Friday, May 3, 2013

SO LONELY

Blue Mountain, Ontario - Fall 2007

Now that I was in isolation, I made myself at home in my hospital room because I knew I was going to be there for awhile.  Mike brought me pjs, slippers, my quilt, the portable DVD player, movies and some books.  I was hooked up to an IV and other things for the first couple of days.  I slept a lot the first day and woke to see my Dad there in the afternoon.  He and Mike sort of took turns one with me and the other with the kids.  I couldn’t wait until that night because the kids were coming to see me.  I missed them so much and I knew they must be scared.  Plus I knew that they would try to be brave when they saw me.  Such strong little people with such big brave hearts.

Finally they arrived!  Just seeing them made me feel better.  I think wearing the masks was kind of scary for them at first but after awhile they just got hot and annoying for them.  Kids will be kids no matter what right?  I didn’t have to wear one now that I was in isolation but everyone that came in had to do so.  Mike and the kids stayed with me as long as they could but eventually they had to go home to bed.  I hated that part.  I tried so hard to be okay about it but as soon as they left I always cried my eyes out.  I felt like pieces of my heart were being broken off each night when they left.  I had to keep reminding myself that it was just not forever but just for now.

I have some great friends that also came to see me with books, magazines, cookies, nail polish, scrapbooking stuff and other things to help me pass the time.  I was getting totally caught up on my pop culture and celebrity gossip with the magazines and TV shows.  I also started following the story lines for Young and the Restless and Bold and the Beautiful which I hadn’t watched in years.  Nobody on those shows ever seems to get cancer.

One day I had a phone call that really touched me.  It was from my family doctor.  She is the one that had to give me the original news about the cancer diagnosis.  She had received a copy of my hospital admission information for my file at her office and so she decided to call me just to check in on me.  I was really touched that she took the time to do that.  It really meant a lot to me and I will always remember how good it made me feel that she had called.  I was well looked after.

Vancouver, BC - Summer 2011
I tried my best to get into somewhat of a routine so that the days would pass by quickly and I looked forward to the evenings when I could be close to my children.  I needed them more than they could ever know.  However I was feeling so badly about how much time this was taking out of Mike’s busy schedule with work and his MBA studies.  The travelling back and forth (about 45 minutes one way without traffic) would no doubt take its toll.  Also, I knew it was hard to come to the hospital and walk through the oncology floor.  Mike told me I was lucky that I couldn’t come out of my room because he saw so much sadness on this floor.

It was getting close to Christmas and I tried not to worry about things like the fact that I hadn’t done my Christmas cards yet, no shopping was done, no decorating, nothing, zilch.  In the big picture it really didn’t matter did it?  I was here to get better, stronger and healthy enough to go home and be with my family.

While I was in isolation I had a neighbour in the next room that I never met or even saw.  He was also in isolation, and he had a horrible cough and I knew that he was speaking another language.  It sounded to me like Inuktitut.  I asked the nurses about him and they told me he was Inuit and didn’t speak any English.  The nurses said that they usually had someone from the local Inuit community come in and spend time with patients transported from the North so that they could communicate in their language and have some company.  However, because he was in isolation, nobody was allowed to visit him.  I remember feeling so very sad for him and so lucky, almost guilty, because I had my family to visit me each evening and Mike and my Dad during the day.  I said a prayer for him to get better so that he would get strong enough to go home to the North and be with his family and friends.

Towards the end of the week the doctors told me that I could go home on Friday.  I was very thankful and happy to be getting out.  My oncologist also recommended that I receive an injection of Neulasta™ (the brand name for pegfilgrastim) after the next cycle of chemotherapy that would help to avoid another hospital stay like this one.  Basically the Neulasta™ injection sends the production of neutrophils into overdrive by stimulating the bone marrow to make white blood cells.  Of course this would have its own set of side effects including aching in the bones and muscles.  Plus it was extremely expensive.

I was not looking forward to the next chemo session.

So Lonely - The Police


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