Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Man Grunted as He Lifted the Box

The euphemism for a bowel movement in my mother's house when she was a child was "grunt". "Did you go grunt?" Grams would ask the kids. "Do you need to go grunt before we leave?" With four small children in the house by the time Mom started school, no wonder she had no idea the word had any other meaning.

One day in first grade, the class was having a reading lesson and it was Mom's turn. She loved reading, and loved reading aloud, but she scanned ahead in her reader and saw the sentence "The man grunted as he lifted the box," and she was horrified. The man grunted, lifting a box? It must have been a heavy box, and he must have gone in his pants. Mom was shocked, appalled that such a thing would be in a first grade reader. She could not—would not—say that awful word in front of the class and her teacher, though, so she read the sentence through, skipping the obviously scatological verb.

"Elizabeth," said the teacher, "you missed a word."

"I don't know that word," said my mother, looking directly at the teacher with her blue eyes, long blond corkscrew curls waving gently but firmly back and forth.

"Well, you can sound it out."

"I can't." Resolute.

"You can—just try. Grruhhh, come on, repeat after me."

"I cannot." Not giving an inch.

She never did read the word, and I don't know how much time passed before she knew what the dictionary definition was.

Today, the day of my fourth infusion, I have not grunted. I also had a new medication added today—Pamidronate—and my tummy is feeling full and acidy. I am bloated with liquid, too, because I had probably 3 or more liters of saline or dextrose and drugs dripped into my port today. The veins on my hands are distended—an avid phlebotomist would be thrilled to give me an IV. My rings are a bit tight. My pants are a bit tight. And every time I pee (which isn't all that often, surprisingly), it's all very yellow, so I know my kidneys are already working hard. One difficult thing about so much infused liquid is that it doesn't, in fact, make my mouth less thirsty. And for some reason today, my throat is a bit more sore than usual as well. So I'm currently drinking ginger tea with a little honey, trying to settle my stomach and my throat.

The Pamidronate is for bone health. Since my estrogen is being taken away, I'm at a greater risk for osteoporosis. And since Pamidronate strengthens bones, it will also help the chemo get rid of the metastases there. It takes 2 hours to infuse. There is another option, called Zometa, which is evidently newer and takes much less time for infusion, but I tried it twice several years ago and it made me puke. Not acceptable. Still, the Pamidronate isn't exactly easy on the belly. I'd love to be able to just lie down and go to sleep through this, but I'm not tired at all. But the Tylenol PM might just come in handy tonight.

1 comment:

Andrienne said...

What we have here, is a genetic predisposition to constipation designated by one simple word "grunt". Ain't family history grand?