Vacuuming on steroids

Image result for tasmanian devil spinning
Warner Bros. Looney Tunes Tasmanian Devil Character

Woohoo! Nothing like a steroid boost to make me spin like the Tasmanian Devil. The cartoon character of my childhood, not the much-maligned, misunderstood marsupial. They don’t spin.

I started on a high dose of Prednisone a year ago in April to repair my Keytruda-damaged gut. It worked. We reduced the dose from 60mg down to 10mg, which was good for maintenance. In February, we tried cutting it to 5mg. Bad idea. I’m now back up to 60mg until some healing starts.

Steroids give me extra energy. My brain works faster. Not better, but faster. The steroids also erase most of my fatigue, at least at this high dose, at least for part of the day, before I crash. Prednisone has a short half-life.

Today I went to exercise class with Liz. Then after lunch Did Things. I don’t usually Do Things. I usually Do a Thing…on a good day. But this afternoon I did one thing after another.

Liz asks if I could vacuum the upstairs. Sure. I can do that. Ooooh! A burnt-out lightbulb. I can change that out. Yep. All by myself, without any breakdowns or rests. Then I grab my screwdriver set to tighten a loose bathroom towel bar that has been haunting our bathroom for a few weeks. I can do that! Wait…it needs more than tightening. The wall anchors are loose in the wallboard. I need better wall anchors. Whoever thought drywall, which is just dust between heavy paper, should be able to support towel racks, is crazy. Downstairs, out to the garage to remove the old screws from the towel bar plate. Harder than I thought, but I figure it out. I’m doing it. I am good! Yeah!

I take more screwdrivers and some new wall anchors back upstairs. Bummer. They are too small. But hey, I’ve got this. Run downstairs and out to the garage, hunting around my junked up workbench for toggle bolts. My friend Rocky has told me a couple of times I ought to clean up my garage. He’s right. I should. But not just now.

I find some toggle bolts that will work. Run back upstairs. Oh no! Where is the towel bar screw plate? I look all over the bathroom for it. It’s not in my pockets either. Really. I check them three times. Run back down to the garage. I hunt for it in my mess. No luck. This is crazy! I go inside and look around at any other place I might have been. Why do I forget things? Stupid chemo brain. Back upstairs to look. Nope. Check pockets again. Nope. Back to the garage. Ah, there it is–why didn’t I see it before? I take it upstairs, put the toggle bolts through it, shove them into the drywall holes and screw it down tight. Nice. Not strong enough for pull-ups, but strong enough for a few more years of towel usage. Drywall dust all over the edge of the tub. I need to remember to vacuum that up.

Vacuuming–that’s right. I’m supposed to be vacuuming. I fetch the Hoover, check the bag to make sure it’s not full, and wheel it into the bathroom. I use the attachments to clean the drywall dust off the tub before I forget it’s there. While I’m at it, hey, I should do the blinds–they look a bit dusty. I vacuum the blinds. If we did a bathroom reno, would we use these blinds or get new ones? I don’t know. Do I care? Vroom-vroom-vroom. That baseboard looks dusty–better vacuum that too. Then the floor. The vacuum is on a roll. I’m on a spin, like Taz. Yep. Vacuuming is my superpower. Dust disappears and I’m just getting started.

On to the master bedroom. Carpet now. Change the settings for carpet. Vroom-vroom. Oh, there is the pile of my underwear Liz thinks I never wear. She’s been doing the Marie Kondo Tidying Up thing lately, and she’s not even on steroids. I rescue a few of my undies I’m not ready to part with, folding them in Kondo thirds. Back to vacuuming. Even move the dog cages and vacuum under them. You can’t hide from me, dust and dog hair! Vroom-vroom.

Down the hallway. Into the front and back bedrooms. Vroom. Picking up things. Vacuuming under things. All those squats and lunges in exercise class come in handy. I’m feeling good. Extraordinarily good. Where are the dogs? What time is it? Vroom-vroom. Why am I sweating so much?

Laundry room. Good bye lint! Oooh…baseboard needs de-linting too. Let’s do it. Yeah! Wow, that doorknob is really loose. Run downstairs for the screwdriver again. Tighten it up. Easy. Door still doesn’t latch though. Should I fix it? Nah. Not today. I don’t feel like getting out my wood chisels to move the strike plate down. There are limits to what I will undertake, even on steroids.

Guest bathroom. The shower curtain rod needs tightening or some kind of surgery. Should I stop and do that? I look at it a bit. No, I don’t know how to fix it right this second, so curtains will droop. Maybe puddling shower curtains are in style. Vroom.

Family room. Gotta move the coffee table, but one of the legs is loose. I can fix that! Run downstairs, get the screwdriver.  Back upstairs. I tighten the leg. After months of “be careful when you move the table–the leg is loose!” I fix it in two minutes. Why couldn’t I do that before? No steroids.

I pick up 6342 dog toys and vacuum the family room. Yeah, I’m done. I wind the cord up on the vacuum. I contemplate a new career as a stand-up comedian. I could be good at that, right? I put the vacuum away. I’m sweating heavily. From the exertion? The steroids? Both? Who cares? I Did Things. 

The exclamation points in this post are steroid induced. How do I sleep when I am so hopped up on Prednisone? Extra Klonopin. It does the job. Though it’s fun to have some energy, this state is not sustainable. I eat too much. The extra energy doesn’t feel natural or good. “Your mood is different,” Liz says. I’m afraid to ask how. The way she says it makes me think she doesn’t find it preferable. Oh well. A few more days will do it, I hope. Then I can start cutting back the Prednisone, taking naps, and Doing a Thing instead of Doing Things.