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Mar31

Memoirs of a caregiver – part four

Monday, 31 March 2014 Written by // Bob Leahy - Editor Categories // Pets, Lifestyle, Living with HIV, Bob Leahy

Bob Leahy is now the caregiver in his household after his negative partner developed prostate cancer. He’s documenting this turning of the tables while his partner is away having treatment, leaving him with a new puppy.

Memoirs of a caregiver – part four

Truth be told, it’s the puppy that is causing me more grief lately. Not that Ruby isn’t a good pup, but she’s only twelve weeks and she hasn’t quite got the hang of being house-trained yet. So whatever I do is interrupted almost hourly by trips to the great outdoors, even in the middle of the night. Typically she wakes up at 4.30 am wanting to go out and 6.30am wanting to be fed. This, needless to say, does not fit my sleep schedule very well. But she’s a darling of dog and has been a great source of delight to both myself and my partner of thirty-three years, Meirion.

Meanwhile Meirion (it’s a Welsh name) is sailing through his radiation therapy like a pro. He required 36 treatments, one a day, and is now three quarters of the way through. But he’s staying away from home during the week to save the daily drives to and from his hospital, living in what he joking calls The Cancer Motel, a Motel 6 situatred near the hospital which provides free accommodations for patients on daily therapy.

We joke about his therapy a lot. It has taken the edge of what could potentially be a stressful time that has become far less so with a sense of humour and his innate practicality. “It has to be done” he says. And it’s as simple as that. Meanwhile he looks perfectly normal, eats normally and does everything he normally does. The cancer thing hanging over everything all seems a bit unreal, even if the prognosis is good.

He’s home at weekend, of course, and those times are lovely. An evening of doing nothing, or watching TV, or playing with the dogs, has never seemed so full of reward.

Weekdays when he’s gone are less of a joy. The house seems empty, even though it is far from that with three dogs in residence. I haven’t lived by myself for over three decades, though, and am not used to the routines, usually shared, of fixing dinner, doing dishes and the like. I don’t think I’m cut out to be a single person in fact. I need people to interact with to thrive.

But I busy myself with PositiveLite.com business most of the day and sometimes in to the night. We are busy here – few know that we do all this with just three people - John, Wayne and myself, with the editor’s spot I occupy being the busiest. It’s a bit like a treadmill – the work doesn’t stop coming; thank god I enjoy it and it occupies my time in the most rewarding way imaginable. I haven’t been bored or had time on my hands for years.

This week our household will have to adjust its routines. I am off to Vancouver for the International Treatment as Prevention workshop. So Meirion will forgo staying at the Cancer Motel, and live instead at home for the week so that the dogs can be looked after. He’ll be travelling to Oshawa and back each day.  It’s a nuisance but he’s OK with it and the dogs will be elated to have him around.

I’ve said it before though. It’s a long time that I’ve had to deal with a life–threatening illness (my own or anybody else’s) and it’s a sobering experience indeed, but not altogether unmanageable. We humans have an amazing capacity to process, to digest and to cope. Now if I could just learn how the PVR works I would be sailing through this enforced but temporary loneliness like nobody’s business. 

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