I'm going to give you a little window into my world, and what can trigger a painful cascade of memories.
Here is a still life, packed with memories. I've created it here for you, because yesterday, as I took a bath, I decided to use one of Katie's favorite bath products. Bad idea. The scent took me right back to countless bath times with her, after her diagnosis.
You can see, from the left side:
Liquid soap, for making bubbles and for washing, sitting atop a jar of lime-scented sugar-scrub; a gentle scrubbing wand for use with soap. All of these for getting clean and feeling feminine and sweet.
Parafilm. I would wrap each of the lumens of Katie's IV line (a PICC) with a square of this waxy wrap, to keep water out of the connectors.
GLAD Press-N-Seal. This is used for wrapping the IV line, to keep it water-tight where it meets the skin. I would gently, but firmly, wrap Katie's arm with Press-N-Seal, tucking the lumens under it (already wrapped in Parafilm). Then I would tape the ends of the Press-N-Seal to her arm, with the clear tape, or with the brightly colored
Coband (green & pink versions pictured on the right), which is a stretchy, non-stick tape used for countless purposes. Katie loved the colored Coband.
Nancy Drew Mysteries. I would sit beside the tub and read Nancy Drew aloud, after I had helped Katie wash and shampoo. We never made it through all of them.
Bath time was also a good time to replace the sheet of Replicare that protected Katie's soft cheek from irritation due to having a Nasal-Gastric (NG) tube (the white tube that you can see in the photos) stuck to her face. The NG tube was placed over the Replicare, and then a sheet of Tegaderm was placed over the NG tube and Replicare, to keep the NG tube in place on her cheek without hurting her beautiful, delicate skin. The NG was her main source of medication and nutrition. The tube leads through the nose, down the throat and into the stomach. (Above, Katie poses before Andrea & Mike's wedding with cousin Joey; below, she is cuddling with cousin Karl.)
Just the simple act of using the sugar scrub on my feet in the bathtub brought a terribly painful longing, and nostalgia for being with Katie again. I could picture us together in the hospital bathrooms, in the bath in our room at Ronald McDonald House, and in Katie's and David's bathroom at home.
I am actually feeling faint as I type this. This is why I don't write about a lot of the specific physical memories. This is how easy it is to go from functioning "normally" to "stalled."