Tuesday afternoon we had our first visitors at home after Brian's operation. They stayed for an hour and we fed them coffee and offered Southern banana pudding (they demurred). It was nice having someone visit and it cheered us up and helped to alleviate the sameness. On the other hand, they stayed just the right length of time for Brian's strength. Again, we thank all the people out there who have been so kind to us.
One of our children is coming to Ecuador in February. It's a touchstone for us right now. She's only coming for 2 weeks but we're planning on going to the coast during that time and continually planning things that she'll like to see in Cuenca while she's here. We're looking forward to seeing Ecuador through the eyes of a newcomer and of course, simply looking forward to seeing our child. Someone just reminded us that when she's coming is the beginning of Carnival in Ecuador. We'd originally thought she'd be coming just after Carnival and it was a bit of a shock (and of course good news) that she would be here during Carnival. We however, felt we should quickly make hotel reservations in Quito for the night she arrives. After a small bit of anxiety, making the reservation was no problem. With Brian's operation and the subsequent fall out, looking forward to our child's visit is one of the things that makes it easy to go forward.
We've had more contact with the kids lately because of Brian's operation and that's a comfort too. Your children, not always the paragons of society you fantasized about while they were in the womb or when you too were a child, but still your blood and soul, and you love them deeply. There's a comfort there that makes up for the terrible 2's and the horrifying teenage years & life in general. These are things we didn't necessarily feel we'd find in retirement but are so grateful that we have.
Wednesday Brian was able to traverse the total short Fredi walk; down the street, across the bridge, up the street, across another bridge and then back down the street to our apartment. He was tired when we got home but not unduly so. The main problem is irritation from the catheter and there's not much that can be done about that until it's removed. They told him 21 days from the date of the operation so removal should be in about a week. It's one of those flip a coin things; it'll be a relief to have it removed but the removal itself will hurt.
Thursday Shelley had minor chores downtown, so she and Fredi headed off in the morning to get them done. Before leaving, we calculated approximately how long it would take to walk downtown and get the chores done and be half way home again. Brian had decided to get dressed and attempt to meet Shelley on her return trip. This was a success. He now figures he's going to try to walk downtown on Sunday and take a cab back home after seeing the sights (if any) in the main square. Again...his energy is coming back (although he's still on soup & juice; albeit with avocado & soaked buns thrown in) so, the main hurdle to overcome, getting back to our regular routine, is having the catheter removed and finding out about any possible radiation therapy.
Another couple came over on Thursday afternoon bringing home-made brownies and wished us well. We fed them coffee & Southern banana pudding. There's a special on banana pudding in this house as Shelley had made up a big batch thinking Brian would be able to eat it, but he couldn't. We had a wonderful couple of hours catching up with each other and talking about the things that are new. After they left, Brian actually ate a half a bun with ham on it, so we know now for sure he's on the mend!
The next morning sitting in his chair Brian told Shelley: "I'm not looking forward to this Doctor's appointment. I was stoic & brave & not whiny & now if they tell me I have to have radiation...I just don't want it to happen."
Shelley got down on her knees and put her head in Brian's lap and stoked his hand and we talked about having to do things whether you wanted to or not, and the timing of his radiation (if he has to have it) co-ordinated with our daughter's visit in February, and that essentially he's going to be OK, and that how being sick is a drag and...you know...other things.
You can't talk everything out. Some things just have to be seen through, but sometimes talking helps a little. After Brian had left the apartment, closed the door & punched the down button on the elevator, Shelley rushed out and down the hall: "It'll be OK" she told him.
"I know" he answered.
Two and a half hours later Shelley began to worry. Fredi perked up, presumably every time she heard the elevator, and between the 2 of them, the pacing became silly. Finally Brian arrived home 2 1/2 hours after his appointment time. It was good news! Brian burst through the door and while dealing with Fredi climbing all over him in her little girl doggie ecstasy he exclaimed, "I'm cured!" Brian & Shelley had a huge hug, a few tears flowed & Brian said the last time he was this happy "was the day we got our permanent visas."
He will get his catheter out in 10 more days and will have to return to the specialist every 3 months for blood work and will continue monitoring for the next 5 years. This is as per standard protocol. Relative to the not being able to eat thing: the Doctor advised this was very common after any major operation. Brian was given yet another medication and was advised this should clear the problem up with 3 or 4 days. We are very relieved, very happy & life (truly) is good!