The way he has been feeling these past few weeks all makes sense now…now that he is out of the hospital. We went into the cancer center early Monday morning for the regularly scheduled program…ehhhhemm…treatment, excuse me. Routinely enough, it feels like a weekly running program doesn’t it? Anyway, Monday morning came and we waited for the morning meeting with the oncologist. Blood work was done prior to, of course, with vitals and copayments…the same every week. This time brought results that made sense. John’s hemoglobin was just under 5. Now this did not mean too much to me, as I am not in the medical field, and I think the blank stare resonated with the oncologist as he explained, “An adult male is supposed to be at 13.” 13?!?! What?!?! How was John even walking around at this point? Granted, he did feel completely horrible with such back pain we did not sleep one wink the night before. Both of us, bags under our eyes sat before the doctor and wondered, “What next?” Concerned to hear the news, we would do anything at this point. He recommended he would admit John to the hospital adjoining the cancer center (where he had stayed for over a week when he got the chest tube put in a few months ago) and get all the necessary testing and transfusions done. This way he could be monitored closely and everything could fall in place faster. When you do these things as an outpatient, scheduling moves at a slower pace and the urgency was obvious.
I darted home, grabbed a few things and met John back at the hospital waiting area. I remember walking back in the automatic double doors to find John, his head in his hands from pain, wanting to whisk him upstairs to make it all go away. Time does not move fast enough when you have the impatience of a wife whose husband’s body is in agonizing chaos. Even five minutes seems like an eternity. Finally, we made our way upstairs to our room, with a view, and got settled in. The amount of back pain was so excruciating that he was given two forms of pain medicine. It was so alarming, the oncologist called for xrays and several CT scans of his back to make sure cancer had not spread into his spinal cord. By Monday evening, his distressed body was exhausted and all he wanted to do was sleep. He received two bags of his matching A+ blood and a third was on the way when he began to shiver uncontrollably. It was so surreal to watch and I immediately called the RN to come to his rescue. His fever had climbed and I kept throwing blankets on him as two nurses came rushing to his side. They immediately stopped the I.V. and took his temperature. It shot up to 100.7 and concern rose. They monitored him so closely prior to the transfusion and up to this point, a call to the oncologist is all they could do. A few minutes later, the issue was resolved with Tylenol. Yes, Tylenol did the job…it brought his fever under control and minimized the cold shivers. The third bag came and went, we drained his chest to relieve pressure from his torso to his backside and...all of a sudden, we were into our second day in the hospital. A fourth bag was recommended early that morning and we finally got through the process by the evening. Two full days and one long night later, he was finally discharged.
Ahhhh…the feeling of walking out of the hospital after those long two days was indescribable. The air was warm and inviting as I trekked, hands full of our belongings, to our car in the back end of the parking lot. I pulled the car around and waited for John to be wheeled down to the front entrance. The doors opened, John was escorted out, and we plopped him in the car for the greatest ride ever. We were on our way home…that is why. We were on our way home to shower and rest in our own bed once again. His face was finally full of color and his voice was back to my John’s spirit once again. He has an amazing smile and I was so thankful to see it again. I wish I could be more like John. I wish I had his stamina and outlook on this setback. He sees all this as a part of the process. I do too, don’t get me wrong, but to undergo what he feels on a daily basis has to be impossible. He continues, he fights, and he smiles even when it hurts the most…. this is all a part of his recovery and I support that wholeheartedly. How can I not? This difficult road is one he is on and it is all because of him, that he is still here. Keep going baby….we are all here in support and you are doing a remarkable job.