Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Social Security

Most of you are old enough to be well acquainted with the phrase “Social Security.”  You know it is a program of the federal government to help senior citizens save some of their employment earnings to help provide retirement income.

In our household just now, however, that phrase bears a different meaning.  It refers to a small green carry bag of emergency supplies that go with me wherever I go away from home. It is my “Social Security bag”!

You see, I am halfway through a six-week course of concurrent chemo- and radiation-therapy for cancer cells in my lung!  During the past three weeks I have discovered that the treatments (and the anxiety that goes with them!) can make my body do strange things, sometimes in very embarrassing places!  Coughing spells, nausea, vomiting,and diarrhea (sometimes explosive!) can occur suddenly and without warning at home or in public places.  So I need some help close at hand in order to feel “socially secure.”

Therefore, tucked discreetly away in my little green “social security bag” is FIRST, a generous supply of  emesis bags.  They are handy, dandy small blue expandable plastic bags attached to a firm plastic ring around the top.  These modern-day wonders can catch the “wrong way stomach contents” unobtrusively as they exit the mouth and be quickly sealed off and disposed of. 

SECOND, my “social security bag” contains a generous supply of incontinence pads.  These are essential as there are lower GI tract explosions to contain and floods to control.

THIRD,There is a bottle of some type of nutritional support fluid down in that bag which is replaced each time it is used.  I must guard against weight loss in order to keep the treatments on course.

FOURTH, if my serious current level of “chemo brain” ever improves, I will tuck a favorite book or two down into that bag also.  Sometimes the hours of chemotherapy treatments move slowly and having something interesting to focus the mind on helps time pass more quickly.  However, presently my ability to focus my eyes and my thoughts is so impaired that my “husband-angel” gave me a “chemo gift” of an MP3 player loaded with my favorite peaceful spiritual music!  It spares me the need to think, and so, of course, it, too, is tucked away down in my “social security bag.”

So for the next few weeks in our household, the phrase “social security” will not refer to retirement income. Instead, it will refer to more urgent needs and the ways to manage them that are contained in a little green bag that helps me feel more “socially secure”!