Music, Layaways and a Little Something Else

I have so much to say I don’t know where to start. So I guess I’ll just start here…

I became aware of another band coming to Vancouver that I’ve always wanted to see in concert. I enjoy their music but I’m certainly not a superfan. From what I’ve heard, their concerts are full of props and theatrics and are just great fun, so I set upon the journey to acquire tickets.

I didn’t want to get shut out of the whole ticket purchasing process by the scalpers so I decided to find out if the band had a fan club which I could join. Sure enough, they did. So I dug out my credit card and paid their fan club fee of 30 GBP (Yes, the Queens money). Then I sought out their fan club pre-sale section and learned that the fan club could purchase tickets a clear 3 days before the general public and that fan club ticket sales opened on October 14th at 10AM. That was kind of shitty news because I knew that I would be at the Cancer Agency meeting with Dr K and getting “news”. That whole day unfolded slowly so it wasn’t until about 5PM that I was able to sit down and search for fan club tickets. Anyways, I managed to get tickets right beside the stage, 17 rows up. They look pretty awesome but we’ll see on concert night! Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the band was Iron Maiden…

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Next is a recent purchase (layaway actually). I often stop into my local Long & McQuade music store to check out their guitars and buy strings and things. Well last Monday a particular guitar caught my eye. It was a Gretsch G5620T in blue. I normally don’t care for Gretsch guitars because of their neck profiles, but this one was different. It felt really good in my hand and was very resonant. I don’t normally buy new gear. I stick to used because you get good gear for half the price. So I hung it back up and left the store.

I came back on Wednesday because I had forgotten to buy strings on Monday – probably from being distracted by that Gretsch. I picked up my strings and had another look at the Gretsch before leaving the store.

After humming and hawing for the evening, and recalling a time where I wanted a particular guitar at Long & McQuade but waited a day too long and being told that someone had literally just left the store with it, I decided to put the Gretsch on layaway. I have a separate bank account that I use for buying and selling guitar stuff. I usually make money on gear and as it accumulates, I decide on what I want to buy. Basically, it’s separate from our family finances and I have an agreement with Wendy that I would only spend my guitar money when I want something. I didn’t have enough money in it to buy the guitar but I currently have a bunch of stuff for sale, so I was confident I could pay for the guitar in short order – as my items sold. So I drove over to Long & McQuade, found my favorite salesman and asked him to put the Gretsch on layaway for me. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a stock picture in blue. Mine is blue.


And now for some not so good news. I’m not sure if Wendy had mentioned an experimental procedure that BCCA was currently studying that involved a lidocaine infusion. Anyways, long story short, they attach an IV and infuse the patient with a bag of premixed lidocaine – the same stuff Dentist’s use to freeze your mouth. In this case the thought is that the lidocaine would provide a general anesthetic-like effect on the affected nerves, and the patient would get relief for weeks if not months.

Well sign me up! I can only dream of being pain free for any extended period of time. So I was scheduled for yesterday, October 15th at 10AM. I made it to my appointment on time and got set up for my treatment. Rob was there to drive me home after the procedure. Apparently, there was a chance that I may feel numb and disoriented along with some other temporary side effects. He showed up at 10AM expecting, like me, that the procedure would happen in short order. But…There were a number of delays one of which was a blood test that hadn’t been done. I guess they needed to check my potassium levels before the infusion. Why? I have no idea. Then they had to line up a pharmacist to brew up the mixture and a nurse who could check my vital every 10 or 15 minutes. They managed to get all of that done by about 1 or 2 PM and then the infusion finally started. I got to spend most of the day with my favorite father-in-law. Out of all of my fathers-in-law, he’s the best.

So the infusion was finally finished. My tongue felt a little tingly, my mouth didn’t want to work properly and I slurred like a drunk. Probably not as bad but close. The nerve pain in my leg was gone and I could only feel the muscular pain of unknown origin that has been haunting me for several days, maybe even a couple of weeks.

I met with Dr H who went over my symptoms with me as well as what I could do for the muscle pain until that one is figured out. She was happy about the nerve pain resolution in my leg but didn’t come across as confident that the procedure was a success. I was advised of two other procedures that could be done (won’t bore you with those) and then I was released. Besides feeling kind of drunk, I felt pretty good.

Until about 7PM. That’s when the new pain started. I was sitting down playing the guitar in the living room and Wendy was trying to surreptitiously record me in action. We had a we bit of an argument over this when it felt like my foot caught fire. Yup, that’s what I said. Hurt like a son of a bitch. Then the pain extended to my knee and ass. I quickly shut everything down and “ran” into the family where I asked Wendy to wrap my foot in ice. The I needed another ice pack for the muscular pain in my upper leg as well as my burning ass.

It was a bit of a gong show until Wendy and I managed me upstairs into out bed and wrap me up in a combination of ice packs, comforters and an electric blanket. I was shivering, my foot was on fire, my ass was on fire, the muscles in the upper leg were in spasm and screaming in pain. Then I just lost my mind. It was too much. I didn’t know what to do, Wendy didn’t know what to do and I was in so much pain I was losing my mind. That’s when the self-pity and crying came. Let’s not forget anger. I knew it was the wrong place to go but at this point I just wanted to die. It’s bad enough that I have cancer, but do I have to be in so much pain all of the time? Do I have to be robbed of sleep every night? Do I have to be prevented from enjoying the one hobby that I have? I can’t even sit down for more than 20 minutes or so to play the instrument that I love playing. I was caught in a whirlwind of pain, anger and self-pity. I eventually took enough hydromorphone to pass out for an hour or so. And continued to do so every two hours as per the Drs orders.

I woke up this morning still in pain, but the normal stuff that I felt before I went into the BCCA for the lidocaine procedure. The muscular pain is still very painful, but at least I’m not on fire anymore.

That experience took a lot out of me and brought me to a pain threshold that I don’t want to experience again. Today I am tired and sad. I hope to continue recuperating and eventually put a smile back on my face. But right now, it’s too much to ask.

21 thoughts on “Music, Layaways and a Little Something Else

  1. I’ve always found it comforting in trying times to tell myself that everything happens for a reason…that even inexplicably bad things have a purpose, if I just look hard enough for it. Then I can learn from the experience, maybe become a better person in some small way, and move on.

    I’m not sure if I’ll ever feel that way again.

    You are a gracious man, Ben, and I have been trying to emulate your grace for the past few months, although not nearly as successfully as you. You have reminded me of the pleasure and beauty to be found in small things, the kind of things that are easy to overlook when you’re immersed in the day-to-day minutia that is life. I have started doing things that I was often in the habit of putting off because they were too difficult to organize, or too time-consuming, or too expensive…no more. So if there is any positive to be pulled out of your present, utterly unfair circumstance, it’s that you have had, and will continue to have, a profoundly positive impact on the people around you.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Your post today made me realize why there have been over 20,000 views of our little closed blog and yet only occasional comments. It is because it is almost impossible for anyone to find adequate words. (although Lisa did a pretty good job, and technically Barb too since she ‘ditto’d).

    I am forever by your side, walking this path with you. When I vowed “in sickness and in health” I didn’t understand that it would be so easy to remain at your side, because you have made it so that I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.

    Like every other tough road we have walked, we will walk this path together, hand in hand, until we reach the sunshine on the other side of the mountain. The side with no pain.

    Forever devoted to you,

    Wendy xo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sorry for being such a pain in the ass sometimes. Especially last night. If your being honest you know that at some point you thought “oh come on!! Shut up already!! I’m trying to sleep!!!”

      But seriously, thank you. Xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

      • There are plenty of times I have wanted you to shut up. Like when I spent money on something you didn’t agree with, or when you bitched and complained about the tree I cut out of the back yard. I could go on. But the one thing you can be utterly certain of… this whole shitty cancer mess, I never, ever think you should shut up. The sight of you in pain and crying is one of the most physically and emotionally painful things that I could ever experience, but I think its good for you to get it out. Sometimes you keep too much inside. Let it out man! Thats what I’m here for. I will take your burden off your shoulders and carry for you, so that you don’t have to. I will never leave you alone. I will never wish for you to shut up.


    • I was certainly playing with madness last night. I love that DVD by the way. I was checking it out on last night. Almost bought it. Lol.


  3. I, like many I am sure, look at this blog every day. Wendy, you are bang on. Sometimes it is so hard to know what to say. I will say this. I think about your family every day. I detest this is happening to Ben…. to you all. You are all in my mind and heart. I wish there was something I could do and I hate that there is nothing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. F… Cancer! I wish I could take the pain away Ben, you can bitch and complain all you want to Benny, it is the only way to release the emotional pressure to keep on fighting. I love you Ben❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ Wendy thank you for strength….you are awesome and I am grateful that Ben picked you and your family in marriage❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️


  5. You are one tough man Ben and you have one heck of a strong team standing with you in this fight. You are not alone. We are all here for you, Wendy and the kids.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ben, I’m so very sorry the lidocaine was a disappointment. I so hoped it would help you. I’ve had a few clients have it, with about 50% of them having success and the others with similar responses as yours.
    Just remember this team of family and friends all here to help as much as we can…please please please don’t hesitate to ask for help. Love you guys. Fuck cancer


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