I’ve been here eleven days. It seems like a month. I am entrenched into the routine of the ward now, and have my daily rituals, based on what times vitals are taken, blood, doctors’ rounds, etc. There is no interaction between patients, all doors to rooms are closed. When some of us do our laps in the hall pulling along our IV poles, it is basically eyes straight ahead with maybe a nod of hello. I’ve begun to think that everyone undergoing this transplant process is so focused and into themselves, that they cannot break that pattern, even for a brief chat.
Everyone else is very chatty, and you are never left alone too long. I am constantly being checked on and asked if there is anything I need. There is a pantry down the hall stocked with sodas, popsicles, Ensure products, Campbell soups and lots of crushed ice and water. When the appetite is bad, I do take advantage of this pantry. There is also a snack cart that comes around once a day. Everything is done wearing a mask and using the antiseptic hand sanitizer all the time. I have never seen so many boxes of purple gloves.
Larry and Kellie have been the only visitors so far, because we have been going through a very busy chemo-filled several days. I get the last two days of the dreaded Cytoxan chemo Monday and Tuesday. Even the name sounds, well, toxic. My blood counts will eventually basically drop to zero before Kellie’s takes over. This could take up to three weeks. They post the blood counts every morning on a board in my room. My rebirth day was May 4, 2012, so I will be celebrating my birthdays on that date from then on. Earlier presents. Yeah!
I have a lot of electronic devices with me and I do switch off when I feel good. I am into reading a novel about Ireland called The Yellow House, but at times I can’t concentrate too well. Chemo brain is real. I’ll spare you the details about the other nasty side effects I’m having. Use your imagination. Kellie brought me a 500 piece puzzle and I have it set up on my table near the big window. It’s a great way to pass the time. People come in just to see how much more I’ve done.
Lonnie and Michael are holding down the fort at home (Kellie is home now recuperating). Lonnie promised me some homemade chocolate chip cookies when I’m ready. Michael and Grammy SKYPE from time to time, so that makes things easier. Larry is so busy trying to do so much, and I know he is very tired at times. But just to sit this afternoon with him and watch a ball game is heaven.
I am hanging in there. As the doctor put it the other day, “the shuttle is launched, there is no turning back now”. It’s not a walk in Disney World, but it’s doable. He has a lot of phrases like that. I am thinking about all the paintings I want to create when I come home, but that won’t be until at the very least a year after discharge. They say it takes that long to get full strength. The mantra is one day at a time. Don’t look too far ahead.
Once again, thanks everyone for all the prayers, support and phone calls, cards and e-mails. I am riding on all of your wings. I am truly blessed.