Tuesday, June 2, 2009

How do you spell 'Can't get off the couch'?


Its heavy hand pressed me down on my couch this afternoon. I had my cell phone in one hand and the house phone in the other hand, waiting for the world to somehow rouse me. I had given Katie the newspaper I was reading because it contained a story of interest to us. We had been talking about whether dogs always wag their tails involuntarily or if sometimes they can will themselves to "smile" by wagging. Today's New York Times had a related story headlined, "In that Tucked Tail, Real Pangs of Regret?" It was the opposite emotion, but it raised a similar question about how much control animals have over the signs they give. Katie took the paper into the kitchen, and I thought about getting up to take a walk.

But I couldn't get motivated. I called Katie, who was just one room away, but she didn't hear me. Then I sunk pretty low: I called her on her cell phone. She didn't pick up, but soon after she came back in.

"I have a bad case of inertia," I said. "Hey, that's a good SAT word. I-N-E-R-T-I-A." I then gave her a definition, using my current state as an example.

I guess I had good reason. Yesterday Joe drove me to my clinic appointment, where the bright spot was that my platelets were 21 -- out of the teens. My hematocrit, however, had dropped to 27. I told Melissa I could feel that it was dropping. She said not to worry, that it was OK and I'd probably get blood in the next visit or two. Meanwhile I'm in that limbo where I feel more tired, but my hematocrit is not low enough for a transfusion (they transfuse at 25 to 24).

I slept at Diane's last night because Joe had to leave to get back for his job as an umpire. My friend Chip picked me up Newton this morning and drove me home. I guess the back-and-forth probably added to my fatigue.

I did end up getting the platelets yesterday. My nurse in the transfusion room couldn't get the IV in. She poked me twice, each time jiggling the needle for what seemed like ages while trying to catch a vein. I started getting queasy and considered asking her to get another nurse, but she called for help on her own. The other nurse came and got the IV right in.

Nurse number 1 said, "Sorry, I haven't missed an IV all day." Then, speaking of Nurse number 2, who had left, she said, "I'll have to buy her a Starbucks." I almost said, "How about buying ME a Starbucks?" But I didn't see the point. She said she thought I was dehydrated, making my veins flat instead of plump. This earned me a liter of fluids and another hour at the clinic.

Anyway, today I did finally get up and do the mile around the lake. I was walking so slowly that during the time the dog was on the leash, I felt bad for her. I let her off when we met up with a friendly golden retriever who shared his tennis ball and ran in and out of the water with Maddie. So she got her exercise and I got mine, although mine was a bit of a struggle.


susiegb said...

Hey, I know it's hard, but I think it's really great that you keep up with the walking, forced yourself to take the dog out for a walk. Exercise is such an important part of our recovery, climbing back up that slippery slope. I've always found it so easy to find seriously good excuses not to, but I honestly believe it's essential. Even just to get the heart rate up a bit and all that lovely fresh air into your lungs and body - think how much good that does for you.

And dogs are so good for that aren't they! Those longing looks ... I've only got a cat and she definitely doesn't want to be taken for a walk, although she does love playing outside in the veggie garden with me!! But not the same!!

PJ said...

Keep plugging away at it Ronni, you're doing so well. I'm feeling pretty inert myself these days. Where would we be without our kids and dogs?

Susan C said...

After reading the title of this post, I totally expected to find you on the couch, but no. You're still walking around the lake. You sure know how to turn inertia into action.

pam said...

Ronni, what you have gone through is so ennervating -- i feel exhausted just thinking about what you've been through...
i've been feeling rather blah lately -- didn't even really have the energy to call -- after helping a few friends...and again,i haven't been through anything... rundown is natural...but

Runder-Woman will be fleet-footed and up and running after a much needed respite...
interesting question re tails -- have to think about it -- their instincts are so tied into response -- but i also know that they can fake things -- and of course think! and plot...(childhood Frisky used to fake a limp as if he had arthritis for attention, then when he was on the terrace and thought no one was looking, would run! there's that word again! a great canine omen ! )
also, don't you recall any long-looks that dogs give us for sympathy or to feign remorse?


Jim said...

How about a Starbucks for everybody?

Keep firing forward, RG. We are proud of you and thinking of you often.


Wendy S. Harpham, MD said...


It's easy to do things that are easy to do. And it's difficult to do things that are difficult. These are truisms that help me when I'm struggling with something.

You find out who you are during the tough times, not the good times (it's easy to be generous if you are rich, brave if you are in control, and so on).

Despite a sense of inertia justified by the objective measures of anemia alone, you willed yourself to walk. You accomplished what many others couldn't.

baby steps + baby steps. After awhile, you've walked a journey.

With hope, Wendy

Anonymous said...

Ronni - You are back home. Yeah!!! Patty

donna said...

I spell "can't get off the couch" by "my knee still hurts!" It is so frustrating! It is feeling a little better, but slow going. I know I have nothing to complain about, however, after what you've been through. I'm taking cues from you and thinking baby steps. I love that you can feel that you're getting stronger. Can't wait to join you and Maddie for a loop (or two) around the lake!