It seems just when I get to feeling pretty decent the damn cancer or some part of my body comes up with ways to simply fuck it up. Monday was going just great! I had a really good and responsive lymphedema therapy session. Text Liz to see if she wanted to see "Grudge Match" with me, and she did. I got The Boy to school with plenty of time to make my early therapy appointment. Got to the movie with Liz, get a seat and it turns out there are only four of us in the theater. Damn nice for a change. This, though, was my fuck up. Since there were people in there with us I didn't use my suction like I should have and I accumulated a lot of secretions that made it incredibly difficult to breath at times. I should have gotten up, gone to the can, and suctioned my stuff out. I'd been on a secretion making binge lately, and this has happened once before. I don't know why I'm making so much gunk, but my body is right now and I have to really watch it. Well, we get home, and I'm horribly uncomfortable. I try hacking up the goo in my throat, and it's so thick and there's so much of it I get the heaves. Which, by the way, is far better than vomiting, believe me. The trouble is, the heaves take as much out of me as vomiting does, and it hoses me up for hours. The hours go by and it turns out I got a lot of sleep, good thing.
Tuesday, The Boy has to wake me up to take him to school. That means I've had at least 5 hours of straight sleep without waking up. That's a real good thing. I get home, feed and sleep some more. The day went like this, after the morning drugs and feed time. Feed, nap for 30 minutes, awake for 45 to an hour, sleep 30 minutes, feed, awake for 45 minutes to an hour. It ran along like that just fine. I found a water line had broken and was running like a maniac. I showed Liz where to turn it off. Made her a list of stuff she needed, and went to my massage. Got home and she had the entire thing about fixed. I did a little "show me how", which involves me pointing and giving advise, and Liz doing the work. It will stay with her longer that way. I figure if it works with oil field guys and pumping, pulling unit work, or roustabout work, it will be easier still for Liz. Good afternoon that I really enjoyed. I napped again.
Liz is tired and her back hurts from being on her feet so long at work today so she trundles off to bed. I'm still making an overflowing amount of secretions, which is bother some but not imperative that I do something other than suction it out. Or so I thought. I skin out of the trach tube because it's a pain in the ass to wear taking a shower. It soaks up water, gets heavy, and if I don't get a dry one it right away the one I showered with drips a stream down my back. So I've take to removing it the last two days. Here's the problem. It seems when I take it out, I get a coughing fit, and end up with either the heaves or a real vomit moment. That's what happened tonight. I got a coughing spell going and couldn't get it slowed down long enough to suction my throat. When it did finally slow down enough, I've got a damn mucus plug in my throat, I can't draw air through my mouth or the trach stoma. That's enough to spook ya. It ebbs again, I'm able to breath a bit now, only it's a real struggle. I go find Liz, get her to give me a hand, because after 20 minutes of bathing, vomiting, and fighting for each breath, my body is shot and I've got the shakes like an old alkie that is looking for a drink right before the DT's hit. Scared her a little, not to mention made me just a bit jumpy. I got Sarah to help her clean the bathroom a bit, while I sat curled up in a damn ball in the recliner, trying to get everything back in order. I did, finally.
Later I'm eased back about to doze off for what I hope is a nice night's sleep, when Sarah comes in eating a fried egg sammich. She powered it down even though it had some kind of bag smelling shit that Flax Seed bread is giving off after she toasted it. Five minutes later she says she's gonna shower. Comes over and says "Look at this rash. It just popped up after I ate that bread. I get up and wave her over with me, grind up a couple of Benedryl tablets. I'd prefer liquid, but ground up and not taken with a lot of water goes to work pretty quickly. I also snag the phone and find a contact number for a friend of mine who's wife is a nurse. I dialed it and had Sarah ask about the rash and if we needed to take her to the ER. Nope, we'd done everything correctly, and I had her stay awake for a couple of hours to make sure her breathing stayed on the regular and even side of the table. So, when she bombed out, I stayed awake and watched over her for a while, and napped a bit in between as well. Honestly, if not for the two episodes with "Let's Keep Roc From Breatthin" the past two days would have been better than most of the holiday fun this year. Damned stuff anyway!
I was setting around thinking how far south my physical abilities have gone and feeling pretty good that I'd come to terms with that since I am going to croak, and my body is going to use up more and more of itself fighting to stay alive. That's not a bad thing, really, as long as I get enough oxygen to think straight, I can do the weakening thing better. I don't like it, but I can cope with it.
I thought back to when I first went to work for Anadarko in 1989. We used to get a list of "PM" to do. Preventative Maintenance. I actually preferred doing that to anything like pumping, even though I did it while I relief pumped when I wasn't on the roustabout gang the first couple of years. One of the things was greasing all the spots on a pumping unit that needed them. Wrist pins (keeping in mind if it blew out the back of the bearing rather than the relief zirk), saddle and tail bearings, electric motor bearings, things like that. Well, after pumping and gauging and doing the PM stuff, I'd get bored and start doing shit that today if I got caught they'd run your ass off so fast it would make your eyes water. Like walking the top rail of the angle iron fences around the pumping units and well heads to grease the wrist pins. No, I wouldn't shut the unit off either. It could get a little hinky if the top rail got wiggly, but it was a challenge. My favorite and I did get busted on this one, was to walk the rail greasing wrist pins, then go up the ladder and grease the saddle bearing, and walk the walking beam back to the engine or motor and grease the tail bearing. Anyway, I'm up on this 640 Conventional Lufkin greasing the wrist pins and just finishing the saddle bearing. I climb up on top of the walking beam, look around and don't see a damn soul anywhere, and nonchalantly head down the beam toward the saddle bearing. A 640 has a really wide walking beam, so it's not even like I had to concentrate a lot getting there. I sit down, grease up the tail bearing, turn around and head back. No sweat, this one is only running eight strokes per minute in the long hole, so it's an easy walk. Except when I got down, there was one of the bosses with steam blowing out his ears. Remember, this is back when if you fucked the pooch, they'd come down on your ass like a ton of bricks. There wasn't any "be nice" classes, there was chew you out, make certain you understand, then forget about it. If you did the same exact thing again, they'd more than likely run your ass off. Oh buddy, I got reamed out pretty well. I can't even remember what all was said except for "Are you out of your fucking mind?" (first thing said) and "Anyone sees you pulling that shit again, Mister, I'll see your ass gets run off so fast your fucking head will spin." Good thing about those ass eatings? No one carried a damn grudge if they were worth anything. Thirty minutes later the same boss asked me to come give him a hand, I did and not a word was said about what I fucked up doing. Looking back, yeah, he was right. I violated about Ten Million OSHA and Anadarko Safety rules. Those ass eatings I never minded. It was the ones that I've gotten just because the boss wanted to eat someones ass out and I was handy.
Back in 2012 I was putting some new equipment on a pumping unit and polish rod. A load cell for the Pump Off Controller. I called a couple of guys to come make sure I didn't get hurt, and to hand me tools and the like. We were using 456 Weatherford units on the wells, with long stroke, and running them with Fiberglass. The Strokes Per Minute weren't over ten, but it was a long way off the ground to reach the clamps and hanger bar. I got my truck pulled up where I could climb up and grab the reins on the hanger bar and pull myself up. About five or six hand over hand moves, with a rein (here the entire thing is called a bridle, or "bridal" if you weren't certain and guessed) in each hand. I can stand inside the hanger bar then, and work close enough to the top that I can pass the old load cell and the clamp over the top and down to the guys helping me. They were both cracking up, because they'd seen me do that several times, and one afternoon when the weren't busting ass they both tried to climb one, and couldn't quite do it. Not the safest, but it was the fastest. I did do something I never EVER did when someone was around, and this is the one and only place I'll even say anything about it. Did I though, or am I just pullin your collective legs? I'd shut the unit down, change out the load cell cable, and instead of just climbing up onto the flow line to hook it in, I'd start the unit, take the cable end in one hand, grab one side of the bridle, and hook the cable end in while riding the unit up and down with one hand. But, seeing as how that's really dangerous, and I was the safety bitch at the time, did I do that or not?
Love y'all, thanks so much for the support, prayers, and bullshittin with me when you can.