Friday, September 11, 2009

Visit to Serenity Garden breaks up long day

Topiary "Boo Boo Bear" at rooftop Children's Fairy
Garden at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

Instead of the usual Monday, I had my clinic visit yesterday, due to scheduling changes after the Labor Day weekend. As I suspected, my hematocrit was pretty low – requiring two bags of blood – and my platelets were 10, earning me a bag of platelets. At least the platelets stayed in double digits after 10 days between visits instead of the usual seven. My white count was good, 6.1, and I gained a couple of pounds.

So my worries about a system crash were just that, worries. Dr. Alyea is not concerned, although he would like those platelets and rbcs to start doing their thing. Also apparently I did not eat enough potato chips and crackers; my low sodium had risen after I followed instructions to eat salty snacks, but I slacked off after they said the level had risen, and then it started going down again. I don't have much of a "salty" tooth. Too bad my instructions aren't to eat a lot of cake and ice cream.

My friend Margaret, who works downtown, came to have lunch with me while I waited for my blood and platelets. We ate outside at the "secret garden," which is not exactly secret but is not

crowded either. It's a beautiful outdoor spot in Brigham and Women's Hospital's Connors Center for Women's Health, on the six floor at the neonatal intensive care unit, on the other side of the hospital from where I camped out.

One of my doctors had told me about it when I was in the hospital and really wanted to get some air and sun. This was a good way to do it without having to go out in the real world.

The garden was created and is maintained by a landscaper who lost one of his premature triplets about six years ago. (The other two are doing fine.) On one side is Linnea's Serenity Garden, a patio ringed by flowers and bushes. On the other side is The Children's Fairy Garden. They really are serene.

We sat in the Fairy Garden. Overlooking the rooftops of Boston's Mission Hall area, it also has a patio with tables and chairs, bordered by flowers and whimsical stone sculptures, such as the Frog Prince, and topiary such as Boo Boo Bear.

Margaret gave me a beautiful scarf which just happened to pick up the green in the sweater I was wearing as well as many colors on my necklace. The necklace has a story too: My friend Emily and her daughters Jessica and Samantha got it on a trip to Tanzania. It's a local craft made by women in many parts of Africa to empower the "Mamas" in the villages by providing them with an income. The colorful necklace looks like it's made of beads, but really it's paper. When Emily and Jessica came to visit me in the hospital, I admired the necklace, which Jessica was wearing. She took it off and gave it to me.

This was my second time driving myself, my drivers having returned to school. They gave me the transfusions with a little hydrocortisone instead of Benadryl, because Benadryl puts me right to sleep. (I need something because I am prone to reactions.) The drive is one-and-a-half to two hours, depending on traffic.

With help from Starbucks, I did not get sleepy on the way back, which is where I tend to get tired.

Biggest problem driving home alone: Opening the Odwalla bar that I got at the clinic.
Second biggest problem: Actually eating it. Yuk. I still haven't found one of those bars that I like. A chocolatey Balance Bar is palatable.

Last night I talked to my friend Ken, who "played" tennis with me the other day when I was pretty sluggish. I joked that now that my tank is full, we should play today so I could zip around the court just like the players we've been watching at the U.S. Open.

"OK," he said. "I'll be at your house at 11."

"I was only kidding!" I said.

"I know," he said. "See you at 11."

Gotta go get ready.


Margaret said...

It was a remarkable match!

Ronni, have you ever had Cape Cod Russet opotato chips? They are extra delicious and really salty.

Ronni Gordon said...

Haven't had those particular ones but the type I'm working on is Cape Cod chips with sea salt and vinegar.

Terry said...

Hey Ronni - I'm a huge, albeit lurking, fan of yours via your blog. As the mom of a 20-year-old who's had AML and has been fighting pretty huge transplant complications for the last several years, I feel like I've been through the war on the food front. Here's my two cents worth--how about combining salty and sweet in something like kettle corn, ice cream with salty peanuts, or Payday candy bars? And have you tried Clif Bars as a snack bar possibility? Our whole family thinks they're way better than any other brand. If they don't carry them near you, I'll send you some!

Nelle said...

I have problems with retaning water and I have a very restricted sodium diet. I am amazed at how many things HAVE salt. You can buy warm pretzels and heat them in your oven. I think ice cream contains a fair amount of salt too. I love the scarf and necklace. They certainly look like beads, not paper. How creative!
That garden is beautiful. Glad you were able to drive yourself home. I am amazed at how far you are coming so fast. You go woman! :)

Terri said...

Just wanted to say that I'm really glad to hear and see that you are continuing to get stronger. You look GREAT! I've been gone for a long time because I had to get rid of my 'favorites' so I could send my work laptop in for repairs. I never restored them, but you popped into my mind today. Continued best wishes!

Ann said...

Zapp's Cajun Crawtator potato chips are uber salty, too. I don't know if the brand has migrated as far north as Mass, and they can be an acquired taste. Sounds like you are plugging right along, which is a fantastic thing. Now, on a frivolous note, is it wrong that I want a bear topiary in my front yard since I've seen the picture of the one you've posted?