Author Archives: Megan Williams

Watching. Waiting. Wondering.


Im sitting here in the hospital room with my ‘ET’ suit watching Chad sleep. Waiting for him to get better (as though magically he is going to pop up out of his drowzy sleep and say ‘All better now!’) and wondering what I can do to make this all better.

I’ve had a really good weekend. I’ve spent an enjoyable amount of time with friends (had a much needed barstar night with Adrienne on Friday. Little dresses and lots of cocktails)and a cozy night in at Mom and Dad’s last night with Karen and Jill. I also spent an enjoyable amount of time by myself. I dont really like being by myself most of the time, but the last few days I’ve enjoyed the silence and the time to think.

I do lots of thinking but rarely come to any conclusions, revelations or solutions for what keeps circling my head. My thoughts are a big messy medley of ‘how can I make Chad happier? how much longer until he gets better? how much longer until ‘we’ get better? and in the meantime, how do I make ‘me’ better’. But like I said. I dont have too many answers. Lots of questions but not many answers.

I’ve mentioned before, how quickly some of this stuff becomes ‘normal’. Chad is on a type of dialasis/plasma transfer thing right now, filtering out his blood and the cancer protiens they have recently found in his kidneys. In order to do this, they have put a dialasis cord in his neck. Its pretty creepy looking but has almost become ‘normal’ looking now. He’s lost so much weight and muscle that he’s looking like he did around transplant time. That too starts looking ‘normal’. Spending time in this gown, gloves and mask isnt much fun, but similar to how I put shoes on before leaving the house, this has become ‘normal’. Visits to the hospital. Park. Elevator. Room. Sit. Chat a little. Drive. Home. Alone. ‘Normal’.

The one thing that I cant get used, and I certainly dont want to become ‘normal’ is ‘sick Chad’. ‘Sick Chad’ is not the easy going, self effecient, ‘give me lots of snuggles’, cant wait to hug me, guy I love. He’s frustrated, kinda unhappy, helpless and going crazy being in this room all day long. Unfortunatly, I seem to get the venting of these frustrations. I cant get used to when he says something to me out of frustration or isnt bothered to talk to me, that it isnt ‘my Chad’ talking, its ‘sick Chad’. This might be the hardest thing of all. The only way I can think of describing it is that its like having someone that is drunk all the time and you are always the sober person. Things are said and that they dont remember or think about (whether or good or bad) – and you as the sober one remember everything. I have learned to be very patient with this stuff. Very patient. However, I worry somedays that my patience is running out.

That being said, just when I start to think ‘I cant listen to this anymore!’ like the comeback king he is – ‘sick Chad’ disapears and ‘my Chad’ comes back to me.

When does the fun start?

Last night I left work, picked up groceries and dinner for Chad. I was excited to see him. Its the same as coming home to him after work – just ‘home’ is a little different right now.

I arrived at his new room and followed the protocol: Gown. Mask. Gloves. Enter. There was the initial excitement of ‘hi baby – thanks for all the goodies’, but was quickly replaced with his mood to start blogging. That’s fine, ill give you some time. I went downstairs to pick up muffins that friends Vanessa and Kevin dropped off. Came back upstairs. Gown. Mask. Gloves. Enter. Still blogging. Laura arrived with magazines for both of us, so I went and chatted to her for awhile. (How lucky we are to have such good friends). Came back to room. Gown. Mask. Gloves. Enter. Still blogging.

Not wanting to interrupt him or be confrontational by suggesting ‘perhaps when you don’t have someone to hang out with, you can blog’ (I figure now is not the time or place to bring up any minor relationship conversations) I just sat on the bed, while he on the chair, and read my new magazines.

A few times he said ‘you can go if you like’ – but I wanted to keep him company for as long as I could. He spends a lot of time alone in that room, so I figured he’d want company. After an hour of minimal talking. I left. Kiss on cheek. A ‘ill text you later baby. Thank you’. Gown off. Mask off. Gloves off. Put his goodies in fridge. Leave. 15 dollars for parking. Go to video store for therapeutic Gossip Girl fix. Video store closed. Whimper. Home. Couch. Alone. Oprah. Sleep. This sucks.

I understand he (we) are fighting an uphill battle right now – and I understand me and our relationship aren’t a priority (nor should it be. Being alive is the only thing that matters) – but I can’t help but feel sad. Sad for him, that he is fighting so hard, sad for our relationship, because when the going gets tough its the first thing to take a back seat, and sad for me – because I miss him, I miss the carefree summer we just had. I miss feeling sexy. And I friggen miss kissing (and all that comes with 🙂 ).

These aren’t new feelings, we’ve been here before. During his 2nd transplant this past winter – it was almost exactly the same. The only difference is, last time it felt like we knew the tough stuff would end soon. This time, I have no idea when its going to end.

*I don’t want to come across as though this is some awful, no good, no fun relationship, and all I can do is complain about it. But those of you who are reading this likely know how much I adore Chad and love him to my core – so I figure I can just write freely.

These are the days of our lives


I picked Chad up after the second night spent in emerg. He felt pretty good, but naturally still worried about his heart (which had stabilized to about 120 rather than the remixed 190). He said that the doctors and nurses really wanted to give him ‘the paddles’ to try and re-set his heart rate into a regular beat. He had to talk them off that cliff. (Keep in mind, this is Lions Gate Hospital, not VGH where they know him and are not familiar with is situation)

I mean, really? The paddles? What, did everyone just watch an episode of ER before coming to work, and figured ‘that solves all the problems on TV, so should work for us?’ Geesh people. Think about what you’re doing.

I really worry if in situations like those, if he weren’t conscience or not able to explain what is going on…some people could make some seriously bad decisions. I shudder just thinking how bad that could be.

Anyways. We spent 2 days at home. Both nights up with a fluttering heart. 1 night wondering if we should call the ambulance. Being the lovely man he is, he waited until he was really uncomfortable and scared to wake me up asking if I think we should call the ambulance. Although he’d been awake for about 3 hours panicking, he didnt want to wake me. I melt thinking at what this poor guy has been going through each night.

We didnt call the ambulance, and just waited it out till his appointment that morning with his cancer doc. They decided the best thing for him is to be admitted to the hospital (VGH) so they can keep a close eye on him. He spent 2 nights in Cardiac Care, and now is up in the Bone Marrow Transplant ward. A much better place with nurses who know him, a room with a tv and a gorgeous view of the city. He’s still H1N1 positive, so everyone has to ‘suit up’ before going in and out of his room. Its not sexy and its not fun. That being said, he’s got some super trooper friends who go and visit him – face masks or not, they are there for him.

Its weird seeing him, cause he’s stable now, but if they dont get the fluid away from his heart/kidney’s/cancer under control soon, he’s in trouble. Big trouble.

I’ve been visiting him at night but I feel like he’s only half there. Like half his brain is always focused on ‘the fight’. We talk, but its either about what I did that day, or what test results/doctors have said to him. Neither which are very exciting. We tried to watch a movie, and I layed with him.

Although it was short lived (he was tired and uncomfortable and I was tired and had to drive home) – resting my head on his shoulder, holding his hand and laying on that stupid single bed was the best both of us have felt in the last few days.

Sleepless nights

…I was on the mend, and Chad was home. All the chaos of the last two days felt like it was settling down. His family was in town from Edmonton to ‘go twick-or-tweating with Unctle Chad’. Unfortunately a fluttering heart, and major fatigue isnt really the best combination to be around excited kiddos.

In true fighter fashion, Chad rested for all of Halloween ‘day’ to muster up enough energy to light off fireworks for his niece and nephew. And boy did he deliver.
As though he was in perfect health and had the same amount of energy as his 6 year old nephew – Chad lit off a whole bunch of fireworks as 7 of us watched from his parents deck.
Thanks to the inexpensive/erratic bursts of flames, I havent seen Chad laugh that hard or move that quick in a long time. It was fun to see that under all that man, there is still a little boy.

Feeling good about being able to put on a show for the kiddos, we left his parents house with promises of ‘see you in the morning’. We hadnt driven more than a block, and were talking about how nice the evening was when I saw Chad start feeling his chest. Uh oh. He said he’s ‘ok, just feels a little quick. I may have over done it’.

We got into the apartment, and he went straight to the bed to lay down. Double uh oh. He layed there, still feeling his chest. I grabbed my running heart rate monitor to see how fast his heart was beating (cause when I put my ear to his chest – it sounded like it some new remixed club beat). We put the monitor on – and within seconds started flashing ‘190’.

Are you kidding! 190!The girlfriend/caregiver/concerned part of me was like ‘uh oh’. The runner/workout girl in me was like ‘what the hell. do you know how hard I work to get my heart rate up that high?! – Here you are just laying here and you’ve burned 4 calories in 4 seconds. Do you know how much I could eat if I was burning 4 calories in 4 seconds?’

Anyways… needless to say, I quickly sho-ed those thoughts out of my head and focused my attention back to the issue at hand. Ok. If your heart rate doesn’t settle down in 5 minutes, we’ll call the ambulance.

We called the ambulance.

Here we go again. Except this time I wasnt crying. “Yes he’s breathing, yes he’s talking, no he’s not vomiting blood”. In the same way I gather my things to go to the gym, or get ready for work, I gathered his meds, his hoodie, his shoes. Weird how quickly things become ‘normal’.

Once I hear the paramedics at our door
(sans firemen) – I open the door and I let out a gasp. These chicks are there with their uniforms and stretcher – with knives and bloody bandages wrapped around their head. Happy Halloween. You crazies. Thats exactly what I want to see when I open the door.

They come in, run Chad’s vitals and that whole shtick they do, and destroy our apartment. These broads are so loud. They stomp their dirty boots through our apartment. They shave bunch of Chad’s hair off his arm to put the iv in, leaving the hair on the bed. They dont ask if he can walk to the hall (which he could) to sit on the stretcher, they bring it in. They scuff the walls. They knock down our coat rack. They say ‘oops – ha!’. They scuff the walls on the way out. Great. I wish they were dressed as strippers, so I could mumble ‘sluts’ as they walk out.

Here I am again. Empty (messy) apartment. By myself. Boyfriend on way to hospital. Still sick.

Knowing how adamant Chad was about having a clean place to come home to 2 days ago, I start vacuuming, making the bed, and picking up the clothes. Exactly what I want to be doing with my Saturday night. While driving to the hospital, I think to myself ‘Shouldn’t I be dressed in some petite animal costume skipping down Granville Street tonight?’ Not I.

I arrive at emerg, where he is in the Cardiac Unit. Chad’s sitting up, talking the doctors through things (furthering my point, of ‘they dont know you here’). He sees me, and then asks me to go home. ‘Your sick, you need to leave’.
I think I gave him a stare that some girls give their boyfriends who are checking out another girl or not behaving up to standards. I didnt mean to stare at him like that but I was so frustrated and so hurt that he seems to have no concept of what this is like for me.

I guess it doesnt matter. – What matters is that he gets through
the night.

As the week continues…

Once Chad came home, I would like to think everything was ok. Nope. Not really. I was still sick and he was still very weak. The last 24 hours had made him more emotional than I had ever seen him. Without exaggeration, everything upset him. Ever – y- thing.

He was so weak,
I had to pull to the door to drop him off, rather than walk the 50 metres from my parking space. We took slow steps to the elevator, slow steps to the apartment and slow steps to the couch. He was upset he was weak, he was upset that I had been out in public with my mom the night before, potentially infecting other people (fair enough, but at that point, I was in survival mode – so selfishly or not, nothing else matters). Just upset.

Once in the apartment, he wanted everything to be clean. We were both sick with the same thing, so doing laundry and cleaning the door handles as he wanted was a little bit redundant at until we both were germ free – but I wasn’t about to tell him that. So I went at it. Started doing laundry, started cleaning.

So no. There wasn’t a jump into your arms ‘Im so happy you are alive’ movement. It was a sick, messed up Cinderelly moment.

Once he saw that taking laundry downstairs was making me wheeze and cough whatever anger and frustrations he was having melted and just wanted a hug. “Youre sick too. Im sorry baby”. We hugged and tearfully talked about what was bothering him and what we can do to make all these upset feelings better. Welcome the birth of his blog.

The afternoon calmly slipped away, he was more comfortable, and I was more tired. I curled up on the couch watched a serious amount of Gossip Girl and he wrote. He wrote and wrote and cried and cried. Writing about everything that has gone on, and is going on with him brought all these emotions to the surface for him. He was most upset when he clicked ‘Share’ on his blog. Chad is such a private person so making the decision to share his story with anyone is very emotional for him.

Its funny, after Thursday and seeing him so upset at home, I’ve dried right up. I have no tears left. I dont know why. Maybe its because Im in fighting mode. Maybe because when he cant be strong, I have to be. Maybe its both of those. Im not sure.
But what I am most sure about is that after that awful Thursday night phone conversation thinking I am saying ‘goodbye’ – a little part of me died. I dont know how else to describe it.

Whether Chad and I live long happy lives together, or this all ends terribly, I am haunted by that feeling, and I dont know if I will ever forget it.

This past week.

On Thursday I thought Chad was going to die.

We had a few close calls during his 2nd transplant this past December, but this one was the worst one yet. We were both home and sick with the Swine Flu. For the first time in years I was so sick all I wanted to do/could do was lay on the couch and have someone pet me, get me tea and make the aching go away. Not really an option when the person who should be petting, fetching and loving is worse off than you are. And when I say worse off, I dont mean, he’s coughing more than me, or he’s more tired than me, I mean, his heart is fluttering, he cant stand up without dipping in and out awareness and is starting to cry because he’s getting weaker and weaker by the hour. (And when you see a 34 year old man, with tattoos, who is a total rock start to cry because he’s panicking – its not a good thing)

After attempting to get Chad comfortable laying on the floor (cause sitting up was making him dizzy), we called his nurses, and his doctors and tried to figure out what the best thing to do was. Thinking, thinking thinking….we thought I could drive him to the clinic. Nope, he was too weak to make it to the elevator and down to the car. Ok, next option. Do we just wait and see if he feels better in the next while, then take him in. Nope, Chad knows his body, and when he starts to panic, its time to do something. So by advice of his nurses, we called 911.

I’ve had to make calls like this before when he’s been too sick to call the clinic to ask for help/advice etc – but the second the dispatcher asked ‘whats the problem’, and the words “My boyfriend is a blood cancer patient, and he has the Swine Flu…” came out of my mouth, the reality of the situation set in, and the tears started flowing.

As I am tearfully explaining the situation
, Chad is telling me what to tell them in the background, I answer the dispatchers questions, “yes he is conscious, yes he is breathing, yes he has tested positive for H1N1, yes he is talking, no he is not vomiting blood” – (what the hell? I just said, yes he is talking, how would be vomiting blood if he was talking to me dumbass?!?)..

After I hang up the phone, I start gathering his things that he’ll need…meds, hoodie, shoes, wallet. Ive choked back my tears at this point, and switched into operations mode. As Im getting his things together, we can hear the sirens coming to our apartment. Chad lightheartedly says ‘oh, here they come, they are coming for me’ – I look over at him saying this, and as if he has just realized what he said, he has his hands on head and tears coming down cheeks. My heart cracks a little more each time I see him cry. For such a strong person, when he cries, I know its really bad.

The paramedics arrive and it seems as though they have brought the fire department with them (why do they do that? everyone knows firemen cant do more than make a big scene and give CPR, so why do they come?) Anyways, they sho the firemen away, and once the paramedics realize Im sick with the Swine Flu the throw on their masks. Im starting to feel like our apartment is from the set of ET with all the masks and people around. The nice paramedics run down the laundry list of questions for Chad, still laying on the floor. Chad goes over the same answers about his cancer, when were you diagnosed (9 years ago) when was your last transplant (December 19th, 2008), what treatments are you on now (a trail drug called Revlimid), are you confirmed to have H1N1 (yes)…

Anyways, I follow him on the stretcher to the elevator, and realize that if I go with them, as I’ll be stuck at the hospital. I decide to follow behind in my car. I walk back into the apartment to make sure I have everything, and realized what had just happened, the tears started again. Here I am by myself, crying, I still havent gone to get my own flu dealt with, still stick, still coughing, my boyfriend en route to emergency and an empty apartment. This sucks.

I arrived at emergency, put mask on, sanitized hands and went to look for Chad. The emergency is filled with fellow face mask-ed people, coughing and looking sick – its gross, and I am sure hoping they’ve got Chad in a room cause he cant be around this many sick people. I walk down the hall of Lions Gate Hospital Emergency (all the while ignoring the pot-bellied jerk nurse who’s scolding me ‘if you are sick get home, you cant be here..’ I feel like spinning on my heals, with my teary eyes and screaming at him – “DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT MY MORNING HAS BEEN LIKE?!?!?” dick.) I see Chad laying on a stretcher in the hallway. Nobody really around him, no doctors, nothing. What. the. hell.

Im standing there, making sure he has his meds, waiting to hear what the plans are, thinking to myself, “I wish you were at VGH (Vancouver General Hospital) – they know you there, your doctor is there, they know what to do, they know your file there – they wouldnt leave you in the hall”. Chad is very trusting off most of the people who take care of him, so he is assuring me that they have things under control here.

*Lions Gate Hospital is the closest hospital to our house, so naturally the ambulance takes him there, not to VGH

Anyways, Chad tells me to go home, I cant be there if Im sick, I need to get myself to a doctor and he is fine. The paramedics come by and tell me the same thing, and tell me that they have a bed ready for him, but I cant go in. Nobody can.

Great. Just great.

Although I understand why the nurse and Chad are telling me to go home, it still hurts to be sho-ed away, when all I want to do is be there and make sure he gets better.

We have a quick tearful kiss on the cheek goodbye and they wheeled him away. That was it. I walked to the entrance of emergency to wait for my mom as dick nurse is still snipping at my heels.

Im so tired and so emotional at this point Im just pacing in front of the Emergency waiting for my Mommy (funny how when something is wrong, ‘Mom’ turns into ‘Mommy’). She comes…and I cry harder. I also realize through my tears that nobody asked for my information, if something happens and they need me who will they call? How will I know?

Mom quickly fixes that problem and takes me back in, (I pretend I dont see jerkdick nurse glaring at me) nobody is around to do that, so I’ll have to come back later.
Mom and I walk around to go have coffee, go pick Chad up some food and go back to the hospital.

She goes in to see Chad, and give him his food, while I sit in the waiting room looking like a blond terrorist with a hat on, hoodie over my hat and my mask.
There is a young girl about my age sitting in front of me. She had scars on her face and hoochie hoops in her ears. She looks even more rough than I do – I wonder what her deal is. Then I realize she’s got handcuffs on and there is a policewoman standing beside her telling her to sit down ‘we arent going anywhere, you cant just assault people’…followed by ‘do you think methadone is a good thing to be doing when you’re pregnant?’. There is one part of me that is like ‘shit – you got it rough’ and the other part of me wants to kick her in the shins and say ‘you think you got it rough? you chose this! Chad doesnt have a say that he’s sick! Give your cracked out head a shake!’

Anyways, I had to stop looking at her moaning and complaining and went to go say hi to Chad through the glass of his room (with my mom sitting beside him – Swine free). He starts saying through the glass – ‘go home, you cant be here, go get better’. Its too lengthy of a conversation to try and have through emergency room glass, but all that I want to explain to him is that I dont care that Im sick. He is what matters, and I want to make sure he is ok.

Mom and I leave to go to a walk-in clinic to get me Swine-drugs. After that she gives me mom-like step by step instructions. Go home. Put your pj’s on. Snuggle up. Get some sleep. Call me. Yes Mom.

Feeling better, that Chad is being taken care of, he has food and is comfortable, I am looking forward to having a night where I can lay on the couch and feel better that he is going to feel better. I swing by the video store on my way home and pick up about 12 hours worth of Gossip Girl. By tomorrow, all will be right with the world.

I put my pj’s on. Put on the first episode of Gossip Girl, talked to Chad, he’s getting tests done, we’ll be in touch. Good.

No less than an hour goes by and Chad calls. He gets out “Hi babes..” and then silence. All I hear is him choking back tears, saying “Im sorry, I just need a second…”. Fuck. I start welling up, and wait for him to talk.

“The doctors just came in to see me, and they are really really worried about me. I have pneumonia in my lungs, and my kidneys are failing and Im in congestive heart failure again… (*These were all the same problems he had last year after transplant, so we are well aware of how sick this means he is)
…they are going to run some tests, but the doctor just said

“Im sorry” I dont know whats going to happen. I love you so much, (sobbing uncontrollably) and I dont know, I dont know I dont know. I just want to come home to you, you know how much I love you right? You know when I get upset, its not me talking right, I just want to get better for you.”

I am pacing around the apartment repeating the same thing “I love you, Im going to come there, I love you, I’m going to get my things” (knowing I cant, cause they wont let me in). I ask him to promise me that he’s going to be ok. Promise me that you are going to come home to me. He says

“I cant promise anything, but I know if something happens you are going to be ok”

….Im not ok. Im not going to be ok.

Oh. My. God. This is not what I thought was going to happen to my life. I am supposed to grow old with this person, travel the world with this person, marry and have babies with this person – and here I am starting to say goodbye’s OVER A CELL PHONE!?!?!?

We are both sobbing. Eventually, we calm each other down, just saying that we’ll talk the entire night, and just stay on the phone, and we wont be alone. He says he needs to relax and will call me in awhile. At this point I am on my knees on the floor rocking back and forth. He hangs up and I just lay there on the floor.

I think this must be like when someone finds out a loved one has died in a car accident, or in a sudden tragedy. This unexpected feeling of ‘I didnt plan for this, I didnt get to say what I needed to, Im not there’. Understanding the statistics and severity of his situation last year during his transplant, I had to process the fact that death is an option, however, other than a few hours of fear, I never thought it would happen. I also thought that if it did become an option, we would always have time to discuss it, talk about it, and come to terms with it. Together.
If it ever were to happen, this is not how I imagined it. ON A CELL PHONE?

I called home in full sobs, asking Mom to come. Between the then and the time Mom arrived, Chad called again saying he had spoken with a new young resident doctor who made him feel better, and explained things logically. “You are on this drug for this reason. It will help with this.” Simple, logical and certainly not ‘Im sorry’.

When Mom arrived, Chad was feeling less scared. I was too, but that doesnt mean he’s not in trouble. Mom slips into survival mode pretty quick. She’s like ‘right. lets go get food. we went to go get food (as I haven’t been eating) and we get a bottle of wine – and you can get some sleep’. We eat a little, drink a little and watch a movie. Chad has told me he’s tired and going to try and get some sleep, so I try and do the same.

Yea right. This is my biggest fear. Im home. Chad’s not. I dont know if he is ever coming home. I am glued to my phone, worried that if I fall asleep I’ll miss ‘THE’ call. What if the doctors call and tell me I need to come because he is dying. What if Chad calls me scared. What if he is sleeping and dies in his sleep and we never got to say goodbye?

As Im writing this, I wonder if I was being dramatic. But no. Im not. This is real. These are the things I worry about because they are real possibilities.

I cried myself to sleep with Mom there. I havent slept uninterrupted for the past week because his heart has been acting funny, and he’s worried that he is going to have a heart attack in the middle of the night. Which means I am worried he’s going to have a heart attack in the middle of the night. If I havent been up with him cramping, I’ve still been waking up every few hours, just to make sure he’s still breathing. I’ll shift, to make sure he shifts. I’ll put my arm on him just to make sure he moves.
Anyways..exhausted, I am able to sleep, but wake up every few hours checking my phone. I text him at 5:30am to see if he’s awake. I get a message around 8am, saying he got some rest. Sweet. We made it through the night.

He says his kidneys’ have calmed down a little, and they are going to send him home today. I picked him up and brought him home.

I’d like to say that after the 24 hours we had, we collapsed into each others arms, told each other how thankful we are, have a passionate kiss and everything is better now.

Far from it. This is just the start of the week.

Why.

Chad has recently started writing his story. He is finally talking, telling and explaining what his life has been like living with Multiple Myeloma for the past 9 years. Thankgoodness.

I see how therapeutic it is for him to be writing. I also see by sharing his story how many people care about him and care about what is going on in his life. My good friend and co-worker, Priscilla, suggested about a year ago that I write a blog for that exact reason. I should have started then,(when the ‘fairy tale’ really started getting complicated), but for some unknown reason, I am just sitting down now. Im going to be honest – and just write the way it is.

I don’t want to write this blog so people to feel compelled to read it, or feel they need to understand it – but for those who are curious and never ask, for those who ask and I brush it off, or perhaps for those who have been in my shoes and know what its like – that’s why I’m writing.

That and when I write, it helps me sort out this mess in my head.

If anyone reading this wants to read Chad’s blog – his link is http://chadwarren604.blogspot.com/?