Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"It's the little things"...

"Sunday is a day of rest". Well I finally took the advise and rested. Zack was to go with Frank and work for a couple of hours on the indoor water feature, but his leg is still in bad shape, so he stayed home and rested along with me. 

We sat on the couch and love seat and picked one movie after another. We went from old black and white movies, to action, to comedy back to action. It was so nice just to sit and relax and enjoy one on one time with my son. It was raining outside so I never once felt guilty about taking the time to sit and do absolutely nothing.

Monday, was an exciting day at work. I put out a spread of goodies and apple cider as a Holiday treat for our clients. I love setting up little treats, it's fun to see peoples faces and their appreciation for thinking of them. It's all about the little things, that's one thing I have known for years and continue to believe.

Zack's leg was not in any better shape. I wanted to bring him to the clinic today, but he asked me to please just wait until Tuesday, since we were going to be there anyway. He continued to work on his schoolwork. We were so proud when we received an email from his English teacher telling us he made an 89 on his Senior paper. She said considering the criteria he did an excellent job and we should all be proud of him. Of course under the circumstances the fact that he finished it is what I'm thrilled with. He doesn't know it yet, but the teachers have given him an extension on his schoolwork until they return in January, so.... will keep everyone posted. I personally want a piece of paper in front of me stating that he has completed all courses and will graduate!!!

I had an emotional evening. I find that there are changes in some friendships. I seem to get on people nerves more.I'm not sure if I'm talking too much about what we are going through or not enough. I am very confused and try and fix the relationships, but I am reminded by my very intelligent son "If someone doesn't want to be your friend anymore, show them the door, you don't need added stress right now." Well I can't exactly show the door, I am a type of person that becomes very attached to my friends and when I invest in relationships it is 100%. Of course, we all have "off" days and are not able to be there as much as we would like to be, but I try and make up for those days.  What I must learn is that some things are out of my control and it takes two people to have a relationship.

Zack and I  had a nice relaxing evening once I returned home from work. Frank is still working on the indoor garden feature so he doesn't make it home until 9 pm. I  had purchased monogrammed small key chain coin purses and photo albums attached to key chains for all the staff at the Cancer Center as Christmas gifts. It is just a small token of our appreciation for how they have taken such good care of Zack. I acquired a list with all the names of each staff member, so each item had their initial for that personal touch.  I purchased small bright colored foil bags, bows and silver tissue paper to wrap all their gifts.  Zack and Frank thought it was pretty neat looking, so if they liked it I know the staff will be pleased. I put them in a box for transport, loaded up my laptop and bills and had everything ready on the table for Tuesday's trip to the Cancer Center.

It is now Tuesday morning. We are expected at the center for week one of chemo. When I say week one, it is always the first treatment of the month, followed by the second week of chemo and the third is usually the hospital week. Well, that's what we "thought". Since Zack is close to reaching the lifetime max of the doxorubicin (the red chemo that makes him the most sick), he is not getting that for a couple of weeks. They want to spread out the treatments more now, which should provide some relief for Zack. Today was the "mild" chemo treatment. "Mild", but he still get nauseous ,usually not as long lasting as with the other medicine. He was given three units of IV fluids before beginning the treatment. 

Rhonda came early and stayed the entire day with us. At first I wasn't sure if "we" wanted company. On days like this, I come fully prepared to do bookkeeping, make calls and rest. Zack and I were in such bad moods when we first arrived, I wasn't sure she was going to feel welcome. Zack was just pissed about being there again and I was just pissed at the world. I find that I'm still trying to get into everybody's head and it just doesn't work , not to mention it's driving me crazy in the process. By the time Rhonda arrives, we start to loosen and have a better attitude. Zack is watching "Ink Master", a show where several tattoo artist compete for the $100,000 prize and title of feature article in "Inked Magazine". Today they are showing the entire series and tonight will be the Finale. He got Rhonda totally hooked on the show to the point where we had to rush back after lunch to see the next episode. It was kind of funny actually. She and I grabbed lunch at Neo, a local Mexican restaurant (which has delicious food) near Biltmore Estate, just down from the Center. We picked something up for him and luckily by the time we returned he was hungry.

While they were watching the show, I took a short nap, in between calling the billing departments at the Hospital, Radiation, Cancer Center and Anesthesiologist and then credit agencies that have all either sent collection letters or phone calls. Luckily I keep very tight records (which is a must when you get five - ten bills daily). Most were supposed to file with insurance and then send us new balances, There were still several that had not submitted to the insurance company, so we arranged to get that current. Those that have most EOB's ( Explanation of Benefits) back with balances are willing to work with us, I was able to talk with them all and ask them for a payment plan.  There is also something called "Charity" where they charge based on your income. I interviewed over the phone as they filled out the same documents that I had filled out with the local hospital where Zack first had his surgery. At least I felt that "they" heard me and are willing to work with us. I'm not sure any hospital expects payment in full from anyone and God bless anyone that could pay in full. Once finished with all the calls, I at least felt like I was back in control.

The rest of the day was spent watching the shows, and getting the scheduling filled in for the next few weeks. Zack had gone to the restroom and came back showing me the back of his leg. His burn had leaked through his clothes and stained them. I went out to get the nurse and asked her to take a look at it. She did, then she got the doctor, who asked the Radiation nurse to come upstairs and offer her input into how to treat the burn. They all concur that it is healing very well, but must be covered to allow it to continue to heal. He is also put on antibiotics. At first I protest, but then the Doctor explains how with chemo and the radiation, his immune system is low and the possibility of infection is high. After explaining this, we agree to go ahead with the antibiotics. This is not normal circumstances we are dealing with, but I will always question why. We are given various types of gauze including petroleum covered gauze that will not stick to the sore. Because we have not been successful at having the gauze stay on the sore, (trying paper tape and cloth tape didn't work either) we were given a special leg gauze that Zack can slip up on his thigh and will hold it in place. Everything they gave us can not be found in the local pharmacy so I'm glad I asked for additional help. 

It is 6:30 pm and we have been there for 9 1/2 hours. We walk with Rhonda out to our cars, hug each other goodbye and can't wait to get home. I have set up the TV to record the shows that we are not able to see while traveling. Once we arrive home, we immediately turn on the TV and continue watching the shows. Frank is home after having worked on the indoor feature a couple of hours before our arrival, so we share the days events. He is excited that we don't have to spend New Years Eve in the Hospital, we don't have the "heavy" chemo for a couple of weeks and that we finally have what is needed to treat his wound properly.  We are just celebrating the little things!

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