Chapter 7 – Constance de Milo

Chapter 7 – Constance de Milo

February 21

So, Venus and I have quite a bit in common this week. I mean aside from the whole … not wanting to wear clothes because of the rash thing … there’s a new issue of having a severe and painful infection in my left arm.

As a result, I spent a large part of the week wondering what it would feel like to have one arm … because, at times, it would have been more comfortable.

The situation reminded me of my English friend Julia, whose father came back from the war with one arm, and her mother practiced what it would be like to have only one arm by tying it to her body and trying to do things around the house.

Luckily, this did not have to happen here.

However, it is quite an experience to have limited use of your limbs. And while it is one of those insights that makes one grateful for all one’s blessings, to be perfectly honest, there are a lot of these little life lessons I could have done without learning. This was definitely one of them.

Then there’s the other thing you learn … when you try to sleep and turn over and you have one arm leftover, what the hell do you do with it … elbows are really tricky things, and if they hurt they are even trickier.

Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!

But enough about that. The antibiotics are working and it would appear that the infection is clearing up and I am left with only the nausea from the antibiotics, which are due to be finished this coming week.

So, while Venus is stuck with the whole one-arm paper hanger image, I will soon be back on track to receive the next lot of chemo … in either arm. Thank you very much! Little did I think that such would prove to be an attractive outcome. But, as the bar gets lower, one’s measure of success, inevitably, trickles down.

Go figure.


This infection in my left arm really was quite scary. It went from my inner elbow to my armpit and was really, really, really excruciating. Lifting my arm was painful, and using any of the muscle groups in that arm wasn’t possible without nauseating shooting pains.

It left me sorely incapacitated and cranky.

It meant that I had to lift pots and pans and bottles and bags using my right hand alone. Nothing heavy allowed!

It meant that tying a knot or tearing off toilet paper was a forgotten art.

It meant that using two hands to towel dry your back was but a dimly remembered dream.

It meant that cooking or stirring anything was impossible because you couldn’t stabilize the container.

And, it meant that I couldn’t function normally without the surprised-by-pain factor … you know … where you are futzing along doing your thing and then you reach for something … say a glass from the cupboard … and get gob smacked by the pain of lifting your arm. I mean this is your very own normally useful, functional, reliable arm! And, voila! Suddenly it is vehicle of torture. I was constantly at the mercy of and anticipating the pain, and found that it controlled and curtailed much of my life until the infection began to subside.

Good news … At the same time, I was at last able to fill my prescription for Medical Marijuana. It’s universal pain-numbing qualities are well documented. The timing was fortuitous.

It proved to be quite the experience … scoring some legal weed. My friend Janet drove me to the state approved dispensary two towns over, and waited outside because the armed guard wouldn’t let her in.

H-m-m-m-m … I guess she looked really suspicious and all.

So, I checked in with the receptionist behind the bank-teller window, showed her my newly acquired license, and confirmed my appointment to set up a treatment plan. Then I filled out the forms and signed the waivers and checked myself into the inner sanctum sanatorium and waited to meet with the pharmacist.

…What a different world occupied that waiting room. There were any and all sorts of others waiting. Most of them knew the ropes and were only waiting for the dispensary, as only one patient was allowed in at a time.  One could spend several days creating stories about what might have brought them all there … But I digress … eventually I was allowed in to meet the weed guru.

The whole science of how the Marijuana plant is broken up into discrete parts, and what all the various forms do, and how they interact depending upon their delivery method … well suffice it to say it really could be rocket science. After a detailed discussion of my symptoms, it was determined that I would benefit most from the part of the plant that relaxed and eased one into sleep, as well as those parts that would relieve sharp pain. So, in fact, two different vapor inhalers were prescribed. The inhalers would be free of any smell or odor and could be controlled easily and used only as needed.

So, I plunked down my cold hard cash … and went home …and gave it a whirl. Not a good idea!!


I should have anticipated that the old chemo mouth would object to the taste. There might have been no smell as advertised, but the taste of it in my mouth was nauseating. Really disgusting! I don’t think the brownies would have been any better. Too bad … I was really looking forward to some relief from the nausea and pain.

Sigh. In the end, I guess you could say I got sick from the cure for the cure for the cure.

H-m-m-m-m … I think that is the right number of cures.

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