21 Days Later

Almost 21 days since the last chemo, that is, and may it be the last ever… I’ve not got my stamina back yet, but I’m working on it; salads, fresh fruit, and sushi are once again on the menu – hoopla!; and all things move towards their end, albeit slower than I would like in this particular case.

I ended up recovering just enough just in time to help Ron with a rather hideous eviction – merely the fact that it had proceeded to an actual eviction was bad enough; the reality was close enough to worse case scenario that I don’t ever want to do that again. Everything from the eviction process- which ended up involving handcuffs, use of a taser, pepperspray, and the majority of the South Burlington police force- to the incredible debris and damage left behind. It’s our new nadir for rental experiences.

And it was heart rending – the children’s faces smiling up from school photos; their notes and school papers; the girl’s Spanish homework; the notes on custody and foster homes and workbooks on appropriate child discipline; the bills placed in the son’s name– and it was overwhelming – things piled up atop of things, mountains of things; closets of clothes with their tags still on, toys still in the original boxes; electronics and junk and boxes and boxes of pens – and it was immensely disheartening – dogshit in every room; every floor damaged; boxes of rotting things in the basement, the water still running out of them, everything stuck together with mold; insulin and needles left behind in the chaos; open boxes of Cap’n Crunch, packages of Ho-Hos, half eaten food and half empty cans of soda throughout the bedrooms; cigarette burns in the bathroom floors. Pot burns on the counters. Every wall damaged.

The immense waste. On so many levels.

Once the majority of the stuff was cleared- and that took crews of two to four professional movers two full days and a tractor trailer to fit it in – we went at it hammer and tongs; bagging and hauling garbage; sorting out anything that could be recycled or reused; sweeping the floors and cleaning up as best we could. Masks and gloves all the way.

The floors will need to be refinished throughout; the walls repainted… it’s thousands of dollars of damages in less than a year. I did call CPS (Child Protective Services), though I doubt anything will come of it – the children are adolescents, they’re fed and clothed and not in imminent danger of physical harm – but at least I’ve made the call.

Back at my house, re-construction is almost finished – can’t say the timing  was the bestest ever (coming out of chemo and then moving from one chaos zone to the other), but I’m glad enough to have the walls closed before the cold weather. Just the last little bit of sheetrock mudding to be done upstairs and painting – and the painting is well within my capabilities. Then that will be done and dusted, and I can create some form of order here again – it’s been a bit of a bugger, to be sure.

Monday I’ll be back up to hospital, entering the third and final (as far as I’m concerned, and at this moment in time) stage – going for the burn. I’m still waiting to recover from the effects of surgery and chemotherapy: the pulling pain in my left arm; the over riding general fatigue and the specific muscle exhaustion in my legs; the all of it. It would be nice to have hair before winter as well – it’s a wee bit chilly without – but that’s minor as compared to the rest of it.

It’ll be good to have it all behind me, to move on at last from this seemingly interminable state of illness and treatment…  so here’s to the coming of the light!

“When I’m in the Mercy Seat I smile
and lay my weapons down
all I ask is for release
no matter what the cost
there’s only one way
to bring a new day
apply the heat that gently turns
my sickness into health…”

There’s nowhere else to go.*


*Other than Scotland, and I’ve got those tickets – this time I think I’ll use them.


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