What a week it’s been. Last Sunday I drove to Orlando and dropped all three girl dogs off with my wonderful son-in-law who took the bullet for me and did what I could not bear to do. He drove to the west coast of Florida to relocate my beloved girl dogs. I was able to send Lucy back to the breeder who made her, and Maritza and Zoey were welcomed to join her for placement into homes in which they would receive the attention they deserve. It was the right thing to do, but that didn’t make it feel any better. I couldn’t even look in the rear view mirror on the way to Matt, because I felt like I’d turn around and race home if I made eye contact with any one of them. I barely remember transferring them to his car, I do remember him giving me a huge bear hug, which just made me crack. I certainly don’t remember driving home. I do remember the huge pile of damp Kleenex on the seat next to me that I had to dump in the trash, so I must have been bawling my eyes out. I just keep trying to focus on the important reason for the decision. I need to channel all my energy, love and caring into keeping Steven well. He was so beat up when he arrived in the hospital that they had to mask him up to get him to the room without anyone sharing a germ with him!
Steven was in really bad shape for the first 4 days in the hospital. He received what seemed like gallons of blood, IV drips of antibiotics, potassium, platelets and probably a little Spic & Span to clean up his blood. It took a couple of days for his skin to go from grey to white to pink to normal. And every time he seemed to feel a little energy, he’d get wiped out from overzealously texting me. By Wednesday night I was starting to get really nervous. His progress seemed so slow that I thought he’d be in the big house forever! I could only visit him for about an hour each evening until he was shooing me off because he just didn’t have the energy to stay alert.
I was so worried that I texted Dr. Sprawls and asked him to call me. Earlier in the week I was able to get a speakerphone visit with him and Steven one morning during rounds. The doc was very pleased with Steven’s progress, but the rest of my updates were via Steven which was really messing me up. Chemo brain is a lot like Brian Williams…inaccurate reporting! Again the doctor told me that this was all pretty normal, albeit pretty sucky. He told me I didn’t need to worry about Steven’s infection any more because it was under control even if it seemed to be moving out slowly. Of course that only made me ask him to tell me what I should worry about. I wish I could stop thinking that every report was a trick answer! The doctor told me I should concentrate on worrying about giving up my dogs until I got that under control. Somehow, his understanding of the emotional overload I’ve been under made me feel better about all of it.
And then Steven asked me on a date. On Thursday he called before I left for work and asked me to stop on the way to see him to pick up some non-hospital food for me so we could have dinner together. He texted me throughout the day, so proud of the plans he was making. We were going to watch a movie after dinner so he arranged moving seating hospital style for us! We haven’t had a date for a while, so this was a pretty sweet gesture under the circumstances! And just so I wouldn’t freak me out when I arrived, he broke the news via photo – Oh, yeah! My hair is falling out!
I sat across the room a bit so I didn’t have to wear a mask, and we ate and talked like normal people…in hospital gowns. His of the patient variety and mine of the quarantine variety. We we going to watch a movie after dinner, but first I had big date plans for him. I suited up completely with mask and gloves, moved him over to the other side of the room to a chair, draped him in towels and shaved his head. If his hair was starting to fall out and his pillow always looked like a drain in a high school locker room shower, I can fix that! Hairy pillow – Not sexy! Doing the honors was priceless!
Steven looked good bald in 2004 and he still looks pretty dapper to me. He took it like a champ and even let me take some mug shots. It was a little hard for him to yuk it up with me because all the buzzing gave him a massive headache. And he tires pretty easy so the makeover seemed like a day’s work to him. Of course the nursing staff has been very attentive to him since they all feel pretty proud that he didn’t let him kick the bucket during his first 24 hours there! That always seems to bring a great togetherness to the group, wouldn’t you say? So his favorite nurse, Hannah, just poked her head in as we were finishing and asked if he was having any pain. He told her he had a pretty bad headache and she was back with some horse tranquilizers within minutes. So there went the movie. We only had about 30 minutes in the chairs, holding hand to glove…and then he conked out. I helped him back into bed before he started to go down for the count and I slipped out the door, pretty grateful for the time we had.
So what a difference a week makes. He’s coming home tomorrow, he feels better and can actually walk and get up by himself. That’s huge! I put him in the wheelchair and rolled him out of here last Friday. I had dogs to round up and secure so we could get out the door and a dozen things that needed to be done for them before we could leave. He was in pain, weak and hanging on by a thread. And tomorrow he’ll be back to a quiet house, with hopefully fewer cooties, definitely safer for padding around the floor without tripping on a squeaky toy, bone or stealth girl dog, and he’ll have my complete attention.
What a makeover it’s been. And we’re still just starting!
If you want to help me take more time away from work and have more time home caring for Tumor Boy and writing about our adventures with Cancer, we’d be so very grateful if you’d visit our Go Fund Me Page. Our insurance has a lot of loopholes for things that aren’t covered, and my job has no loopholes for being able to work from home! And I’m gonna do whatever I have to do to keep my husband around. After all, I just got him house broken!
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