I’ve been home from the hospital for two days now.
Realization #1: Even I underestimated the sheer joy of being back in the space i have created for myself – a space complete with pets who love me and want to try to help me heal, 1200-thread count sheets, an oversized bath tub with a dozen essential oils and bubble bath options, and roommates who are compassionate and genuine and dedicated to my recovery. Several times these past two days, i have found myself tearing up over this realization.
Realization #2: I might actually die. I’m not trying to sound morbid, and i’m not giving up this fight. But on Friday night, i was sitting on a fake grass patch in my backyard, petting Bowie, listening to the wind blow, and staring mesmerized at how the street light contrasted the black sky with the the yellow flowers on these two trees, and it hit me: Tarah, you might not make it. I didn’t cry (like i’m doing now). I didn’t get angry. I just accepted this truth that steamrolled into my mind and tried to memorize that moment, with the wind and the blackness and the yellow flowers and the heat of the night and the fur moving under my hand. I’m not sure if i had previously accepted this possibility on the level that i did Friday night … but something about that moment definitely felt different.
Realization #3: I forgot that i should be taking medical marijuana. After my several rounds of kind-of-failed experimenting with the drug, i decided to stick to cannabis that only had CBD compounds. The CBD compounds are the ones linked to (1) pain relief and (2) shrinking cancer cells. I was ingesting CBD oil daily for a couple months, until i ran out. Shortly after that, i was admitted into the hospital, and – since July 7 – i have been prescribed to take 10 mg of oxycodone and 650 mg of acetaminophen every 4 hours, every day, for the past 3 weeks. I have seriously been stressing out about consuming this much of an addictive pain medication. There are times when i try to skip doses – like before bedtime, or during conference workshops in Tucson last weekend, or prior to driving to the hospital for my treatments … and in all this time, i completely forgot about a much better, much SAFER option: CBD cannabis. Thank you, Azure, for reminding me about this today. I will be making a trip to the dispensary within the next 24 hours.
Concern #1: Well, it was about the possibility of becoming addicted to oxycodone, but Azure helped turn this concern into a realization. All good here.
Concern #2: Work. Always work. I checked out of the hospital so that i could attend a professional development conference in Tucson from July 16-20. My doctors were not happy about that; in fact, they threatened to tell my insurance company that they didn’t authorize my release, which would have made me liable for the whole bill. I left anyway (and they were bluffing). I knew i wasn’t healthy and strong enough to leave the hospital, drive to Tucson for a conference, and then spend Monday and Tuesday driving back and forth from Tucson to Phoenix like Mrs. Fucking Doubtfire, trying to be in two places at once. I did it anyway because my bosses are assholes, and they don’t care that i have cancer, and they don’t care that i have staph infection, and they don’t care that i’m struggling with my health right now. All they care about is the burden and inconvenience and financial losses i’m costing them. So i went to that conference, then drove back to Phoenix and readmitted myself into the hospital as soon as i finished my last conference workshop. Now, it’s Sunday. I’m expected to return to work tomorrow. Dr. Walsh made me promise that i wouldn’t go back while i still have this drain in me, due to my high risk of infection, and the drain isn’t expected to come out until Monday or Tuesday. She also said she doesn’t want me going back to work for another week. … but i have already missed a week of work, and these kids are not learning what they’re supposed to with subs everyday, and these absences are further proving to my bosses that i am not capable of doing my job anymore, and my last paycheck was $400 short because of my hospitalization, and my next paycheck will be even worse if i miss another week, and i keep dipping into my savings for medical expenses so i only have $1300 left in my savings account, and i have to hire a lawyer in the next month or else i am going to miss my window of opportunity to sue ADJC for discrimination … and i really don’t know what to do. I know what everyone keeps telling me to do: focus on my health. Of course, that makes the most sense on paper. But in reality, i have to factor in bills and health insurance and quality of life, and all that makes the decision less obvious, less cut and dry.