Remember When…

By Peter Casteels (III) –, Public Domain,

I found this post tonight that was partly written in the hospital waiting room the day we found out Jeff had cancer

Kiss Kiss Smoochie Smoochie

“I love my laptop…almost as much as I love my CPAP.

With Mr. Jeff being in the hospital for the last two weeks, it became obvious to me that I needed to replace my laptop that died a few months back. Much of my days are spent doing the Hurry Up and Wait dance. I don’t resent Mr. Jeff’s being sick, I resent the hospitals inefficiencies and lack of communication or consideration of those involved with him.

I rolled out of bed yesterday and started my coffee. So when the phone rang I hadn’t even gotten coffeed out of my morning psychopathic leanings from the difficult struggle falling back into sleep at two thirty am had presented me. My medication regiment has been all screwed up and , quite frankly I was in no mood to take responsibility for it, even though I’m the one screwing it up. Rose was on the other end telling me that Jeff had called, I needed to get in the truck and take the two plus hour drive to Camden and pick him up. They were discharging him.

No warning.

No discussion.

Nothing was in place for him.

No home health care

No new bed.

Exasperated, I said “I’m doing coffee and a shower first” to which Rosie responded “Girl, you do what you need to do, no rushing. You’ll get there when you get there.” (I love that kid…I swear she’s one of mine and not my niece.) Bare Bear moved out of my way quickly when he saw the look on my face. I guess he was thinking “I didn’t pee on the rug last night …Did I pee on the rug last night?….She has the look she gets when I peed on the floor…I really gotta’ stop peeing on the floor….I’m so sorry I peed on the floor….Did I pee on the floor?”

Gathering what I thought was everything I needed for the day, I hoisted my back pack and soft side personal cooler full of water and diet drinks. Heading to his house to make it ready for his arrival the traffic was light. Stopping along the way to get some RTD Muscle Milk (Banana Cream, please.) would hasten the trip. Thank God for protein shakes. I’m learning my satiation signs but I didn’t want to risk even a small band stick on the road or in Cooper Hospital.

Driving down Route 49 was smooth running with only one section having construction. For the summer season, you and I both know that’s pretty damned good. Just past that patch of road work was a Wawa where I could fill the gas tank, get some Muscle Milk, and take my medicines.

Or could I?

Using up two Wawa gift cards seemed to annoy the woman in line behind me so I went even slower because I’m a jerk like that. Once in the truck the realization hit me; I was an hour from home with no medication including my epinephrine pens. Well, allergic reactions were off-limits for the day as are Bipolar episodes or high blood pressure.

The drive to Camden was smooth and without any problems but upon walking into Jeff’s room I was greeted with “I have news and you’re not going to like it.” He wasn’t coming home that day. I hid my anger because it was not his fault that they did not communicate the plan change to me. It had taken me nine days to get a return call once so I wasn’t surprised at all at this lack of communication. I would simply use the time to visit with him and see if we couldn’t get more information about his situation.

I will only say he is a very sick man.

It had now been almost seven hours since my last protein shake, and while still feeling ok, I didn’t want to risk a hypoglycemic episode like I had the other day. But Oh…look! I left my protein shakes in the truck—nine floors down and in the maze of a parking garage. Looking for something to eat I found the vending area and choked down some dry roast beef of a sandwich with the bread removed. After about three bites it was lightly stuck. Enough was in me to keep my sugar up at a normal level til I got home so I tossed it in the can.”


This is as far as I got that day before going back upstairs to his room where his doctor came in for about ten seconds, just long enough to tell us it was bladder cancer.

I drove home stunned with Mr. Jeff’s parting words to me being “If I’m going to go four paws up, I want to do it at home. Get me home.

This was a surprise to find hidden in my documents innocently named “Document 1”. It shot me back to that day. I’m not overwhelmed with grief, I am just sad that this man lost his battle before he had a chance to really fight at 57 years old. I can only hope that he runs into my wonderful friend Scott up there and they get to hang out and Scott can make him laugh until we all get up there and turn it into a party.

It reminded me to make the most of each day. Not in some sappy, Facebook inspirational photo way, but in a “Live Passionately” way, whatever that means to you.

Live Passionately. Make each act of yours a conscious decision,not an unconscious reaction.





  1. This is beautiful.
    I hope that all of you get to party it up one day.
    I’m trying to live with what I got…then perhaps the passionate part will follow.


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