was called in to help find it. Apparently, it’s not a hot seller, but they keep it behind the counter. In the meantime, the pharmacy tech proceeded to tell me that is a great product. “My Grandma used to put it on my face when I would have acne flare-ups as a kid”.
She was so nice… I listened and nodded. This stuff must be magic. Honestly, her complexion looked pretty good!
Once in the car, I opened the tin of medical shoe polish and stuck my thumb in it. I couldn’t read the directions because they were written in microscopic text.
I got home around 8 PM Thursday night to an empty house. Angela was in Chicago at a work conference… I was just me and the cats. I fed them and covered my thumb in more PRID. Tonight, I would have my own bed by myself! Sleep was going to be glorious!
Our indoor cat had other plans. She was already quite pleased to have me home because Angela was gone all week. She paced back and forth through my legs every time I was walking around the house. All night, she climbed on top of me to make sure I was real. I could feel her whiskers on my face throughout the night. CREEPY!
I went to work Friday still exhausted from lack of sleep!
Sunday, Summer came up from Decatur and met Angela and Grammy, and Grampy for lunch. I was in Chicago with Aiden, George and Alex. We hit a game convention and bought some records. It was a fun boys’ day out. Summer caught up with her friend Sam while in Tremont and then here and Angela boarded the car for Memphis on Monday.
On our way back to Carbondale, Summer jumped me about Easter plans. I told her that I have no idea about what we had planned. It all was fluid with her remaining treatment. She told me in no uncertain terms that she was going to be out of Memphis every weekend through the end of treatment. Those are strong words!
While we were talking Summer told me a story about some kids who gave her and Nate a “look” of disapproval. You know how kids are. Summer said she gave them her evil cancer-guilt stare and they all looked away awkwardly. It was funny… And painful… And powerful. I thought about Summer and how tough she has been through this process while I was driving home alone after dropping her off in Carbondale. Whether driving back from Champaign or Pekin… I notice this alone times in the car are the hardest times to be trapped inside your own head. I came home and wrote a quick note on Facebook about her strength. It resonated with so many people. Thanks.
Sunday, I was sure the PRID has not been working because I working for 3 days with no glass coming out of my finger. To be honest… Something was happening… The black spot had come up to the top of my thumb flesh. But that happened by Friday night and I felt like nothing was happening. Sunday, I was standing in the living room giving my thumb a squeeze and saw a glint of sparkle at my wound. That was weird. I kept squeezing and I didn’t feel any more pain. Did it leave? Did it dig deeper in my finger?
I am now sure that it exited my finger during the living room “squeeze”. This now leads me to believe that I will soon get a glass splinter in my foot at some point this summer when I am barefoot!
Summer’s health continues to improve. Her appetite is nearly normal. Now we just need her muscles and balance to come back. Then I can feel better about making plans for the family vaca. These last two months have set themselves up as a cakewalk for our warrior… But we still have MRI’s and Scans to go before we are done with St. Jude. Nothing is easy when you are dealing with these stakes. I will keep everyone updated as we get more news about Summer’s progress.