I popped over to Boston, which, even though it's 90 miles away, is now almost like going someplace in my neighborhood.
The easy, actually very nice, part of the day was meeting with my social worker, Mary Lou Hackett. We check in every now and then, and it's always so calming to see her. Running a little late because of traffic, I speed-walked from Dana-Farber, where I had parked my car, along the inside bridge to Brigham and Women's, where we had agreed to meet at 10:15 a.m. Being on that bridge, with its paintings of birds along the wall in one section, brought me back to the days when I was hospitalized and Diane and I (and our mother during the first round) walked across the bridge in the opposite direction, me shuffling and, one time, Diane pushing the wheelchair that carried nothing but handbags because I refused to get into it.
We talked for a long time, and I was glad I got to share something that she would pass along to a new patient. When I was going through treatment, Mary Lou always reassuringly told me about someone else who had been in my place and was now past that. Yesterday, she told me about a patient, eight months out, who had lost a lot of weight, was unable to eat much and was tired of people pushing food on her when everything had a metallic taste.
I told her I remembered being in that position, unable to keep much down, when a doctor told me, "You will eat again." I half believed I would be like that forever and was reassured when the doctor told me otherwise. I told Mary Lou to tell her patient that I had been in the same situation and was now eating well. Mary Lou said she would pass it on and her patient would be glad to hear it.
I was late for my next appointment, a "therapeutic phlebotomy" to remove about a pint of blood in order to lower my ferritin level. I speed-walked half-way to the Kraft Donor Center, where I lay on a bed alongside good souls who were donating blood and platelets. I felt a little out of place, but there was nothing to do about it. Before, a nurse had checked my hemoglobin level to see if it was high enough to do the procedure, and at first prick it was about 11.5, too low to proceed. I got upset because this was my main reason for going to Boston, but then she tried the other hand and it was over 12, so I got the go-ahead. They told me I might be a little anemic but in 48 hours my blood would replenish itself.
Feeling a little wobbly, I returned to Dana-Farber to get an EKG to make sure I can take the new anti-throw up pill, Regian. It came out fine but that was just yesterday so I don't have the prescription yet. (Another pill! Woo hoo!) In the meantime I haven't gotten sick again, but just to be sure, I take a Compazine or two before tennis.
I ate some lunch and got back in the car, which probably wasn't a good idea. As soon as I got on Route 9, I started falling asleep. I couldn't find a place to stop, so I kept popping little chocolates into my mouth, figuring you can't fall asleep while eating. It was tough, but finally I made it about 10 minutes to Waban, where I usually get a Starbucks. I was lucky to pull into a sunny parking place, where I konked out in the car and slept for a good 30 minutes. Refreshed, I got my coffee and headed home.
Diane pointed out that it was the fourth anniversary of my coma, which, of course, had already crossed my mind. Joe and I call it my "coma-versary." I don't mind thinking about it, because it reminds me of how far I have come.
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