I’m going home!
Friends, I am so excited and so blessed to write these words this morning, just six days after chemo and a change in meds, as doubling my oxycontin didn’t change its effectiveness; five days after I held my husband’s hand and panicked (ICAN’TGETABREATH!) over oxycontin withdrawal, while my father monitored my pulse and checked my respiration rate; three days after I was sent to the ER with 102′ fever and shortness of breath, which turned out to be pneumonia; just two days after I was admitted to the neuro unit, with 87/57 blood pressure, where they could put me on oxygen and monitor my heart. Time passed quickly in these small beige rooms, and much has changed.
Of all the things I’ll take away from this week, I most want to remember my lovinghusband, who left my side only when asked (7-8 am and pm, unit rules); my incredible parents, who watched my kids and played, dressed, and fed them while we were gone; my friends, willing and eager to pick me up and take me to the ER – or anywhere, really (I wish I could take them somewhere fun for once!), and many of the hospital staff, of course:
Housekeeping, not usually asked to clean the rooms of late-stage cancer patients, didn’t blink at my “do” or the hair I shed on their nice clean floors. At one point, there were three nice women with two brooms and a mop!
The efficient techs who quietly measured my vital signs every 4 hours. Especially the ones with a smile, like the ones on Sunday and Tuesday. Thank you, ladies.
The nurses who talked to me in gentle reassuring tones, or happy tones with friendly words, who made me feel not quite so out-of-place, as I struggled with the addition of “oxygen tubes” as an accessory.
The oncology doctors who checked in and kept things level for me, reassuring me that this has nothing to do with the cancer cells themselves, and I’m not really immunocompromised in our sense of the word, even when people here say I am.
The medical student who read every word of my chart, sitting down after rounds to ask me about IBC and how it presented (Hi, Brian!).
The doctor who really took the time to get to know me, realizing that pneumonia is terrifying for an advanced cancer patient. He patiently explained the treatments and their intended effects, including his take on what might happen at home and when I’d need to come back. He even called my primary care doctor to explain what was going on — and even made me an appointment! His willingness to spend a little extra time with me ensured that I was confident in the treatment — and I am.
The two women who came to my room from pastoral care. Eucharistic ministers, they were simply members of a church trained to share the body and the spirit of Christ with the sick. Their visits were healing, and I felt God’s presence.
Thank you all. I’m going home!