Got home on Saturday after nine days in the hospital and am so grateful for my little place on Guist Creek Lake. There’s no place more healing and peaceful than being near water, and I came home to a warm afternoon of quiet lake under soft gray skies. My sister, Jeanne, came back from Denver Friday night and stayed in my hospital room with me. Now she’s caring for me as only a sister who also happens to be a nurse can do.
Turns out all the shortness of breath is due to the damage from radiation therapy, exacerbated by a couple of the chemo drugs. No bacterial infection at all. I’m on Prednisone now, which has reduced the inflammation in my lungs, and I’ll likely stay on that through my last three rounds of chemo. Hopefully no more visits to the ER or surprise hospital stays. They’ve got a really good chicken Caesar salad, though…..
My family has lots of experience at being hospital patients and caregivers, so we’ve accumulated some good hospital humor over the years. One of my favorites is actually an original thought I had (which isn’t common, I’m sorry to say). Do you know what a ‘sniglet’ is? That’s a word that isn’t a word, but it should be.
Some years ago I was the caregiver at the hospital bedside of my husband, and a great sniglet came to me. I wanted to go to the cafeteria to get something to eat, but I looked so ratty after days at his bedside. ‘Hospitiful’ was the only word I could think of to describe my appearance. The other night Jeanne was headed for the cafeteria and I asked her if she wanted to borrow my IV pole so she didn’t look quite as hospitiful. We like that one.
When I was in the hospital a couple months ago, Jeanne was also at my side. I rang up the nurses’ station and said, “Yes, I’d like to report a bowel movement.”
“Oh!” said the nurse. “You’ve had a bowel movement?”
“No, actually it was my sister, but I wasn’t sure whether we were getting credit for guest bowel movements.”
See why the nurses like me?
The other night, my nurse Heather and I had to walk the hall without my oxygen, to see how dependent I still was. On returning to my room, I rested for five minutes, and Heather returned with the monitor to see what my oxygen level was. We watched the monitor carefully, then with growing dismay, as the rate dropped from 90 to 88 and continued to drop. Finally, we looked at each other and burst out laughing. “We’re holding our breath!” I said. Once we both started breathing, I was in excellent condition.
So, there really isn’t any place like home, as I have known since I first saw the Wizard of Oz and decided that my first pet must be a Cairn terrier. (I named her Augie Doggie, but she was my Toto.)
Thank you all for hanging in with me. Three more chemo treatments to go! I’ll get back in touch in a couple weeks.
Photo – Me and My Sister Jeanne – circa 1956 (We remember that my jacket is pink and brown, and hers is green.)
Published on CaringBridge.org — February 13, 2017