The memories of my life as Clark’s caretaker buzz in the back of my brain at a low hum.Two years ago, I was on autopilot when I changed his diaper or scrubbed the smell of urine from the armchair he sat and slept in.Patients are typically bedridden with dizzying flulike symptoms and are uncharacteristically irritable or moody. He had a high fever and soiled the bed again and again during his second IL-2 treatment.One time, after I held up his body so that the nurse could change the sheets, he shit as soon as I placed him down. It was the only time during his illness that I elected not to sleep next to him.I shaved his face and gave him his painkillers at perfectly timed intervals. Now my breath quickens when the answer to a clue in my crossword, “Body fluid buildup,” is “edema,” the condition in Clark’s left leg that caused it to swell and dwarf his right.My eyes sting as I read a newspaper article describing the latest study to come out of a cancer conference, which involves a drug trial that Clark was too sick to participate in.Yoga is great for calming the mind, but this ancient practice can also give you a strong and sexy body.Stay in shape with these 12 challenging yoga poses that will tone the butt, thighs, abs, and upper body.
Without even thinking about it, I’d roll my jeans halfway up my calves and get into the bathtub to pull him up.
We had this conversation three days after we returned home: In December 2008, Clark called my mother to apologize for the fact that I wasn’t going to be home to spend Christmas Day with them.
I know it’s not uncommon for people my age to be away from their families during the holidays, but my mother, brother, sister, and I had never spent a Christmas apart.
During this stint at the hospital, the fourth dose of drug sent him mentally over the edge. When I arrived at my friend Alyson’s, I had a text message from him that said, “You left me, so I’m leaving you.” Two hours later, he called me sobbing, apologizing.
He barely remembered specifics the next day, but I still get a lump in my throat when I think about it.