Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Other Four-Letter Words | Chapter 16 of 29 - Part: 1 of 6

Author: Michael Ausiello | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 4304 Views | Add a Review

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9.

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Michael Ausiello

March 27, 2014 • Image


Kit completed his first three-day chemo cycle yesterday and will now recuperate at home for three weeks before Cycle 2 starts in late April. He’s doing fairly well on the side-effect front so far—there’s some light nausea, malaise and sleepiness but nothing too major. Kit’s background as a world-class napper has already come in VERY handy.

In an effort to keep Kit nourished and avoid any substantial chemo-related weight loss, I was plying my huzzzzzband with homemade, high-fat shakes, courtesy of the Magic Bullet blender my Maryland-based brother, David, and sister-in-law Pam had shipped to us as a wedding/get-well present.

My secret recipe included one eight-ounce bottle of vanilla-flavored Ensure, one cup of vanilla ice cream, a tablespoon of Skippy creamy peanut butter, a scoop of whey protein powder, and a drizzle of constipation-alleviating castor oil. All told about six hundred calories. Kit had been averaging two of these nutrient-rich shakes a day, followed by a dinner that consisted of whatever food he happened to be craving at that moment, usually ordered via New York’s foremost takeout app Seamless. (Depending on my mood or hunger level, I’d either piggyback on his order or grab a vegan cheeseburger from the health-food shop down the block.)

As Kit took a shower one morning, I whipped up Shake No. 1 of the day. I should mention that this was no ordinary day. For the first time since Kit started chemo more than two weeks ago, I was leaving him home alone for an extended period, to attend to some classified TVLine business: a special, intimate screening of HBO’s Ryan Murphy–shepherded TV adaptation of Larry Kramer’s AIDS opus The Normal Heart. I was scheduled to interview Murphy about his passion project the next week, and this viewing (slated to begin at noon at HBO’s midtown offices) would be my final opportunity to see the film before doing so. It was a big, buzzy piece of television with an all-star cast that included Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, and Jim Parsons, and while I could have reassigned the screening/story to another member of my team, I’d been looking forward to covering this project from the moment it was announced. And, selfishly, I didn’t want The Lurker to rob me of the opportunity.

Plus, I’d been carrying roughly 25 percent of my typical TVLine workload—all from the comfort of my living room couch—since embarking on this cancer journey with Kit some six weeks ago, and maintaining ownership on a big story like this would go a long way toward making me feel like I hadn’t completely abandoned the site I’d launched three years ago.

Of course, the closer it got to show time, the more it started to hit me that I’d be spending my rare two-hour caregiver respite watching young gay men succumb to a debilitating terminal illness as their lovers helplessly looked on.

What in sadomasochistic hell had I been thinking?

As I began to consider the possibility of sending Matt Mitovich to the screening in my stead, I heard the shower shut off, followed almost immediately by a thump that sounded like Kit’s six-three body hitting the bed.

I stole away from the Magic Blender to peer into the bedroom, and sure enough, there was Kit lying facedown on the bed with his head in a pillow. His body was trembling. And he was panting.

“Kit, what’s happening?” I worriedly asked as I darted to his side.

“I’m having pain,” he told me in between labored breaths.

“Where?” I asked.

“Grab me a towel,” he pleaded.

I ran into the bathroom, fetched his towel, returned to the bed, and placed it over his naked, soaking-wet body. He was in so much pain he wasn’t even able to dry himself off.

I resisted the temptation to touch him because, based on experience, Kit in distress was not a Kit who liked to be handled.

After about three minutes, his breathing started to stabilize. He moved the towel off his back and slowly started drying himself. He then cautiously shifted onto his side.

“Where is the pain?” I whispered.

“My ass,” he said. “I was just standing in the shower and all of a sudden I felt a sharp burning sensation. My knees practically buckled.”

“How is it now?”

“Better,” he sighed. “I think it’s passed.”

I attempted to put on a strong, non-panicked face for Kit, but inside I was freaking the fuck out. That was the most pronounced display of physical suffering from Kit I’d witnessed so far, and the fact that I had no idea what had caused it made it all the more terrifying. Was it a side effect of the chemo? Was it the chemo attacking The Lurker? Was it, God forbid, The Lurker growing—which would mean the chemo wasn’t working and Kit might not even be able to hit Dr. Davis’s one-year survival prediction?

In the meantime, I was already mentally preparing to break the news to Mitovich that I was blowing up his afternoon to send him to the Normal Heart screening.

“I made you a shake,” I informed Kit, my first attempt at trying to get our otherwise “normal” morning back on track.

“I’ll take it outside,” he said, referring to the private deck that was becoming something of a sanctuary for him these past few weeks as winter gave way to spring.

The “secret” terrace perched outside our bathroom window had been one of the apartment’s big draws when I signed my one-year lease back in August. It was a quirky, imperfect space, to be sure: To access it you had to climb through our bathroom window. And the deck itself sloped slightly downward, which made sitting in our outdoor chairs, while not untenable, slightly awkward. And at a modest six-by-six, the quasi-terrace could accommodate a maximum of four people comfortably.

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Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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