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How’s Dad’s eyeball?

September 14, 2009

I’m feeling okay today. Saturday was terrible after another dose of Zometa on Friday, which I get once a month along with the Abraxane. The Zometa is intended to address the spread of cancer to the bones, and one of the side-effects is flu-like symptoms — body aches, fever, chills — which I got in spades on Saturday.  Last time I had those symptoms for two days, so having them for only one day is an improvement. The additional side effect of bone pain appears to be slightly milder this time, so maybe my body is adjusting to this particular poison.

This morning I took the dogs for a walk and, when I got back, I got out the lint roller and cleaned the hair off the sofa — my hair, not the dogs’. At this rate I should just yell “get off!” when I jump up on the furniture. At least I don’t use the sofa pillows to prop my stinky chew toys (I use those on the floor) and I don’t often drool, beg for treats, or roll in obnoxious things outside.

Despite the massive shedding, I still have an acceptable amount of hair if you assume I’m a woman with a thyroid problem — baldness and wigs likely in a week or two.

Since I felt fairly well yesterday, since it was a gorgeous day, and since I’ve been craving pure oxygen, Hank suggested we three head to Puget Sound to get some fresh air. That was truly a wonderful idea, as the number of people who had the same idea attested.

One of the delights of walking along in a crowd is, of course, overheard snippets of conversation. At least it is one of my favorite things. We heard a doozy yesterday. Someone behind us said very loudly to his companion…..

“How’s Dad’s eyeball?”

We resisted the urge to turn around and stare, but I’m afraid we snickered enough that we didn’t find out the status of Dad’s eyeball.

There were other little snippets yesterday, not having to do with overheard conversations. The fresh smell of Puget Sound brought little snippets of memory — playing on the drift logs with my brothers and sisters, a short walk once when I had a little extra time between work and someplace else I had to be — just 30-second mundane snippets that nobody ever thought would end up being such a vivid memory. I could even taste the bologna sandwiches we had one day as a family at Seahurst Beach 40-odd years ago.

A couple of months ago I played one of my Dad’s favorite CDs of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. Immediately I could taste the potatoes he wrapped up and baked in the barbecue, and I could see him standing there, flipping steaks and hear him whistling along with the tunes.

Smells, tastes, and sounds are powerful memory triggers, which is why one of the things I resent most about chemo is that it messes with how things smell and how they taste. Besides that, five years ago chemo also knocked out quite a bit of the high and low ranges of my hearing, which has never come back. This time it seems to be eating a bit more into my mid-range. That means I won’t be able to have as much fun with overheard dialogue unless I can scratch together enough money for hearing aids.

To make matters more “delightful,” one the side effects of Abraxane that I have not (yet) experienced is “vision problems.” So, very soon my family could be walking along the beach when suddenly one will turn to the other and say….

How’s Mom’s eyeball?

Weirder things have happened.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. Cristina permalink
    September 14, 2009 11:42 am

    Losing the mid-range could open up a wide range of auditory mis-understandings. Some of them funny…some of them awkward.
    You’ll just have to speak up when something doesn’t make sense or just sounds too wild to be true. I’m sure you’ve seen my face when that happens. Conversation is just humming along when I suddenly get a bewildered expression– that’s when I have realized that someone said something and I’m not sure if it’s me or if the other person really did say that scandalous comment….
    Thank goodness and ADA for captions.

    • Jill permalink
      September 14, 2009 1:05 pm

      I have seen that look on your face during a few meetings, and you’re a champion lip reader too. We’ll have to speak to the Dutch about re-naming Fokker, eh?

      • Cristina permalink
        September 14, 2009 2:43 pm

        You mean it is not pronounced “fohker?” LOL

    • Mina permalink
      September 16, 2009 11:02 am

      One of my FAVORITE Seinfeld episodes is “The Lip Reader.” The craziness that ensues because George wants to know what he’s ex-girlfriend is saying about him! Google the episode if you enjoy Seinfeld humor, and if you don’t maybe you’ll like this episode in particular.

  2. mom permalink
    September 14, 2009 12:46 pm

    I hate to comment on this but get out the insurance policies and see what they say about how they pay for this kind of hearing loss. Having been in the OSHA part of this situation, you have a case my dear daughter.

    • Jill permalink
      September 14, 2009 1:07 pm

      Oh! Good idea. I will talk with someone about that, but I think I’ll have to wait until after chemo is finished so my ears settle in to whatever damage they’re going to end up with. Or maybe I shouldn’t wait. I don’t know much about hearing aids.

      • Cristina permalink
        September 14, 2009 2:41 pm

        Oh, yes, do document the progress so the hearing loss can conclusively be blamed on the chemo. Insurance companies will do anything they can to wiggle out of hearing aids. They might blame it on a congenital case of middle-age hearing loss. “Why?” you might ask. Hearing Aids are not a one-time purchase. They’re like cars; they need to be replaced periodically when they stop performing to your requirements, and you get what you pay for. The $500 models are like econo cars, not much horsepower and not many features. Oh, and it’s important to clarify if prices are per ear or total…

        If you need someone to go with or drive you to the audiologist, I’m your gal… 🙂

    • Jill permalink
      September 15, 2009 7:40 am

      Okay, okay. I will make an appointment with the place that did my last hearing test. I will do it soon. I have to figure out a time when I have enough energy to sit through their testing, which can take a while.

  3. Lisa permalink
    September 14, 2009 1:56 pm


    I wouldn’t wait. I’d get a test now and one at the conclusion of treatment as a way to guage the here and now (or is that hear *grin*). Seriously though, goodness knows the government loves documentation and the more the better.

    Said by the woman who has spent all morning reading about ADA 😉 I think I will become very obnoxious soon or more so as I continue my studies.

    Glad to hear an update. As usual, your humor is a never ending source of inspiration and motivates me through another day. Continued prayers!

    • Jill permalink
      September 15, 2009 7:41 am

      Hi, Lisa. Enjoy that reading!

  4. mom permalink
    September 14, 2009 7:00 pm

    I will give you my hearing aids and get new ones. They need cleaning but are VERY functional. Can we make a deal? And gettina a test now is most important, I agree with that statement. my hearing aids can be programmed to be used in different ways for different people. I need new ones. ANd yes, I too am a lip reader. Aren’t we having fun?

    • Jill permalink
      September 15, 2009 7:44 am

      Let’s wait until after the testing. You remember my funky little elf/Spock ears, right? Who did I inerhit those from? Maybe Dad’s Irish background had a leprechaun in it. I have a hard time even with glasses sitting on them… and stuff IN them drives me completely batty.

      • Annette permalink
        September 15, 2009 9:45 am

        The new hearing aids are “open ear” technology, which means they don’t stuff your ear all up (I hate that too) making you completely dependent on batteries to receive sound but instead use your natural hearing for what its good for and a very small microphone for the range of sounds you’re not getting on your own. They’re infinitely more comfortable than the old ones.

      • Cristina permalink
        September 18, 2009 7:55 am

        There is one caveat with “open-ear” technology. It is for a limited range of hearing loss– mild to moderate. If the hearing loss is more severe, then it is beyond the capabilities of the “open-ear” and one needs the earmold type.
        Hearing aids are like contacts– once you get used to them, you forget they’re there…

  5. mom permalink
    September 15, 2009 6:40 pm

    my dear, I have another comment not to do with your chemo but with sight and sounds of the past. Your comments about Dad brought back the same measurement to me of seeing him at the barbecue and hearing his favorite tunes. It is hard to let go and I am not sure I ever can. Your writings and snippets are helping me to deal with his loss a lot. Thank You so much. Keep it up for the future of Jill and her family. It is mightly important to all of us.

  6. Lisa Welch permalink
    September 23, 2009 6:49 am

    I had to lol about “Dad’s eyeball”. Every time Nat and I are in Aeropostale (at the mall), we laugh and remember the time we were there and heard the woman in line behind us ask her daughter, “Do you still wear those thongs?”

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