I cherish the early morning and the late night now.
In the morning I still wake early, due to years of needing to be on the nursing unit by 7 a.m. But it’s the time of day I most often feel whole and have a willful amnesia about my own health. For a few moments I can stretch and yawn and feel that my world is normal. I don’t sense the central line emerging from my jugular vein and coiled on my right breast. My legs aren’t swollen yet. I’m unaware of the lost hair cast adrift on my pillow and I don’t feel any turmoil in my body.
I’m not nauseated.
It’s a few moments of sheer bliss and I try very hard to extend it and not rouse myself any more quickly than necessary. I am more spirit than flesh.
Late night is different; sadder and more reflective. I wash all the weariness and tears off my now fragile body, and hope the next day will be easier. There are no expectations of errant phone calls from physicians that will lead to some new terror. I feel safe back in my softly lit bedroom. I don’t rush myself and take the time to tenderly care for this body of mine that has been so battered of late. I calm myself down as I try to gently fix the damaged and sore spots, remembering when this body was younger and took me wherever I wanted to go. I promise this old friend of mine that carries me about in such distress these days that we will get through this together yet.