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April 4, 2011


Sleep, ACM Awards, Starbucks, and AT&T

by Rev. A. J. Iovine

This morning at the cancer center, I decided to bring my laptop and follow the example of some of the professionals who sat down and did some work while getting their latest chemotherapy treatment. Last week, I brought my iPad and it was fine. But even on a Monday, I thought I could get a bunch of work done while I sat on my rear end while getting my latest round of cancer fighting poison.

Hooking up the free wifi here at the center through my MacBook was a lot easier than getting my iPad hooked up to it last week. I can't figure that one out. At least I connected.

Yesterday was a tiring day. New Jersey District President Rev. William Klettke and Mission Executive Rev. Dr. Anthony Steinbronn joined us at Saint Matthew's to provide words of encouragement and from the congregants I spoke with, they were pretty happy that our district leadership came to visit. Dr. Steinbronn preached even though his voice was hoarse – he's battling a nasty cold. The message was perfect and on the money – it focused on our mission not only as a church, but as individual Christians. It really hit home with me.

But as the morning progressed, my body got weak and tired and a little nauseous. By the time our worship service and fellowship hour ended, I was beat. Dragging myself through the back door of the parsonage, I knew that I wasn't going to stay awake to see the Yankees take on the Tigers, and sure enough, within moments of sitting on the couch and tucking a pillow behind my head, I was out.

For the next seven hours, my body contorted in an odd position as I slept, I guess I finally got the rest my body was telling me I needed. By the time I was shaking off the doldrums of sleep, it was late. Someone asked me to dinner, but I called and politely postponed our time together until tonight. They kind of figured I couldn't make since I hadn't responded to about a dozen texts and telephone calls made to me while I was sleeping. About an hour after getting up, canceling my plans, my dinner partner showed up at the house and offered to come in. 

Now, I wasn't in the greatest of moods since I really hate sleeping during the day. But she nudged past me at the door. Looking for my electric tea kettle, she inquired as to where it was. At first, I thought it was on the counter, but as the sleepiness eased from my brain, I realized I left it in church (we used it during the fellowship hour). Instead of going over to the church, we utilized the microwave to make me a cup of tea, the hot air popcorn maker to make a snack, and a wine glass to pour her something to drink.

Now, I know – wine and popcorn do not go well together, but I wasn't making fun of the food combination. I was drinking hot decaffeinated green tea and eating popcorn. Ugh.

By the time we settled down, it was time for Sunday primetime, which for me and Stephanie meant "The Amazing Race," "Undercover Boss," and "CSI: Miami" on CBS. Oh…I forgot. The Academy of Country Music Awards was on in place of the usual CBS fare, which didn't make me unhappy. As a lover of country music (but completely confused over the rash of country awards shows litering our music landscape), we sat and watched it for the first hour. And in that first hour, probably my favorite all-time music set was played: Carrie Underwood and Steven Tyler singing "Undo It" and "Walk This Way." I mean, it was quite unique for a country show. After the show started out with Brad Paisley and country legends Alabama, I didn't think anything could top that. But Carrie and Tyler truly excited the country and rock fan in me.


Stephanie wouldn't admit that the combination just worked, but she did say she wasn't bored, which is a victory in a sense. 


We ended up watching for about an hour and then turned on "The Killing" on AMC, a new drama that has gotten rave reviews. When I heard about the premise that a Seattle girl was killed and that the show was centered around finding out who killed her, immediately I thought it was modern version of "Twin Peaks," minus the lady talking to a log and the woman obsessed with silent blinders for her windows. (In "Twin Peaks," it was centered around who killed Laura Palmer, and in the roll out of the show, every character was odd and weird; it was centered in Washington State near Canada).

Instead, this drama moved smoothly as characters were introduced: the politician with something to hide, his staff who would do anything to get him elected, the dead girl's friends who all seem to have something to hide, the parents of the dead girl "Rosie" who were heartbroken but seemingly were absentee parents, the soon-to-be-married detective who is moving to San Fransico with her son who is haunted by something and wants to stay in town solve the crime, her replacement who seems to be complete opposite. The story doesn't pack a lot of action, but it is dramatic in its presentation and definitely on my DVR record list.

By 11pm, we were both dead tired and Stephanie headed home. I locked the door, turned off the lights, and headed up stairs to bed. And what I feared did come true – my afternoon nap made it difficult to fall asleep. After a while, I ended up sleeping until the alarm went off, getting me out of my slumber and into my car to come get my latest treatment. And that is where I am as I type this.

As I take a glance, the hanging bag is almost empty, maybe another 15 minutes, but I can't say for sure. I am terrible about estimating how much time. When the buzzer sounds, then I will be unlatched from the IV teether and I can go home … but first, I will head to Starbucks for my post-treatment treat: a green tea frappacino. When I picked one up last week, the weather outside was frightful and downright cold. But today, even though the clouds appear to still be hanging out there, according to Accuweather (checked from my laptop), the weather is clearing up and temperatures will soar near 70. So drinking a cold Starbucks drink is not too out of the question. 

There is one oddity from sitting here — AT&T has terrible coverage inside the hospital. I realized it last week when one of my fellow treatment buddies asked me if I had the iPad with 3G. He asked because if I did, I would never get coverage inside. Of course, I have the wifi version of the first generation iPad (which I call the iPad Classic) and used the hospital's wifi to connect to the rest of the world. But when I tried to use my AT&T iPhone, I couldn't connect to either the 3G network or to make a telephone call or return text messages. Ugh.

But at least the wifi worked.

Well, that is all for this morning. I am knocking on 1300 words in this blog post. Kind of ridiculous, I know, but when I'm just sitting and doing nothing, I sometimes just write. And write. And write.

Hopefully I will be back in New Milford by 11am, noon time. 

Of course, Starbucks comes first.

Read more from Fighting Cancer, Personal
2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Marianne Herrmann
    Apr 4 2011

    I think it is a good idea to blog while you are waiting for the chemo to finish up. It should make it go faster and there is nothing wrong with multi-tasking. We watched the CMA’s also and the music was just beautiful. I taped it so I can go back and get some of that music to play over and over…so relaxing and enjoyable. And we enjoyed the performance by Steven Tyler and Carrie Underwood also…oh by the way, it is myself, my husband Ron, and our daughter Amanda in this household…our son Greg is living on his own.

  2. Rev. Iovine
    Apr 4 2011

    Bring my laptop was a good idea. Only I need to get a seat near a plug – something with these Apple computers and batteries that drain fast. I forked over $130 to get a new battery six months ago and it still drains like there is no tomorrow.
    The ACM’s were good – I just finished watching a DVR version of it. Still can’t get over that they kicked the show off with Alabama and Brad Paisley, then followed it up with Underwood and Tyler! Two of the most memorable performances on that show, at least to me.


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