Sunday, January 4, 2009

Taking a small step back from the edge

I can’t say I’m my usual, chipper, go-get-em self, but I think I have taken a step back from the edge. This is probably because a plan is emerging and I feel a little better. Although I still have some fevers, they are decreasing.

Also I seem to look half alive, which seems to please the doctors and which, therefore, pleases me. “You look good,” they say, as though partly surprised but also encouraged. One day a technician came in looking for the patient, and she wasn’t sure if it was Diane or me until she noticed I was the one with the tubes attached to the IV pole.

Dr. Alyea said they might have a new donor lined up by the third week of January, which seems pretty fast to me; maybe I can cross off the scenario where I waste away while waiting for a donor. He said they’d like to get me home in a few days, but only if I have at least a day without a fever. Meanwhile I’ve been getting blood and platelets almost every day. Yesterday I got two bags of platelets, which bumped me to 22, obviously much better than some of my lows but still low enough to get a blood blister on the roof of my mouth from eating a meatball. I feel pretty nostalgic about the old high platelet days just a few weeks ago.

Yesterday PJ popped in from the blogosphere; well, actually, she popped in from Rhode Island, where she lives, having been in Boston for the afternoon. We made a connection through our blogs, then started to talk on the phone, and now we’ve met in real life. It was great to see her.

Today three of my friends from tennis came. We joke that you can’t be on our team if your name doesn’t begin with a D. Obviously there are exceptions, but my three friends who came today are a case in point: There was Debbie Rowe, Deb Doner and Donna Young. It was great to see the “Ds,” who sat with me in my room, cheered me up and walked around and around the sixth floor hallway with me.

You fill in the landscape with some familiar details, and it seems a little less frightening. Diane immediately found Steve, the quirky newspaper guy with the long ponytail and waxed handlebar moustache. As she approached him in the Brigham and Women’s lobby to start up my daily New York Times delivery, he said, “Gordon, right?” This makes me wonder whether he has a great memory or whether he doesn’t have many clients. In any case, the Times shows up at my room every day, a reminder of home.

The nurses already know that I prefer their coffee to the dishwater from the cafeteria, so they get me a cup that I have with a piece of pumpkin bread while waiting for my breakfast to come.

This pod seems smaller and more crowded than others I’ve been on. Even though I’m neutropenic, I’m far enough past my transplant that it’s safe to go off the pod. The other night I was walking around the “square” connecting the pods when a nurse walked by and told me that 20 laps equals a mile.

So I did the 20.

Life goes on.


susiegb said...

Really glad to hear that Ronnie! It's always good when you know there's a plan ... :)

I hope you manage get rid of the fevers, and get home for a few days. That always made me feel so much better, just being in your own familiar surroundings, and away from the hospital.

I think about you a lot, and always check to see if you've written a new post - because I'm wanting to know how you are and what's happening. Those platelets will rise again and you'll be back to beating me on the blood count levels!


PJ said...

Ronni, I'm so glad I came to see you. You do look good. I hope you can get home for a bit before transplant, but it sounds like you're making the most of it at B&W--decent coffee, The New York Times, putting in the miles. Stay strong.

Mikha'el said...

Keep walking the route, pushing the good nutrition and looking forward to better days and spring time.

Mary said...

Hi Ronni,

I'm glad the fevers are decreasing and that you're on track to come home soon. I really miss our Sunday walks but am sooooh glad that you are able to put in your mile on the pod!

Love you and miss you.


Susan C said...

Ronni, How fun that you finally got to meet PJ in person.

Sounds like you're making the best of your confinement.

I made arrangements to have LA and NY Times delivered when I was at CoH. For some reason, the NYT never made it. I'd be on the phone daily, which gave me something to do.

donna said...

Hi Ron! It was so great to visit with you yesterday! It was fun to walk the pod and talk up a storm. Now, as you say, one step at a time. Get rid of the fevers. Get home. Get the new transplant. Get better for good!!!!! Can't wait! Love You!

Howard said...

Happy to see this post and glad to see a plan taking shape. I hope you get some time in familiar surroundings pronto.

Get stronger, post often,

Baby Bird said...

Now that I'm back from vacation, I had a chance to catch up with the runner who writes. I'm so happy that I could read the last few blogs, but I am so sorry that it hasn't been a good holiday season for you. I sure wish I was close enough to come visit. I pray that you'll get to go home soon and get some rest, be in your own digs, and definitely, drink your own coffee!

Nancy said...

Ronnie, what happened? I didn't click on your blog for a day (or so), then the first entry I see is that you may have another donor. I'm sorry that things are not going well, but I must say that I'm inspired by your ability to stay positive. Sounds like your making the best from your stay and I wish you well with this upcoming transplant. You are a real trooper and an inspiration to so many. Your blog entries are fantastic and I promise to click on your blog daily! love, nancy

Anonymous said...


Keep running, walking and fighting. You are doing a great job of managing (what a poor word choice on my part) everything.

Is there anyway you could email or post your address?
Keep on truckin',

Wendy S. Harpham, MD said...

Dear Ronnie,

You are a model "Healthy Survivor," getting good care and living as fully as possible.

I want you to know that I've been working out just a little bit harder since I've been following your blog.

Sending hope your way, Wendy

Anonymous said...

Hi Ronni!
You sound more chipper! Glad to hear that. I am thinking of you. Imagining you doing your laps!
- Patty

serena said...

keep on truckin! u can do this. i know it doesnt feel like it, but this will pass. we will be walking conservatory gardens, eating delicious food, and catching a show on broadway :)