Thursday, August 7, 2008

Ready or not, here I come!

Those incremental baby steps are adding up to some long strides.

Let me compare my day on Monday, pre-steroids, to my day today.

Monday (Times approximate):
11:30 am Janet comes to pick me up for my appointments. I've just emerged from the shower and I'm languishing on the bed in my bathrobe. Getting dressed seems like a monumental task. I slowly dress, carefully selecting a pair of black Lucy yoga pants covered in cat hair. We leave 15 minutes later.

12:10 pm Janet drops me off while she parks the car. I'm happy to see that there's no line for check-in.

12:30 pm I walk a few feet to have my blood drawn and feel exhausted.

12:40 pm Janet and I wait together for the shuttle that will take us to Helford Hospital for an x-ray.

1:00 pm I slowly change into a robe and have an x-ray taken. Breathing in and holding my breath is difficult.

1:10 pm We ask for a wheel chair and Janet pushes me to my clinic appointment with Dr. Forman. I hope that I don't see anyone I know.

1:30 pm The nurse assistant takes my vitals. I ask the nurses if it's OK to sit in the room for a few more minutes because the thought of walking back to the waiting room is too challenging.
I'm quickly called in to see Dr. Forman.

1: 45 pm Janet handles the scheduling of my next appointment while I rest in a chair.

2:00 pm Janet wheels me back to the car.

When we're back in Altadena, Janet runs errands for me while I wait in the car. I cannot wait to go home and take a nap.

Today, Thursday:
8:00 am I shower and dress and I'm careful to select something that doesn't make me look like a Persian cat.

11:50 am: I drive to my appointment, park in the regular parking lot and walk to the check-in desk. I only need to take one breathing break on the way.

12:20 pm The check-in desk is so busy that they're using the number system. I feel like I'm waiting for a knish. I pass the time by trading knock-knock jokes with a nine-year old boy. (Knock, knock. Who's there? Red. Red who? Ready or not, here I come.)

I also talk with a woman from Bishop (five hours away) who's there with her young adult son. The only remnant of his brain tumor is a jagged, four-inch scar on the back of his head. He beat cancer eight years ago, but fell victim to a stroke (unrelated) six years later. The remnants of that episode are more obvious - diminished cognitive abilities, loss of most expressive communication and physical limitations on one side of his body. But he's a happy young man who insists I take one of his three packs of Rollos. I take just one from the package.

1:30 pm I'm finally called for my blood draw.

1:40 pm Because of the long waits for check-in and blood draw, I'm late for my x-ray appointment. I decide that it will be faster to walk than wait for the sometimes unreliable shuttle. I stop at every possible bench on the way. During one of my bench stops, I run into a delightful lady from Hawaii. We met several weeks ago in the CT scan waiting room. She and her husband will live at Hope Village after he's discharged from his auto stem cell transplant. Until then, she's living in her husband's hospital room. We make a date for lunch next week.

2:00 pm Several bench breaks later, I arrive for my appointment. Reuben (the Rollo man) and his mom have taken the shuttle and arrive ten minutes after me.

2:30 pm I walk back to the clinic for my appointment with Dr. Forman. On the way, I again take several bench breaks. This time I see a woman I met a few weeks ago at a Lymphoma & Leukemia Society event. She is a fellow "cell mate" (MCL patient) and is now on staff at City of Hope. We make a date to have coffee together.

3:30 pm I handle my own appointment making and head back to the car. I walk about 100 steps and feel the need to slouch on a couch. Ruth, the woman I chatted with in the appointment line sees me and joins me. We have a lovely 20-minute conversation and then walk toward the parking lot together. I make it as far as the Fountain of Life and decide to take the shuttle the rest of the way. Ruth and I hug goodbye.

4:10 pm I head for home. I cannot wait to go home and do an interview for a story I'm working on.

To be honest, I think that my shortness of breath has improved just slightly, but my energy level has shot up significantly. I'm no longer exhausted after minimum exertion. On Monday, even talking sometimes felt like running a 10 k. I was withdrawn and not interested in engaging with others. (I wasn't depressed; I just had no energy.) Today, I was working the room and making lunch and coffee dates.

Gotta' love those 'roids!


Paula L. Johnson said...

Smookie, aren't you forgetting something?

I think that ENORMOUS PASTRAMI SANDWICH I saw you eat on Wednesday helped as well. Likely interacted with the steroids in a medically swell manner.

Susan C said...

And not only that, I gained 2.5 pounds since Monday. I'm up to a strappin' 113.5 pounds.

Nancy said...

The "Roids" wreaked havoc on me and are doing wonders for you. Some just love the steroids and others dread em!!!

Thanks for posting. I was sitting on pins and needles today. I'm certainly elated that you are feeling a bit better. Please don't overdo it. love, n

Trish said...

yippie kai yay!

I know for a fact that pastrami and 'roids help! Well, that and chocolate!

Keep taking those increments and look for the benches!

You only have a hund....well, nevermind how many pounds you have to catch up to me...just keep eating! ;-)

Chris said...

So glad to hear that you're getting back to your old shenanigans. Don't wear yourself out in a race toward normal. You'll reach that goal before you know it. In terms of weight gain, I have a double chocolate fudge cookie recipe that I'm sending you. It always puts a ridiculous amount of weight on me and Chris asked me to stop making them since it does the same to him. I miss those cookies, so when I want them, I have to invent a reason to bake. I'll send it over late. :)