Planning for The Journey

It’s Sunday, 10 days after The News

It’s started off as an exciting day, and for once one not filled with medical, dental, or car service appointments. JT would be coming over for a “project kickoff” meeting.

There are a lot of logistics, and that’s one area JT is particularly good at. What’s the best way to share information? How can we keep track of my appointments and all the associated information like prep requirements, after-visit summaries, lab results, etc.? Going forward there will probably be treatment-related home care instructions. These are things in PAMF’s MyHealthOnline. I had hoped that I could grant others access and the social worker thought it possible, but alas such is not the case. Apparently patients can’t even grant their spouses access. The best I can do is to print PDF copies of the documents and store them in a shared folder.

Then there are all the practical things: aside from my closest friends who might be on the “front lines” so to speak, who are the important players who they might call on (or who might call on them if they’re concerned about me). My sister, one aunt who I’m particularly close to. A couple neighbors who have offered to help around the house or run across the street to the grocery if I’m not in a state to do so.

And lastly what about things like advance care directives, etc. We can hope that the journey doesn’t take us to a place where such things are needed, but really right now we don’t know. And they’re good things to consider in any case. I do plan on dying at some point. Despite all that sensationalized stuff about vampires being immortal, our lifespans are pretty much the same as plain old humans.

On a more practical note I wanted to make sure JT and any others would be comfortable if they needed to spend an extended time at my home, perhaps just an afternoon/evening after a round of chemo or perhaps staying a day or two post-surgery. I’ve heard stories of people reacting badly or having complications and it would put my mind at ease knowing someone else was in the house. I have a guest bedroom with an attached bath, and a living room which is just an unused space between the front door and kitchen. They’re free for anyone to use. Especially with all the “work from home” going on due to COVID, I’m hoping should anyone need to be at my home, their work or other aspects of life can go on. So there were questions I had about reconfiguring the spaces, buying furniture/equipment if needed, and whatever else I could do to make my home a home-away-from-home.

Strawberry and plum mochi at Cafe M&M

To celebrate the kickoff a bit I made mochi. I usually make it on New Year’s day, as is traditional in Japan (I didn’t in 2019. And look what happened! My sister is attributing COVID to that.) I make it in the traditional way by steaming mochi gome and pounding it (though with a wooden pestle and mixing bowl – I don’t have a kine and usu!). I know you can make dango using mochiko but that seems a bit like cheating. And you don’t get much exercise. Being a fourth-generation Japanese-American my palette (and most aspects of my life) is rather Americanized, and I’m not averse to mixing things up a bit. So rather than just plain old mochi or mochi with an (bean paste), I decided to see what I could do with fruit. I’d previously tried strawberry, which turned out ok. This time I ended up making two types – one with koshi an (red bean paste) and plum, and one with shiro an (white bean paste) and mango. The mango with shiro an turned out surprisingly well.

JT and I had a good discussion, with talk frequently drifting off into various topics of life in general. She’s one of the very few people I can have “deep” conversations with and that’s something I truly appreciate. We finished it off by going out to dinner downtown – something I haven’t done in a long time due to the pandemic. It was nice to do something somewhat “normal” again.

Tomorrow is The Mystery Visit with the surgeon. I’ll have to be up bright and early to make it to Burlingame by 8:45. The medical profession has no regard for vampires.

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